Enterprises trapped in digital transformation gridlock

Global research from Bizagi reveals that digital transformation is ‘a significant strategic challenge’ for 87% of businesses.

Nine in ten businesses (87%) face severe turbulence as they pursue digital transformation, according to research from Bizagi, a leading provider of digital process automation software.
The global study of over 1,000 IT and customer experience professionals demonstrates that businesses are rapidly embracing digital transformation, with 73% believing that failure to keep up will result in commercial downfall. However, the speed of change required, coupled with the complexity of the challenge, is leading the vast majority of large businesses into technological ‘traffic jams.’
The pace of change
Only one in three businesses globally (32%) claim they currently have a high level of live transformation projects. The USA and Canada are leading the charge, with 52% of businesses already undertaking new digital projects, followed by Brazil (39%) and the UK (31%), while at the other end of the scale this falls as low as 24% in the Nordics and 18% in Benelux.
However, three quarters of the respondents (75%) believe that the pace of change is increasing due to disruptive businesses challenging the status quo, with the vast majority (82%) understanding they must accelerate the pace of transformation to keep up in their industry.
Drivers of digital transformation
The drivers and risks associated with transformation are varied. Three in five businesses (60%) specify the need for operational agility as a key driver, while more than half (54%) identify the need to respond to changing customer expectations.
Four in five respondents (80%) think that providing a better customer experience that understands the immediate needs and situation of the individual is essential to create a competitive advantage. The customer becomes even more important for businesses with high levels of digital change already in progress, of whom 79% cite changes in customer expectation as the key driver for change.
“Customer expectation is changing the way businesses think and creating the momentum behind digital transformation,” comments Gustavo Gomez, CEO of Bizagi. “The majority of businesses are struggling to avoid the pitfalls that accompany digital transformation, and the secret to overcoming these challenges is to understand the drivers of change and create the IT agility to respond quickly.
“Businesses can then balance ideas, collaboration and technology to overcome the obstacles they currently face and create an army of ‘can-do’ pioneers to make change happen, which will help them reap the rewards of digital transformation.”
The agility trap
The main obstacles for businesses seeking rapid digital transformation relate to company culture, organisational complexity and the lack of processes that enable employees to engage, collaborate and innovate. These challenges are what Bizagi describes as ‘The Agility Trap,’ which occurs when businesses’ quest for rapid digital transformation is restricted by commercial, organisational or technological complexity.
The greatest risk facing organisations is not being ready to implement digital transformation projects, as 70% of respondents claim that their efforts to transform are undermined by internal complexity.
Despite prioritising transformation projects, the faster businesses move the more they face obstacles that slow them down. As a result, companies are falling into the following traps:
·Failing to plan: Not pre-determining the complexity of current business systems and processes before starting implementations. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) feel they neglect the implications and depth of systems change in their businesses when trying to build engaging services and user experiences
·Underestimating resistance to change: An unwillingness to embrace change is seeing more than 51% of businesses state they are either resistant to or have mixed views towards transformational change
·Neglecting systems agility: Only 28% of respondents believe their existing customer systems are highly agile, while 26% report highly agile employee systems and just 21% describe their operational systems in the same way
Gomez added: “It’s clear that many businesses are being restricted by severe challenges when it comes to digital transformation. These can only be overcome through technology that helps them avoid legacy system complexity, cultivates a culture of rapid experimentation and enables operational agility. Only then can businesses avoid or escape the agility trap and deliver on their digital transformation goals.”
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