‘2020 Not That Bad for Business After All’—Everest Group Survey of Global 1000 Enterprise Execs

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Majority of Global 1000 execs say their organizations found a way to get the job done in 2020, despite pandemic-driven setbacks in Q2; Everest Group predicts ‘breakout performances’ in 2H2021 if vaccine efficacy predictions prove valid

Everest Group

Everest Group

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.

Despite the 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.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents indicated that their organizations 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 of 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 survey of Global 1000 enterprises in 2020 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 coronavirus spread across continents, but many—the majority even—were able to quickly recalibrate,” said Janssen. 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 organization 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.”

***Virtual Keynote Address: Monday, November 30, 6 am CST (12 pm UTC 0)***
The results of this research will be presented at the opening keynote session of the inaugural conference of the GT&BSC by Janssen as well as Everest Group’s Jimit Arora, partner, and Amy Fong, vice president. The keynote — “A Revised Vision – Recalibrating for Resiliency” — will address the impact of COVID-19 on countries and the global economy, demonstrate the role of innovation in times of crises and opportunity, and advocate for the need for greater leadership and cross-regional collaboration than ever before. The keynote will be followed by an “Analyst Debate” featuring Eric Simonson, managing partner of Everest Group, and several other analysts discussing the future of global technology and business services industry around the world.

For more information and free registration, visit GT&BSC Conference Series & Research Launch.

Additional Highlights from the 2021 Enterprise Key Issues in Global Sourcing Study

  • ‘Recovery from the pandemic’ now makes the top 5 list of enterprises’ key challenges for 2021 in #2 position, usurping ‘regulations in key markets (trade wars, tariffs, etc.),’ which placed #2 for 2020 but fell out of top 5 contention for 2021.
  • ‘Driving customer acquisition’ and ‘implementing technology’ appeared in the top 5 list of critical areas of innovation for the next 1-2 years.
  • Enterprises increasingly identify data availability, spending levels and digitalization as key levers to increasing business resiliency.
  • With increased digitalization—further accelerated by COVID-19—cloud and cybersecurity emerged as top digital/next-generation capability priorities.
  • Hiring for 2021 will be significantly muted across geographies and functions, with the exception of Global Business Services (aka Shared Services) organizations.
  • 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.

About GT&BSC
The Global Technology & Business Services Council is an alliance of the leading regional associations around the world, representing the interest of the global technology and business services industry. Its purpose is to promote the industry for growth by sharing best practices and thought leadership for the benefit of all its members and their clients and employees. The GT&BSC will lobby stakeholders to secure the best interests for its members. All members of the Council have signed up to the Industry code of conduct. https://gtbsc.org

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. Our clients include leading global enterprises, service providers, and investors. Through our research-informed insights and deep experience, we guide clients in their journeys to achieve heightened operational and financial performance, accelerated value delivery, and high-impact business outcomes. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com/

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Andrea Riffle
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