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Finance, HR and IT leaders working to close acceleration gap

By Catherine Knowles
Tue 10 May 2022

Workday has published the results of its latest digital transformation survey, which examines the impacts of the global pandemic on organisations' digital transformation efforts across three critical business functions: finance, human resources (HR), and information technology (IT).

In the report titled 'Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation', Workday sought to understand the pace of digital transformation over the course of the past two years and the biggest barriers to success.

The findings revealed that while finance, HR and IT leaders recognise the importance of digital transformation, 55% of respondents say their digital strategy is always or often outpaced by the demands of the business.

As a result, the digital acceleration gap is widening, where business needs are changing faster than the technology, processes and culture required to keep pace.

In response, leaders are adopting a more sustained approach to transformation by prioritising access to data and employee experience, the researchers state.

To help close the acceleration gap, business leaders across the three functions are focusing on:

Finance leaders - unified, fast data: More than half of finance leaders (51%) say that one of the most important elements to accelerating planning, execution, and analysis cycles is new technologies that can help integrate data between disparate systems and break down internal data silos. Y

et, 61% say that technology that unifies financial, people, and operational data is their most pressing need, with 64% admitting that it takes weeks, or more, to get results at the end of a reporting period.

HR leaders - employee experience and skills development: Amid the Great Resignation, organisations increasingly focused on skills to help improve recruiting, retention, and overall employee experiences.

According to the survey, 25% of HR leaders rank resilience and adaptability first among skills that will ensure teams can continuously meet business demands as they evolve. Further, 50% of HR leaders say positive employee experiences are most important to accelerating transformation across the business.

IT leaders - breaking down silos to drive automation: While CIOs hold the key to data-fuelled transformation, many are overwhelmed by the pace of change as legacy constraints and data silos are top barriers to digital transformation, according to the survey. Only 42% of IT leaders are confident in their teams' ability to adopt cloud technologies without legacy constraints.

Further, half of IT leaders (50%) are struggling to keep pace with service upgrades as part of legacy technology, with 59% saying it can take weeks or months to change an automated business process.

Workday chief strategy officer Pete Schlampp says, "Digital transformation is no longer a choice - it's necessary to keep pace in today's changing world. Yet, as the study shows, there's an acceleration gap organisations need to address to help ensure their digital journeys keep pace with the growing and evolving demands of their business.

"We're encouraged that global finance, HR, and IT leaders are taking a more measured approach to their transformation strategies by leveraging technology, like Workday, that drives adaptability across their business."

Workday surveyed 1,150 senior business leaders across 13 industries to understand the impact of digital transformation on three core business functions: finance, HR and IT. This research took place between August and November 2021.

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