A new report from Publicis.Sapient and Fortune Knowledge Group identifies insights that collectively illustrate how digital innovations are impacting company profitability, customers and corporate culture.
The study analyzes the digital “maturity” of 500 global organizations as it relates to 32 specific innovations to provide guidance to leaders grappling with digital changes.
For one, the rapidly changing competitive landscape is a key driver behind most digital transformation strategies. Three-quarters of what the report calls “digitally mature organizations,” such as Delta and Panera Bread, say that it is “likely” or “very likely” that the leader in their industry will be a digital disruptor within five years’ time.
That compares to just 21% of digitally immature companies.
“As an industry, we are long on analytical people who are capable of reviewing data and telling you why something happened," stated Tim Mapes, senior vice president, CMO, Delta Airlines, in the report. "What the world lacks, and what we strive to have is a higher concentration of people who can look at data and tell you what’s going to happen.”
It is also critical that leaders are able to articulate the tangible benefits afforded by emerging opportunities. For example, mature digital companies are twice as likely as digitally immature peers to report a "very large impact" on the overall business from mobile technology (50% vs. 25%), social media (38% vs. 13%), and advanced analytics (35% vs. 10%).
Furthermore, digital leaders are twice as likely as their immature counterparts (48% vs. 24%) to say "deep customer insight" is the most important factor driving success of their organization’s digital transformation strategy.
Data complexity is the biggest obstacle to digital transformation for mature companies (41%), while just 32% of immature organizations say the same. This gap is potentially explained by lower levels of technology used by immature organizations. Complicating matters, 24% of mature organizations cite ‘inadequate analytics skills’ as an obstacle to transformation.
"Keep in mind that technology is a component of, but not the critical instrument behind, real change," states the report. "Engaged people are." Nearly three in 10 (27%) of digitally mature organizations believe that an enterprise-wide digital transformation vision is "vital" to their efforts, compared to only 18% of respondents from immature organizations.
In addition, respondents from digitally immature organizations are much more likely than their mature counterparts to report that senior management lacks vision (33% vs. 18%). “There needs to be a complete, end-to-end approach to transformation that requires an in-depth analysis of the company and a willingness to rethink its fundamentals.”
Given the speed of speed companies need to transform rapidly through "agile, sprint-based test and learn cycles tuned for creating velocity, not perfection," adds the report. Compared with immature counterparts, mature organizations are more likely to set timeframes of 1-2 years (27% vs. 16%), whereas immature organizations more frequently adopt 3-5 year horizons (36% vs. 22%).
Also, the report emphasizes that transformation is not cheap. Whatever approaches an organization takes, executives must be prepared to invest sufficient capital — human and otherwise — to ensure transformation is both comprehensive and ongoing.
The full report can be accessed here.