Legacy technology 'stifling' response to second lockdown

Legacy technology is holding UK business back during lockdown and could leave them vulnerable to future disruption, according to commissioned research from ServiceNow.

Prior to the announcement of the second and current national lockdown, both C-level leaders and employees had “low confidence” that they would be able to adapt to another major business disruption, the survey found.

The study gathered opinions from 100 C-level executives and 1,000 office workers in the UK.

It found that, despite 96 per cent of executives and 87 per cent of employees stating their company transitioned to new ways of working faster than they thought possible during the initial lockdown, many departments would not be able to implement new digital processes within a month of another major disruption.

Only a minority of UK leaders believed that customer service (37 per cent), finance (38 per cent) and IT (39 per cent) could introduce new workflows within 30 days.

The challenge is exacerbated because most businesses still have a “digital disadvantage”, said ServiceNow, with 98 per cent of UK executives admitting to still using offline processes.

These include offline workflows such as document approvals (59 per cent), security incident reports (41 per cent), performance reviews (39 per cent) and leave requests and processing (37 per cent).

“Organisations innovated rapidly, and initial sprints enabled them to react to the immediate COVID-19 challenges,” said Chris Pope, ServiceNow vice president for innovation. “Some decisions made were knee-jerk and rapid, but at what cost? There may be good short-term gains, but are they ‘match fit’ for new ways of working?”

The research also showed there are doubts when it comes to workplace safety from both leaders and employees.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of leaders and 51 per cent of employees are concerned their company will “prioritise business continuity over safety”.

In addition, over a quarter (26 per cent) of leaders and 40 per cent of employees agree their company will “not take all the necessary steps” to keep employees safe when returning to work in the office.

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