European business leaders agree that digital transformation is critical to their future success, yet a survey1 conducted in the UK, Spain, Sweden and Germany and published today by Fujitsu reveals that most companies lack a clear strategy for reaching this goal – and the majority still see the whole digitalization process as a gamble.
The year 2016 is widely tipped by industry pundits as the “year of digital transformation”, and Gartner analyst Michael Burkett confirms: “Digital business is shifting from a future strategic vision by IT leaders and digital leaders to providing a real competitive edge today.”2 Yet three quarters of organizations agree that digital transformation is a business priority and the same number lack confidence in their digital decisions, according to Fujitsu’s research.
The survey, taking in the views of more than 600 C-level executives and IT budget holders, reveals a huge amount of industry-wide optimism in digital transformation. Executives are confident in their own organization’s ability to progress transformation projects and the overwhelming majority are in favor of moving even faster. There is also widespread agreement that failing to digitalize fast enough will lead to a sweeping range of penalties including loss of productivity, reduced business responsiveness to the market and problems with customer retention and loyalty.
“When you scratch the surface, business optimism on digital transformation in fact looks more like bravado,” says Duncan Tait, CEO, EVP and Head of EMEIA at Fujitsu. “The survey reveals that only one in four are actually confident in their digital decisions, while two in three will even admit that their digital transformation projects are a gamble.”
Although there is widespread recognition that digital transformation impacts the top line in terms of how organizations create value for their customers, Fujitsu’s research also uncovers huge disconnects in terms of strategic priorities for digital projects. Among the key findings:
- Only one in three respondents agrees that digital priorities are fully aligned within their organization
- Every second executive thinks digitalization is a job best left to the IT department
- One in three business leaders think they are already over-spending on digital projects
- Only one in four is “extremely confident” in advising on the right choices
Tait adds: “Digital transformation is increasingly core to societal and economic stability and in order to thrive, businesses need to accelerate the pace at which they bring technology and new ideas together. However, the lack of clear ownership and conflicting priorities is a barrier to success. Fujitsu is focused on supporting customers on their journey to digital transformation and in enabling customers to achieve balance, both in order for them to thrive in a digital world as well as to transform their businesses without disruption.”
Fujitsu defines transformation as bridging the digital disconnect through the seamless integration of new front-end experiences with processes and information at the core operational level. This process is fundamental to future business, yet many companies clearly fail to appreciate the risks of attempting a poorly-planned implementation. Finding the right balance is unique for every customer, instead of being a linear process or about doing one thing or another.
What’s more is that in order to be truly digital, organizations must be digitally-enabled from end-to-end, by building new digital front-end experiences and seamlessly connecting these to the back-end systems and infrastructure that enable them.