Although businesses recognise the importance of digital transformation, organisations worldwide are struggling to balance the elements needed to deliver on digital. Of 1,625 business leaders surveyed for Fujitsu’s new report, The Digital Transformation PACT, one in three (33%) has cancelled a project in the last two years at a cost of £423,000, while one in four (28%) has experienced a failed project costing £555,000.
84% of businesses say that their customers expect them to be more digital, while 71% believe that they are behind their competitors. Ultimately, two in three (66%) believe that they will lose customers relative to their competitors as a result of digital transformation.
Realising digital transformation is about much more than technology alone. The research commissioned by Fujitsu examines how businesses are performing against the four strategic elements required to digitally transform: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology (PACT).
>See also: Digital in the enterprise
Organisations recognise the importance of digital transformation with the majority of businesses (46%) having already implemented transformation projects, while 86% say they are planning for the impact of technology on their business beyond the next 12 months. However, businesses continue to face challenges across the four pillars of PACT.
“Technology can be truly transformative, but making the most of digital requires more than the latest tools,” said Duncan Tait, CEO, SEVP and Head of Americas and EMEIA at Fujitsu. “While businesses today recognise the need to adopt and adapt to technology, there remain significant issues that are contributing to substantial rates of failure and high associated costs. To realise their digital vision, it’s crucial that businesses have the right skills, processes partnerships and technology in place. With digital disruption rapidly changing the business landscape, businesses can’t afford to fail in their transformation.”
When considering their approach to the people involved in digital transformation, the vast majority of business leaders (90%) are taking steps to increase their access to digital expertise, with 70% admitting there is a clear lack of digital skills within their organisation.
For example, 80% say that a lack of skills is the biggest hindrance to addressing cyber security. Looking to the future, skills will continue to be a key business issue; 93 percent say upskilling staff will be vital to their organisation’s success in the next three years, while 83% believe artificial intelligence will transform the skills needed by 2020.
Looking at actions, meaning the processes and behaviours needed to make digital transformation work, nine in ten business leaders (90%) say their organisation has a clearly defined digital strategy, while 83% are confident that the rest of the business knows what it is.
>See also: Digital business trends 2017
However, three quarters (74%) say that projects are often undertaken that aren’t linked to the overarching business strategy, while 72 percent say shadow digital projects are the only way parts of the organisation can complete meaningful innovation. Crucially, two in three (66%) say the cost of failure has put them off future digital transformation.
Business leaders are taking positive steps in collaboration, with most businesses undertaking or planning to undertake co-creation projects (63%), with partners including technology experts (64%) and existing customers (42%).
Surprisingly, 79% would even be willing to share sensitive information as part of these co-creation projects; however, 73% say that a lack of success within a quick timeframe would quickly put an end to their strategic partnerships.
And when it comes to technology, business leaders are planning to implement a wide range of systems; in the next 12 months, over half are planning to introduce cyber security solutions (52%) or the Internet of Things (51%), with cloud computing (47%) and artificial intelligence (46%) following close behind.
Business leaders are aware of the disruptive impact of technological change, as 86% say the ability to change will be crucial to their survival in the next five years. However, 71% are concerned about their organisation’s capacity to adapt to technologies like artificial intelligence.
Tait continued, “The introduction of new technology into a business has always called for balance. However, as the pace of technological change continues to gather, balance has never been more important. It is no longer enough just to have the best applications and devices; without talented and capable people to use them, they are meaningless. You may have the brightest and most progressive people, but they will flounder in a culture that stifles innovation. And no business – no matter how big, how influential or powerful – can hope to stand alone and succeed in the world of tomorrow. Only by bringing equilibrium to those four vital ingredients – People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology – can organisations thrive in this digital era.”
In response to this, Phil Coulter, EMEA global technology market leader at Futurestep has provided a comment about what this means for BDMs and HR.
“The age of digital disruption is seeing business models, industries and working practices transform, with jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago being created. What this means is there are increasing demands for new skill sets in virtually every job and profession. But in order to keep one step ahead, organisations must go beyond just simply hiring more employees by streamlining their recruitment and talent management strategies to support their long-term business development goals.
“Best in class talent acquisition teams are those prepared with refreshed job profiles that look, not only at the skills and experiences but, at the competencies, traits and drivers that will find talent that is a fit for the current job but also for the business. Whilst we’ve already seen a move in this direction, more can still be done to plan strategically to ensure STEM skills are maximised amongst their workforce. After all, this will be the rule – not the exception – to driving the UK’s economy forward.”
Commenting on the report, Pete Banham, product manager at Mimecast, said: “Phishing scams top the list yet again but businesses are still not doing enough to protect their employees from these attacks.”
“For many years organisations have underinvested in email security and as a result it’s become the easiest entry point for cybercriminals. All email systems contain valuable and confidential information, meaning that a compromised email server is a business’ worst nightmare.”
“A cyber resilience strategy for email must involve strong methods of protection, combined with a reliable archive, a recovery strategy for data and operational systems, and an education programme for employees.”
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