CONNECTING DIGITAL ISLANDS
Bridging the business transformation gap

Although much has been written about digital transformation, businesses are finding that transformation is about more than just the application of technology or simply a drive to modernize the IT estate. It’s about a comprehensive business transformation, a whole new way of thinking, and everyone in the business has to be on board. It’s only through such a holistic business transformation that sustainable success and industry disruption are possible.

In this global survey of 1,186 executives, DXC Technology and Leading Edge Forum found that although leaders understand the benefits of transformation and are making progress, many continue to struggle with cultural, technological and market-oriented changes.

Technology is part of the solution to today’s barriers — it helps meet the demand for continuous innovation, for example — but it is not a solution in its own right. For transformation to be successful, internal conditions and strategic goals need to be more closely aligned.

2020 Enterprise Leadership Survey — Executive summary
  1. What's working
  2. Challenges
  3. Recommendations

For all the findings, including executive Q&As, and recommendations for bridging the gap between digital dream and digital reality in the 2020s, download the complete survey report.

What's working

Businesses are using new technologies to disrupt their industries and get ahead of the competition. They’re embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and they’re seeing the benefits.

IT strategy is now an integral part of competitive strategy:

79% say they’re leveraging technology to become market leaders.

Data is creating new revenue streams and helping to differentiate businesses:

77% say the collection and use of data is now built into the way they innovate and compete.

Organizations are investing in the tools and technologies for transformation

Just 6% say they need to play catch-up in digital IT to remain competitive.

New technologies are linked to brand equity and winning the talent war:

89% say they agree or strongly agree that being technically up-to-date is important for their brand and recruitment.

Challenges

Despite the progress, strategies can stall. Cultural, technological and market barriers make transformation difficult.

Low employee buy-in and engagement levels can hinder efforts:

65% say employee reluctance to change work habits is a barrier to technology-enabled organizational change.

Employee skills shortages obstruct progress:

62% say their organizations lack the necessary training and skills.

Cumbersome legacy systems continue to affect progress:

66% say their mission-critical systems are so complex they are wary of changing them.

Some business units are working in isolation as digital islands:

62% say they agree or strongly agree that they lack a common set of tools and platforms across the organization.

Organizations require the necessary leadership skills:

70% of respondents agree or strongly agree that more effective leadership across the organization is needed for successful digital transformation.

Competition from multiple sources is fierce:

64% cite challenges from platform giants (e.g., Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Apple and Facebook) as a top external challenge over the next 5 years; 59% cite new market entrants and startups.

Recommendations

Business transformation will gain momentum and become more successful as organizations create conditions for change. The 2020s could be the decade in which the cultural, technological and market barriers finally come down.

The following five steps can help organizations align their strategic, operational and technological goals:

  1. Develop 21st-century executives, leaders and employees.
  2. Review team performance and make sure skills and experience circulate.
  3. Build a modern technical foundation, and especially a modern data foundation.
  4. Embrace a strategic set of ecosystem partners and suppliers.
  5. Plan to change course often and in midflight.

For all the findings, including executive Q&As and recommendations on the technologies, skills and culture needed to bridge the gap between digital dream and digital reality in the 2020s:

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