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COVID-19: the greatest digital accelerator of the decade, Twilio finds

COVID-19 and related nationwide lockdowns have resulted in businesses accelerating their digital transformation strategy and efforts by at least six years.

This is according to a new global Twilio study that focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses digital engagement strategies. More than 2,500 enterprise decision makers were surveyed.

The COVID-19 Digital Engagement Report considers how businesses have addressed the complex challenges posed by this crisis and how they will continue to evolve moving forward.

According to the study, cloud scale, speed, and agility are enabling organisations to innovate faster than ever. In fact, COVID-19 is considered as the digital accelerator of the decade, with 97% of enterprise decision makers believing the pandemic sped up their companys digital transformation.

Digital communication is the new lifeblood for business. Almost all companies (95%) are seeking new ways of engaging customers as a result of COVID-19, the study finds.

Furthermore, 92% say transforming digital communications is extremely or very critical to address current business challenges. Previous inhibitors to innovation have been broken down, with 79% of respondents saying COVID-19 increased the budget for digital transformation.

Companies report easing of barriers such as: lack of clear strategy (37%), getting executive approval (37%), reluctance to replace legacy software (35%), and lack of time (34%).

Omnichannel communication is taking on new importance, with 92% say their organisation is very or somewhat likely to expand digital communication channels as the world reopens.

More than half (54%) said COVID-19 propelled focus on omnichannel communications and 53% added new channels amid the pandemic. 1 in 3 companies started using live chat and IVR channels for the first time as a result of COVID-19.

Twilio chief customer officer Glenn Weinstein says, “We believe the solutions being built today will be the standard for digital engagement in the future.”

Weinstein says, “Over the last few months, weve seen years-long digital transformation roadmaps compressed into days and weeks in order to adapt to the new normal as a result of COVID-19.

“Our customers in nearly every industry have had to identify new ways to communicate with their customers and stakeholders from patients, to students, to shoppers, and even employees essentially overnight.”

In order to get these results, Twilio conducted a five-minute online survey of 2,569 enterprise decision-makers in June 2020.

There were 225 to 300 survey respondents each from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The respondents were directors and above in corporate communications, customer experience, customer or technical support, data analytics or business intelligence, executive leadership or administration, IT or engineering, innovation, marketing, operations, product design/development, sales or business development, or strategic planning at companies with 500+ employees.