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Technology proficiency report: Introduction


We believe that 2021 will be a significant year for technology and innovation. During the global pandemic, applications of technology and data kept businesses operating as employees worked from home. Technology has been at the heart of business activity, and this will only accelerate going forward. As businesses around the world prepare for a major realignment and rebuild required as people re-emerge from pandemic-related restrictions, technology will define tomorrow’s market leaders.


In this new economic climate, business executives will become even more reliant on technology — hardware, software, systems, platforms and networks — to achieve their organization's growth plans in a changed world.


This study of technology proficiency is, therefore, timely. The research spanning 12 countries underlines a close correlation between technology proficiency and business growth. There is also evidence that technology proficiency results in better business decisions being made — and more possibilities becoming visible.


Businesses that fully used their technology advantage were those most likely to predict growth for the year ahead. Business leaders that were up to speed with the latest technology developments discussed technology matters more frequently in management meetings. This aptitude and regularity of communication also drove expectations about business improvement and excellence: management teams that were most passionate about technology could see more areas where the application of technology could further improve business performance and efficiency.


Technology was once seen as a skill set that needed to be represented by a CIO in the boardroom. Today, technology is a culture, a way of thinking that the whole management team needs to embrace. Technology has become core to everyday business thinking and decision making; it is becoming the oxygen that modern businesses need to live, flourish and prosper.


At Thoughtworks, we are working with business leaders to look at different technology applications, to see them more as business-critical products: whether it is engineering excellence, customer experience, or data strategy. Thinking of these applications as products can help to focus the senior executive’s attention on how each of them works, who will use it, and what its benefit might be across the organization.


This report provides a snapshot of business leader sentiment at a moment in time, a significant moment as the world starts the process of healing and readjustment after a global pandemic. The findings of this study can be appraised in conjunction with other Thoughtworks publications that aim to help business leaders use technology to adapt, modernize and grow. For example, ‘Decoder’ demystifies tech jargon, representing key technology terms in the language of the boardroom, and the trends outlined in ‘The Looking Glass’ report have their roots in our ongoing research to track the big changes in the tech landscape.


At Thoughtworks, our mission is to help businesses on this journey of evolution and enterprise modernization. Some businesses have creaking legacy systems that need to be tackled, other enterprises are creating growth plans based on the smart use of data, systems and platforms. Every organization needs technology proficiency at the heart of their business thinking to move forward. And at Thoughtworks, we have the tools, the people and the expertise to help businesses prepare for tomorrow’s world today.