The most investments will be centred around one key theme: empowering workers to leverage technology and data insights.

FREMONT, CA: Since the pandemic, technology investment has not stopped. Despite the fact that investments are expected to remain high across the board, new research from Economist Impact, commissioned by Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH), has revealed that the majority of these investments will revolve around a single, important idea: enabling workers to take advantage of technology and data insights.

According to the study, there are no signs that technology adoption would slow down globally. The overwhelming majority of respondents (80 per cent or more) have already implemented or intend to adopt the sophisticated analytics, cloud, and internet of things technologies that are becoming more and more crucial. Over 2,000 corporate leaders from North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific were polled for the study by Economist Impact and Cognizant.

In the more sophisticated fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, advanced cloud, robotic process automation, low-code/no-code, crowdsourcing, 5G, and remote work technologies, more than 60 per cent of respondents had dabbled. As for the burgeoning fields of blockchain, quantum computing, and virtual/augmented reality, more than half of the respondents weighed in.

Nine of the 12 key imperatives received business-critical attention from at least one-third of respondents, and all were rated, at the very least, as a medium/high priority, by more than 89 per cent of executives when asked to rate the degree to which their digital strategy prioritised these imperatives.

When the researchers dug a little deeper into the responses, they discovered three crucial changes in how money is spent on technology, which, in their judgement, will fundamentally alter the character of enterprise technology in a modern corporation.

These changes include the demand for data insights, the desire to provide workers with digital tools rather than replace them, and the realisation that people increasingly need to feel in control of the technologies they use to contribute value to their companies and employees.

Getting Data-powered Insights into People’s Hands

Businesses are in a state of crisis due to the unpredictability of recent market developments, shifting consumer preferences, and black swan events. Many people are concentrating on improving data governance and purchasing tools to elevate decision-making due to their learning from this experience. Nearly 97 per cent assigns at least a medium priority level to these activities, and 33 per cent of respondents say that data collection, governance, and growing forecasting and decision-making capabilities are essential to corporate operations.

It is apparent why CEOs want to move data and insight, generating up the corporate agenda.

Leaders with strong analytics capabilities and reliable supply chain data can begin creating workarounds and contingencies to reduce the effect. They can identify risky regions, prioritise risk-reduction initiatives, and forecast and simulate the effects of market and company developments.

Executives are concentrating on using data and insights to anticipate and adjust to changing client requirements and creating the customer experience to meet those demands. In contrast, only 44 per cent of respondents rated cybersecurity as being business-critical, compared to 42 per cent who said the same about predicting customer needs.

Following closely, 41 per cent of respondents deemed a positive customer experience to be business-critical. Any firm equipped with dexterous, data-driven capabilities and dashboarding perspectives has a head start for surviving the stormy times ahead. New touchpoints with customers, employees, and suppliers are now crucial survival tools.

Augmenting–Not Replacing–People

A strong 34 per cent of respondents felt that this was business-critical, and an amazing 96 per cent prioritised technology expenditures that augmented rather than replaced their personnel. This more realistic vision of the future of employment is taking the place of dystopian cliches like robot rulers. Even though 38 per cent of respondents ranked operational efficiency as a business-critical objective, the goal is to enhance employees rather than replace them to achieve higher levels of performance.

Leaders and employees are starting to understand that cooperative effort between people and robots are essential for the future. Through deeper integration, both grow to be more than the sum of their parts. New tools multiply employees' efforts and direct valuable data and insights to support improved decision-making.

Consider the fictitious example of a field-based utility staff in the present. With a wealth of data at their disposal and a heads-up display enabled by augmented reality, they could picture underground pipelines. Machine learning systems could predict small cracks by sifting through pipeline data using pressure drops. Workers might be given this information to focus on flaws and streamline maintenance and repair procedures.

Instead of replacing the worker, technology is strengthening their capabilities, resulting in more production, and improving the working environment.

Providing Workforce Autonomy

The newfound zeal is sparking a new trend for investing in people-powered and human-centric technology: the democratisation of technology, which was identified as a priority by 91 per cent of respondents (and 26 per cent as a business-critical priority).

This initiative gives employees more say and control over the technologies they use daily. This is the result of a growing understanding that it is advantageous to involve persons who deal with technologies in the selection and implementation process. Employee engagement is significantly higher with technologies that they helped implement.

This increases the return on the value of technology expenditures, frequently constrained by difficulties with adoption. The survey demonstrates that respondents face a value challenge: Of those respondents who had deployed each of the study's technologies, nearly half said they are not getting much value from their investments in technology.

In a world of rapid technological acceleration, it is little wonder that organisations are ramping up investment in technology, says Euan Davis, Associate Vice President at Cognizant, in response to the report's findings.

While technology may serve as the cornerstone of investment initiatives, the overriding objective is to provide people with access to data and insights so they can produce better results. Humans and technology need to be more integrated in the future for intuitive responses to a changing environment.