Study finds a third of companies will retain hybrid working models


The ‘Digital Corporation in South Africa 2021′ study, undertaken by technology market research firm World Wide Worx, shows that one-in-four medium-sized and large companies in South Africa are fully digitally transformed and that about one-third of companies will not insist that employees return to offices, indicating a move to a hybrid work strategy.

However, if the proportion of companies that have advanced digital transformation initiatives is included, about half of companies in South Africa are digitally transformed, and a further one-third of companies have embarked on digital transformation strategies, says World Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck.

The study interviewed decision-makers from 400 medium-sized and large companies in South Africa, with about one-third of respondents being from companies in the manufacturing sector.

Medium-sized companies, with 51 to 200 employees, were more likely to be fully digitally transformed. However, compared with large companies with more than 200 employees, a larger proportion of medium-sized companies had also not started with any digital transformation strategies.

Further, 49% of medium-sized companies increased spending on information technology (IT) compared with 44% in 2020, which while not massive, is statistically significant. This does indicate that medium-sized companies are slightly more nimble than larger companies, says Goldstuck.

Almost half of the 400 respondents indicated that their companies had invested more in IT than in the previous year, which indicates a strong awareness of the need to embrace technology to enable companies to continue operating, as well as to equip employees to work from home.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector has further closed the gap with the level of digitalisation in other sectors, but faces challenges owing to the physical processes and complexities of implementing automation and other digital technologies.

Automation is a key element to improve efficiencies, but it is more costly to implement in the manufacturing sector. The main goal of any investment in digital technologies and information and communications technology (ICT) by manufacturers is to reduce production time and improve efficiency.”

Further, the picture of automation is vastly different in the manufacturing sector than in other sectors because of the specific needs and processes, with more than 90% of respondents from the sector indicating that they aim to achieve higher output and produce varying products as the single largest benefit of automation, says Goldstuck.

Other objectives for automation projects in manufacturing include having more accurate data, being price competitive with offshore companies and to improve product quality and customer satisfaction. Read more here 

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