CMOs and Digital Transformation: Commitment Differs from Reality

CMOs and Digital Transformation: Commitment Differs from Reality

In Culture, Digital Transformation, Innovation, Organizational Change by Shelly Kramer0 Comments

Digital transformation has transitioned from just another buzzword to a business truth organizations must embrace to stay relevant in today’s fast-moving, digital marketplace. While data shows most modern organizations are aware they must commit to digital transformation, how to do so successfully isn’t always black and white. It’s easy to understand why—there are enough moving parts to digital transformation that someone could write a book on it (one of our co-founders, Daniel Newman, did that already, by the way). To that end, a new IDG Research report sponsored by Unisys has put a spotlight on the doubt many C-suiters face as they approach digital transformation: While 72 percent of CXOs are committed to digital transformation, only 15 percent believe they can do it. Why? What are the gaps, and how can you learn from them? Let’s explore.

Security Concerns and Execution Challenges Main Barriers to Digital Transformation [REPORT]

The Unisys-IDG survey included a poll of 175 executives from European and American companies with 1,000 or more employees. Seventy-two percent of respondents said digital transformation was critical, up from 65 percent in 2015. Most said they’d already adopted digital initiatives, with 55 percent of their applications already deployed to the cloud. While some results from initial digital movements were promising, many respondents reported security concerns and execution challenges as barriers to digital transformation success. Here are some key points:

  • Eighty-eight percent cited cloud data security as a top priority, but a mere 32 percent reported significant progress in that area—a major gap.
  • Only 15 percent of respondents said their organizations were flexible and nimble enough to allow them to fully capitalize on new business opportunities. A whopping one in three said their businesses were not flexible at all.
  • To improve competitiveness, cloud and data center management as a means to better utilize assets was ranked both the highest priority by 18 percent of respondents and lowest priority by 15 percent of respondents. See Figure 1 below for a further breakdown.


Figure 1. Source: Meeting the Demands of the Digital Generation: Get Good at Cloud Now!, Unisys & IDG Report

Digital Transformation Means Cultural Transformation

That was a lot of data to digest, so let’s take a step back for a moment and gather a little context. The goal of Unisys-IDG survey was to collect insight about “the initiatives organizations are taking to capitalize on the convergence of social, cloud, mobility, data analytics, internet of things (IoT) and security to drive new business models and engage, enable and support an increasingly tech-savvy workforce and customer base.”

I know that sounds a little windy, but I quoted it for a reason. It’s a phenomenal way of putting into words not just what digital transformation is but why it’s important—a key part of the big picture that sometimes gets lost somewhere along the way. The goal is to “engage, enable, and support” through tech. Every prospective digital transformation move should be analyzed through that lens.

One more thing: Do you remember that Unisys-IDG survey finding that said one in three businesses reported not being at all flexible or nimble? That’s huge. You can’t grow your business—digitally or otherwise—if you’re not flexible, and you can’t be flexible without the right culture. Processes and cloud adoption are important to digital transformation, but it’s equally as important for your culture to transform along with the technology and tools you’re implementing.

Final Thoughts

Here at XVA Labs, digital transformation is our stomping ground. We know it, we’ve lived it, and we’re committed to helping you realize success from your initiatives. But—and this is important—we don’t do it the same way the other guys do. Instead of doling out strategies that might fizzle or be difficult to measure, we focus on the roots of your transformation: the people and the culture. This includes things like employee advocacy, collaboration initiatives, innovation programs, organizational roadblocks, vision, values, alignment and messaging, hiring and retention—you get the picture.

That’s why this study I’ve discussed here stuck out so much. It proves that most businesses know they need to embrace digital transformation—all the data in the world can tell you that—but it also shows the old way of approaching initiatives isn’t always working. Perhaps it’s time for a shift in perspective.

How does your business approach digital transformation? Would you say your organization is flexible, or are there barriers holding you back? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Change the Game for Your Business with Digital Transformation
The 4 Pillars of Digital Transformation: Stability, Reliability, Agility, and Speed
Photo Credit: The Daring Librarian Flickr via Compfight cc

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