We've been keeping up with ASUG members with the ASUG Pulse Check survey, asking how they are continuing to adjust to new work and business practices during COVID-19.

Since mid-March 2020, we’ve asked (and received hundreds of responses) about a wide range of topics: the status of IT projects and staffing, organizational spending trends, and training and development opportunities.

We’ve also heard from respondents on how productive they were, and how they felt about attending virtual events. (Spoiler alert: They know they are valuable, but attendees don’t universally love them because of the wide range in the quality of webcasts.) We also have included a different “fun fact” question each week (e.g., the snack foods that were getting respondents through their new working situations).

We always want to know how ASUG can help. See below for breakdowns of key results.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Wave 13

Wave 13 of our ASUG Pulse Check will be the last for the remainder of 2020. We will pick up our regular checks again on a new schedule in 2021. In the meantime, keep an eye out for our 2021 ASUG Pulse of the SAP Customer study outreach to begin in October.

For Wave 13, we focused on gauging SAP customers’ attitudes and behaviors when it comes to attending virtual events. These online opportunities have become the main way respondents have been networking with colleagues and consuming professional development opportunities.

Status of Operations

A full 63% of respondents reported their organizations were operating at normal (50%) and above normal (13%) levels. This is right in line with the average ratings since ASUG began keeping track of these in Week 1.

The Most Engaging Events

Respondents indicated that they attended 13 webcasts and four virtual events during the past three months, which is an average of 15.3 and 6.9 hours spent on these opportunities, respectively. With that in mind, more than half (57%) of respondents said they are most interested in presentations from thought leaders (sans the sales pitch), and 51% pay the most attention to Q&A sessions where the experts answer attendees’ questions.

Viewing Preferences

Attending virtual events while working remotely can present some challenges for our respondents, who note that routine tasks and work still need to get accomplished. As a result, we found that flexible offerings are key to helping respondents fit these events into their schedules.

Just under half (46%) of respondents consume webcasts live, while another 44% watch some live and some on-demand. When it comes to bigger virtual events, 46% of respondents also watch these live, while 40% consume them through a mix of live and on-demand viewing.

See the Pulse Check, Wave 13 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Wave 12

In Wave 12 of this ASUG member survey, we looked to the future, focusing on respondents' feelings about the outlook for their industry and their confidence as a member of the workforce. Here are a few of the highlights:

Status of Operations

We’ve been tracking operation levels of respondents’ companies since Week 1. More than half (53%) of the respondents indicated they're operating at normal levels, which is a good sign.

The Effects of COVID-19 on Various Industries

The outbreak has been tough on many industries, with only telecommunications, high tech, and life sciences considered better off because of the pandemic, according to our results.

The good news is that most respondents expect certain industries to return to normal in the next one to two years. For example, nearly a quarter of the respondents believe sports and entertainment will bounce back in six months to a year, while about a third speculate a return to normal for the sports and entertainment industry between one and two years.

Workforce Confidence Index

SAP customers have a similarly optimistic outlook when it comes to their career, with 70% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreeing that they have the ability to get or hold a steady job in the current climate.

We calculated that as a Workforce Confidence Index of +42. That optimism is tempered somewhat when we asked whether their financial situation would improve in the next six months. A roughly equal percentage of respondents agreed with this statement as disagreed (38% vs. 34%). The same was true when we asked whether respondents expected to progress in their career this year. One-third agreed that they would (33%), and just under a third (32%) disagreed. 

See the Pulse Check, Wave 12 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 11

As many of you know, we wrapped up a successful ASUGFORWARD event in June, and are busy working on our fall lineup of virtual events. (Stay tuned for more information from ASUG.)

With that in mind, we asked our respondents to tell us how they have been engaging with ASUG during the COVID-19 pandemic. (There were not huge changes in our survey results on business operations, spending, and technology initiatives, so I’ll pick up those results in my next post.)

So, let’s take a look at two of the results to learn how our 54 respondents are connecting with ASUG and what topics they want to know about.

Attending live webcasts is the top way respondents have engaged with ASUG since COVID-19. Registering for ASUGFORWARD was another main way respondents have engaged with ASUG (43%). Listening to a webcast on demand or reading an article is how almost 40% of respondents have engaged with ASUG since COVID-19.

The number-one topic respondents would like to hear more about from ASUG is SAP S/4HANA. Many would like to hear customer stories of successful implementations and how to fully realize business outcomes. Timing of upgrades, as well as training, were also noted. SAP applications—HR and SAP SuccessFactors, in particular—were also top topics, followed by cloud applications.

I’ll also include the results of our “fun fact” question: What is your biggest workplace pet peeve (and we weren’t asking about virtual ones)?

At the top was meetings that could have been emails (24%), loud ongoing conversations or phone calls from coworkers (20%), and inability to control the office temperature (9%).

Makes you kind of miss the office, right?

See the Pulse Check, Week 11 in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 10

From the tenth week’s results, we can draw several insights from our member responses on business operations, spending, and technology initiatives. Let me break down a few of the highlights:

1. Status of Operations

In week 10, just about half (47%) of the 136 respondents said they were operating normally, which was a drop of 13% from the previous survey. Yet over the 10-week period, this number is, on average, where it’s been all along.

2. Shifts in Spending

Unlike the big change in operations, we found that shifts in spending were no longer increasing, and that is actually good news. As organizations continue returning to normal levels of operations, shifts in spending remain consistent—in fact, just over two-thirds of organizations are now (or have recently) experienced shifts in spending due to COVID-19. As a reference point, when we asked the question in week 1, just 41% said they were seeing shifts in spending as a result of COVID-19.

3. Rise of Cancellations

In week 10, significantly more organizations are canceling a few planned technology initiatives right now due to COVID-19 (up 13% over week 9’s results). This increase is balanced by a significant drop in those not canceling any planned technology initiatives. Both metrics are also significantly outside average scores that we’ve captured over time.

For more results from this week, please see the Pulse Check, Week 10 data in this infographic. 

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 9

Last week, I shared the results on two new questions we asked: steps respondents wanted their organizations to take in order to safely return to an office, and conversely, steps respondents didn’t want their organizations to take. (See week 8 for those results.)

As those of us in the U.S. celebrate Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to present some interesting results from this general question we asked in week 9: What does our respondents’ intent and readiness to return to life outside their homes look like?

Let me highlight three data points from the 100 respondents who took the survey:

1. Interest in Professional Activities

If social and physical distancing restrictions were lifted, if there were limited access to testing, or if rapid and accurate testing for COVID-19 were available tomorrow, the bulk of respondents told us they are both most likely to start working on-site at the office and are least likely to attend conventions.

2. Interest in Public Activities in Crowded Places

When things open up, more than half of respondents will avoid taking public transportation, going to crowded places, or traveling internationally. Respondents express more willingness to travel domestically, with only 1 in3 indicating they will avoid this activity altogether. (See below.)

3. Interest in Recreational Activities

Respondents are least likely to avoid activities that last for a shorter duration and that likely allow for more personal space, for example, shopping in-person at nonessential businesses. Going to a concert is the top recreational activity respondents do plan to avoid when things open back up.

(Note: We will be moving the ASUG Pulse Check survey to a biweekly cadence starting May 25, 2020. Thanks to all of you who have responded. It has helped shape our plans to serve you better.)

See the Pulse Check, Week 9 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 8

“What’s it going to be like in the office if and when we go back?” It’s a question on many people’s minds these days. I’ll share with you several data points from this past week’s survey, but first let’s take a look at two changes we saw in cancellation and postponement of technology projects.

In week 8, our 90 respondents told us they are shifting away from cancelling most planned technology initiatives. Instead they report that they are canceling only a few—or not canceling any—planned technology initiatives.

Regarding postponements, that number declined 11% week over week, with nearly half of organizations saying they are not postponing any planned technology initiatives.

In both cases, respondents are cancelling or postponing planned technology initiatives because they are considered unnecessary to core business operations. We’re seeing that many of these “nonessential projects” have been put on hold in order to allow organizations to focus on COVID-19 initiatives, which is not surprising given the gravity of its impact on certain organizations and industries.

Now, to the topic of when—and, in some cases—if employees start returning to their offices. Let’s look at the results of two provocative questions we asked: What steps, if any, do you wish your organization would take right now or before opening back up, to stay safe amid COVID-19? And the follow-up question: What steps, if any, do you wish your organization would not take?

The largest share of respondents wish that their organizations would extend the work from home policy. Many respondents note feeling safer and more productive at home. Providing free COVID-19 or antibody testing, not mandating returns to the office, and reducing the number of staff in-office are other key steps respondents wish their organizations would take (see below).

Regarding steps respondents don’t want their organizations to take, it appears most respondents’ organizations are doing a good job anticipating what their employees need right now to feel safe. To wit: 84% don’t feel their organization is taking any unwarranted or unnecessary steps. That’s great to hear.

The few respondents who note unwarranted steps mention organizations that are over-communicating, providing hand-washing instructions, requiring staff on-site, and taking temperatures to allow entry to the workplace.\

See the Pulse Check, Week 8 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 7

Up to this point, most of our survey questions have focused on the responses of individuals and their organizations to COVID-19.

In week 7, we began asking questions focused on the next phase of COVID-19: the rebound and return to public places. I’ll get to those fascinating responses shortly, but let me first present the results on the core set of data points we’ve been tracking for the past seven weeks:

Personal Productivity: In week 7, productivity dipped slightly among the 92 respondents, with significantly fewer rating overall productivity as extremely or very productive than in previous weeks (including a 11% drop versus week 6).

Status of Operations: At 51%, week 7 survey respondents make up the largest share of organizations operating normally since the Pulse Check research initiative began.

Spending on Technology Initiatives: The cancellation and postponement responses related to IT projects continue to paint a variable picture. For example, nearly half of the respondents (47%) said their organizations are not canceling any planned initiatives. That’s good news. However, a nearly equal amount (45%) shared that they are postponing a few planned initiatives. Not surprisingly, the top reason given for project postponement was that they are not considered core (a.k.a. “nice to have” initiatives).

Next, we asked if organizations have plans in place to reopen and then what that will look like. The graphic (below) shows the breakdown of the answers as well as the discussions currently happening.

Lastly, we asked about respondents’ plans for returning to their corporate offices. Most anticipate returning to the office to attend meetings in-person in the third quarter (44%) followed by the second quarter (30%) of 2020. More than 1 in 7 indicate something other than time is driving their readiness to return to normal activities.

See the Pulse Check, Week 7 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 6

For this week, we asked about the effects COVID-19 was having on our members’ attitudes and behaviors, their business operations and spending, as well as technology implementations.

I’m happy to report that, overall, the respondents for week 6 continue to feel positive, with just a few slight variations in how they are feeling both personally and professionally. But the general sentiment is that everyone’s still hanging in there.

Respondents say their productivity is back up to or exceeding levels experienced in weeks 2 and 3 of the Pulse Check survey, with 74% (of the 61 respondents) reporting being extremely or very productive during the past week.

Organizational spending continues to shift, which is not surprising given the amount of business uncertainty. The top ways include reductions in costs and spending to preserve cash, and also project reprioritization. Consistent from week 5’s results, respondents report their organizations are taking more serious measures, such as additional project delays, cancellations, or postponement, and furloughs and layoffs.

So what technologies and IT tactics are respondent companies employing right now? Topping the list are: analytics, a focus on customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) tools, and a move to the public cloud.

Looking forward, those technologies most respondents are planning to use in the future include SAP S/4HANA, AI, and robotic process automation (RPA). What’s interesting to note is that nearly half of respondents are moving forward with business as planned and not putting any planned technology implementations on hold.

And lastly, we asked about favorite games people are playing right now. It appears that “old-school” games are all the rage with our respondents.

See the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 6 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 5

How’s everyone doing? The short answer is this: Respondents to our survey continue to feel positive, which is one of the most encouraging aspects to the survey.

Productivity is back up to levels experienced in weeks 2 and 3, with 72% of the 101 respondents saying they were extremely or very productive.

The ways in which organizational spending is shifting continues to grow as COVID-19 marches onward. Changes in spending include project reprioritization, reduced or canceled travel, and more drastic measures, including furloughs, layoffs, re-evaluating vendors for further cost cutting, and additional project delays, cancellations, or postponements.

We also asked how our members are giving back to the community amid COVID-19, with the top three ways including supporting local restaurants, donating supplies or funds to others, and making personal protective equipment (PPE) or homemade masks.

See the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 5 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 4

I was encouraged to find that the majority of respondents are still feeling good—and some even great—as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, though work productivity took a small dip this week. The results also revealed the pandemic’s downstream, negative effects on planned projects, which is not surprising. Lastly, I was heartened to see that most respondents still have options for training and development.

See the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 4 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 3

With three weeks' worth of data we were able to gauge respondents’ levels of happiness and personal productivity, and then we examined what was happening with organizational spending. The results were both encouraging and illustrative of the different ways companies are balancing short- and long-term investments right now to continue operations and serve their customers.

See the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 3 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 2

We received another solid response rate, and several of the categories showed significant changes week over week. Please watch the short video to hear more about the results.

See the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 2 data in this infographic.

Results of the ASUG Pulse Check, Week 1

The response rate was high, and many shared their thoughts and concerns, which you can learn more about in this short video.

Thank you to those who have been participating! We will continue the ASUG Pulse Check each week with a new set of questions. The survey is open to everyone and we encourage you to add your voice each week.

P.S. If you’re an ASUG member, please take a few minutes to update your preferences on asug.com so you can receive the most personalized and up-to-date information from us.

Are you ready to take the week 12 pulse check survey and share how you’re adapting to new work and business practices? Get a head start here.