Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 70% of the Global 1000 executives are still optimistic about meeting or exceeding 2020 growth targets, according to Everest Group. By rapidly recalibrating business models and quickly adopting work-from-home strategies, the world’s largest global enterprises have largely overcome the Q2 setbacks experienced when the pandemic took hold.
These findings are from recent Everest Group research conducted in partnership with the Global Technology & Business Services Council (GT&BSC). Everest Group surveyed more than 320 senior enterprise stakeholders from Global 1000 companies for their thoughts about 2020 performance and their sentiments about growth prospects, investment priorities and challenges expected for 2021.
72% of respondents indicated that their organisations had achieved a better-than-expected (30%) or as-expected (42%) financial performance in 2020. This optimism is reflected across geographic regions. In comparison, one year ago, long before COVID-19 became a pandemic, the percentage of respondents who felt as optimistic about 2019 performance was only slightly higher (79%).
In November 2019, 21% of respondents were pessimistic about meeting their annual growth objectives. The percentage of respondents that reported ‘a tough year’ in 2020 rose to only 28%.
“What is remarkable about our 2020 survey is that most enterprises are optimistic about meeting the growth predictions made this time last year—long before the pandemic became the overriding and oppressive theme of the year,” said Michel Janssen, chief research officer at Everest Group. “In that particular sense, that sense of optimism—and with a few industries as notable exceptions—the business world has not changed much in the past year, and that’s quite astounding.
“To be sure, most industries succumbed to a temporary shock in Q2 as COVID-19 spread, but many—the majority even—were able to quickly recalibrate.
“Companies immediately went into risk-management mode, looking to ensure that their services providers were going to survive. They also challenged their outsourcing partners to drive cost savings and assist the organisation with process improvement. By rapidly adapting to work-from-home, online commerce and other new business models and investing in digital transformation, Global 1000 industries have proven themselves resilient and are surviving 2020 in far better shape than expected. For this reason, we predict that we’ll see enterprise growth burst out of the gate in the second half of 2021 if the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines attains the 95% mark as hoped.”
Highlights from the Study:
- ‘Recovery from the pandemic’ is in #2 position of enterprises’ key challenges for 2021, usurping ‘regulations in key markets (trade wars, tariffs, etc.),’ which was #2 for 2020 but fell out of top-5 for 2021;
- ‘Driving customer acquisition’ and ‘implementing technology’ appeared in the top-5 list of critical areas of innovation for the next one-to-two years;
- Enterprises increasingly identify data availability, spending levels and digitalisation as key levers to increasing business resiliency;
- With increased digitalisation—further accelerated by COVID-19—cloud and cybersecurity emerged as top digital/next-generation capability priorities; and
- Hiring for 2021 will be significantly muted across geographies and functions, with the exception of Global Business Services (aka Shared Services) organisations.
- Enterprises are significantly less concerned about talent/skills shortage now than they were in 2018, but the shortage of candidates with next-generation skills is still highly challenging.