Industry Insights

Transforming to a Digital Future Today

Digital transformation is neither a new trend nor a supplement business strategy. Today, business leaders are tasked to move their enterprises to the next level through digital transformation. According to analyst firm IDC, by the end of 2017, two-thirds of CEOs of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. 

Progress, a software firm announced the results of its recent global survey, “Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial?” The purpose of the survey was to analyze business leaders’ perspectives on digital transformation. Survey respondents included a mix of more than 700 global C-Level/VP decision makers.

Key findings from the survey concluded:

  • 96% of organizations consider digital transformation critical or extremely important while 62% claim their business is in denial over the need of digital transformation.

  • 86% say they have two years to make inroads before feeling the consequences, both in financial and competitive terms, while 55% say a year or less, and 59% are worried they may already be too late.

  • 99% agree the main driver for digital transformation is optimizing customer experiences and engagement; 61% say customer engagement is the first priority for the next 12 months, and 50% plan to invest in building applications in the next year.

  • 72% feel IT is more likely to be the final decision maker/budget holder for digital initiatives; 78% say better alignment of IT and marketing is needed to deliver on digital transformation efforts.

  • 58% say a high reliance on IT to deliver strategy is a barrier to providing improved customer experience through digital transformation; more than half cite lack of skills and leadership as key barriers.

The Challenges & Their Impacts 

MuleSoft, the provider of an application network building platform, announced the release of a report, based on a survey of 802 IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) globally, in order to reveal significant IT challenges to meeting digital transformation initiatives and the role of APIs. Although 96% of organizations profess to have a digital strategy in place, most ITDMs have an outdated perception of what digital transformation means according to the report. 82% say "going paperless" is a key part of a digital transformation. This is followed by "developing web-based applications and services" at 78%, and "upgrading servers" and "moving to the cloud" (both 77 percent). 

In terms of the top three challenges for IT to execute on digital transformation, 45% point out business and IT misalignment is a huge challenge, 43% believe it’s a time constraint, and 39% think legacy infrastructure and systems are a big roadblock. 66% said that these challenges to completing digital transformation, if not resolved, will negatively impact their company's revenue within six months. It seems that cultural transformation along with IT and business alignment are the missing pieces in today's efforts to go digital. 

Another big challenge is finding the right people who shoulder the responsibility for addressing the changing business landscape. According to new research from Executive Search Consultants Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA), a common mistake that companies have been making is relying on one or two people to execute a digital transformation. Rhys Grossman, Co-lead of the Digital Transformation Practice at RRA, suggests: "To execute on this, you need a group of people who all understand what needs to be done and how to do it. One person alone cannot do that." 

In this regard, it is also important to remember before delegating digital transformation tasks to staff, in general, employees cannot invest more than 10% over their current workload for an initiative to succeed. So it is also crucial to consider the current resources. 

Again according to the survey, organizations often focus on the wrong direction such as developing a digital strategy. However, the ultimate goal should be integrating digital into all aspects of the business as 90 percent of top performers have fully integrated digital initiatives into their strategy. 

Interconnectedness between Digital Outside and Inside

Although all studies we mentioned above are beneficial to see the big picture behind the digital transformation hype and can be applied to many organizations at some point in their digital transformation journey, every organization has its own unique culture, personas, and functionalities. However, regardless of differences, organizations have to consider both digital outside for a customer experience and digital inside for operational superiority at the same time being inseparable in order to deliver a holistic customer experience. Today, many organizations have lagged in one or the other, as it is difficult to succeed both. For instance, what is the point of delivering a seamless and super user-friendly online order service, when a customer ends up receiving a wrong or damaged item, not receiving at all, or having billing issues due to the failure of the internal process? 

Gerry McGovern, Founder and CEO of Customer Carewords, emphasized on this disconnectedness in his blog post: “Digital transformation has already happened in the world of the customer. It is only now happening in the world of the organization. The customer is way ahead of the organization when it comes to digital transformation.” According to McGovern, the root of the problem is management culture. On the other hand, digital transformation is not an option anymore. It will eventually happen to every organization regardless of their culture. So if the culture resonates with change, then altering the culture is the wise thing to do before undertaking a digital transformation. 

Here is a video prepared by World Economic Forum, interviewing numerous amount of executives all around the world to get their perspectives on how to survive in the digital world: 


WCM Powers Digital Transformation

Cathy McKnight, Co-founder of the research firm, Digital Clarity Group and one of CMS-Connected News Contributors writes in her recent article:

"The new drive for Customer Experience has driven content beyond just a 'nice way to market across a digital channel' and into perhaps the only differentiator that remains. This dependency on content and web content management (WCM) as the primary system of engagement has propelled the power of WCM as king widening the gap between it and its courtesans."

If the top strategic goals are improving customer experience and differentiation, then WCM lies at the heart of a digital transformation, as it may be the most complicated purchase & implementation an organization would make over the course of the transformation. Companies should captivate on comprehensive thinking with those goals in mind when selecting the right WCM in order to achieve digital transformation, as it has so many auspicious opportunities to make the process less intimidating.   

Singapore is the Leading Country 

One of the largest independent software corporations in the world CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates International, conducted a survey earlier this year to identify the leading countries in digital transformation. Singapore has become the leader out of 10 countries which included Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Since the country has a stable economy and government, with a high penetration of broadband and tech savvy individuals, Singapore companies are well-placed for digital transformation. 

"The government has done a phenomenal job, making it attractive for Singaporeans and other countries do business and technology development work here. It also has a very robust immigration policy and the ability to attract talent on a global basis which is important when organizations need people for digital transformation projects," said Mr. Mike Gregoire, Chief Executive of CA. 

During Singapore's budget allocation for 2016, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat stressed that companies must be ready to transform themselves or they will be left behind. 

Mr. Gregoire also pointed out that companies do not have the luxury of time to think about digital transformation: "The compression of innovation time is acute. We don't know what the next big thing is that will come in 24 months. So we must be ready to move fast."

According to a 2016 survey of 400 CEOs undertaken by research firm Gartner, Asia-pacific CEOs place technology as a key priority for this year. A third of them realize that they may not be in business in 2020 having been overtaken by some other companies.

Digital transformation involves different thinking, innovation, a modification in leadership & new business models and incorporating digital strategy into all aspects of the business to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and stakeholders. To touch on all the components of digital transformation in a blog post would not be feasible, so we would like to invite you to watch the 50th episode of the CMS-Connected Show on Tuesday, May 31st at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET recorded at the Boston Harbor Distillery, as Tyler Pyburn and Scott Liewehr welcome special guest, Leah Kinthaert to give us her take on digital transformation which cuts across every aspect of how companies must engage externally and operate internally.  

Make sure to set your reminder to watch the show on Digital Transformation…Now a Business Imperative. You won’t want to miss this informative discussion that will leave you with pages and pages of ideas and a deeper understanding of digital transformation initiatives. 

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Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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