Digital transformation: The lowdown from first movers, early adopters and fast followers

Digital transformation: The lowdown from first movers, early adopters and fast followers

Organisations report positive ROI, but need to cultivate a pool of digitally proficient people in-house, according to Constellation Research.

Digital transformation is now recognised as key to the success of the enterprise, and many organisations are experiencing a positive return on their digital investments.

The latest survey by Constellation Research finds 68 per cent of respondents reporting positive ROI on their digital transformation strategies.

The report examines the state of digital transformation among the first movers, early adopters and fast followers in Constellation Research’s subscriber base.

The research shows more CIOs and CDOs are leading digital transformation projects, compared to the previous year.

Thirty-three per cent of survey respondents indicated their CIO leads their organisation’s digital transformation strategies, with the CEO leading in 23 per cent and the CDO leading in 20 per cent.

In 2017, CEOs led the highest percentage of digital transformation efforts, at 29 per cent; CIOs guided 19 per cent; and CDOs headed just 8 per cent of such efforts.

While more CIOs are taking the rein in digital transformation efforts, the report notes the rise in the prominence of the CDO in these initiatives, according to the authors of the report, R ‘Ray’ Wang, principal analyst and founder, and Courtney Sato, director of research development, at Constellation Research.

They attribute this change to the growing emphasis on digital transformation among large (over US$1 billion in revenue) enterprises.

There is a link between digital transformation leadership and company revenue, they state.

Among small businesses, or those with revenue of less than $10 million, CDOs and CEOs lead an equal share of digital transformation efforts, at 33 per cent each. The CIO leads none of digital transformation efforts among the SMBs surveyed.  

But it is a different matter for larger businesses, or those with US$10 million to $500 million in revenue.There, CIOs lead 60 per cent of digital transformation efforts; and CEOs, 17 per cent. Among these organisations, too, CDOs guide 3 per cent of such efforts.

But for enterprises with over US$1 billion in revenue, CDOs are the leaders of choice. Thirty-two per cent of these enterprises said the CDO leads their digital transformation efforts, with CIOs at 24 per cent and CEOs at 12 per cent.

The lesser prominence of the CDO in organisations with less than US$1 billion in revenue may be attributable to some organisations not having a CDO or having a CDO who reports to another executive in the C-suite.

However, as Constellation Research has predicted, more organisations have appointed CDOs to take responsibility for the digital strategy.

This trend will continue, it states, but as digital initiatives continue to integrate into the business, the CDO eventually will report to the CEO on matters pertaining to the implementation of new business models or the CIO on matters concerning the improvement of technology.

“Eventually, as organisations complete their digital transformations, the CDO role may be phased out.”

Constellation Research says the report is based on the survey of 81 respondents in the second and third quarters of 2018.

All respondents had purchasing authority for their organisations, with 51 per cent being members of the C-suite: CIOs (25 per cent), CEOs (12 per cent), chief digital officers (10 per cent), chief technology officers (6 per cent), chief marketing officers (1 per cent); CFOs (1 per cent) and other C-level executives (3 per cent).  Senior VPs, board members/non-executive directors and IT managers (up to director) made up 33 per cent of the sample. Line-of-business managers and IT employees made up 7 per cent of the sample.

A constant in the survey is the prevalence of the war for digitally proficient talent.

“This shows no signs of abating,” says Constellation Research.

When asked if the organisation has the workforce talent necessary to implement digital transformation projects, just 5 per cent of respondents said yes.

In contrast, 94 per cent of respondents said their organisations need to hire additional people to implement digital transformation projects, and 51 per cent reported needing to make significant talent acquisitions to support their projects.

The report says the introduction of new, emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, IoT and blockchain will further drive demand for qualified talent.

It is imperative that organisations focus on the supply of digitally proficient people in-house or their digital transformation efforts will be hindered by lack of talent, the authors advise.

Organisations should hedge against the threat of competitive recruiting while preventing a hollowing out of the midlevel workforce by cultivating a pool of digital talent within the organisation.

Constellation Research calls on all enterprises undergoing digital transformation to implement a strategy to provide training, share best practices and inform the workforce of the digital transformation methodologies.

This strategy, it says, must also try to identify and develop leaders within their existing staff.

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Tags C-SuiteAIdisruptiontalent shortageConstellation ResearchRay WangIoT5Gskills management

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