How CIOs are building on COVID-19 digital transformation efforts in 2021

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CIOs across all industries hustled to develop digital capabilities for virtual operations and workplace communication tools this year. These efforts, advanced by the COVID-19 pandemic, will help determine the pace of business for 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal.

For its annual end-of-year questionnaire, the publication's CIO Journal surveyed 45 IT executives about their digital transformation efforts. Kraft Heinz Global CIO Corrado Azzarita said the company has "accelerated digitally by at least two years," and consulting firm Accenture's CIO Penelope Prett told the Journal that it is seeing companies achieve years' worth of digital transformation in three months time.

While the pandemic pushed digital initiatives, many IT executives were already working on digital transformation projects before 2020. In retail, a tech team at Target built within a few days the first version of a new mobile app that helps store employees manage customer flow. Home Depot also updated its mobile app and website with a new feature that lets customers pick up items in front of the store without going inside.

United Airlines Holdings used tech to reduce the transmission of germs at airports by rolling out new touchless kiosks at more than 300 airports in 2020. The tech lets customers print bag tags using a mobile phone code, cutting the need to physically touch the machines.

United's touchless kiosks went from an idea to a prototype in less than 30 days, said Linda Jojo, executive vice president of technology and chief digital officer of United Airlines.


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