Businesses have two years to get digital transformation in the bag

Businesses today are faced with increasing pressure to optimise their customers’ experience and improve business outcomes across multiple channels, connecting the dots between people, information and systems.

Most decision makers in large companies see this kind of digital transformation as a critical imperative. But despite all the hype around ‘going digital’, few have fully realised it. According to analyst firm IDC, by the end of 2017, two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy.

In line with this, a new survey finds that 85% enterprise decision makers feel they have a timeframe of two years to make significant inroad on their digital transformations, or they will suffer financially and fall behind their competitors.

> See also: The right side of disruption: why digital transformation is the new kingmaker

Placing even more urgency on the situation, 55% of those say the timeframe to adapt is a year or less, and 59% worry that it’s already too late for them.

According to the research from software firm Progress, improving the customer experience is the number one priority for companies looking at digital transformation, followed by improvements in efficiency and achieving organisational excellence.

But while most understand the inherent benefits of ‘going digital,’ the majority of respondents are hitting roadblocks, like lack of internal alignment, lack of adequate skills and cultural resistance, that could prevent them executing their strategies in time. Couple these obstacles with technology constraints and they are delayed even further in reaching their goals.

The result is a growing sense of anxiety about embarking on digital transformation – 47% of companies haven’t actually started yet, and a further 33% are developing their plans but won’t execute this year.

Only about 25% of businesses are very confident in their ability to execute, whether integrating all sources into a comprehensive digital business strategy, managing the entire application lifecycle, mapping the customer journey or the ability to pull initiatives together into a cohesive digital transformation strategy. All this hesitation is harming organisations’ ability to compete, says Progress.

‘Digital technologies are radically transforming business as we know it today and the driving force of change is based on the customer experience,’ says Mark Troester, VP digital solutions, Progress. ‘Yet, many organisations continue to resist change. There needs to be a rapid awakening and acceptance that organisations must digitally transform to survive – and do it now.’

> See also: The traps of digital transformation: it’s a tool, not a target 

So how do organisations get the ball rolling? Those that succeed in their digital transformations will have to not only adopt the right technology solutions, but lead the organisational shifts necessary to succeed. According to noted author and Constellation Research analyst, R ‘Ray’ Wang, digital disruption is more than just a technology shift.

‘It’s about transforming business models and how we engage,’ he says. ‘To succeed, we can’t just look at the latest cool set of technologies of the day. We have to think bolder about transforming business models. This means understanding the one or two key metrics that a business must measure to ensure their success.’

The report advises that some next steps for businesses should be: learning the key consideration factors needed to craft a sound digital future, determining how your plan will impact both the business user and IT within your organisation, preparing for tough technology and cultural conversations, and arm yourself with data supporting the urgency to act.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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