Tuesday, 26th May 2020

Mission-critical complexity prevents business transformation

According to a survey from global research and thought leadership organisation, Leading Edge Forum (LEF) and DXC Technology, companies have overdue homework to complete, if digital transformation is to succeed.

The study, “Connecting Digital Islands: Bridging the Business Transformation Gap,” explores where global businesses are in their transformations, and what benefits, challenges and opportunities the next decade may bring. While 79% of respondents say that they’re leveraging technology to become market leaders, Two-thirds (66%) say their mission-critical systems are so complex they are wary of changing them. A further 62% responded that they lack a common set of tools and platforms across the organization resulting in a collection of “digital islands”: units working with the right technologies but independently of each other.

The survey also found that over half of the respondents (52%) believe staff are not sufficiently using analytics to make decisions based on data insights, despite 79% claiming they are effectively using technology to grow, compete, and drive market leadership. This means insights are being missed, given 77% say the collection and use of data is built into how they compete and operate.

While enterprises have been focused on data- and technology-driven transformation for some time, survey respondents say they must get the “people and culture” aspects right for effective, long-term change in the 2020s. Significantly, 65% of the business leaders surveyed reported that employee reluctance to change work habits is a barrier to technology-enabled organizational change, while only 14% rank improving employee engagement and empowerment as their top internal priority.

More notably, 70% say more effective leadership is needed across the organization.

In the survey respondents also prioritised the emerging technologies they believe will most positively impact their organisations:

● High-speed 5G networks (60%);

● Artificial intelligence and machine learning (59%);

● Sensors and the Internet of Things (55%);

● Robots and robotic process automation (54%);

● Virtual and augmented reality (53%);

● Voice interfaces such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assist (52%);

Commenting on the research findings, Richard Davies, VP, Strategic Advisory, DXC Technology and MD at LEF, said: “This is a strong reminder that getting the right combination of people, culture and technology is essential for making effective, long-term change. Employees will also need to embrace technology-infused work cultures more strongly, and leaders must have the same priority. To close the gap, companies have to a lot of work to do — work that should have happened some time ago. This ranges from building effective leadership and internetworked teams, to modernizing IT and moving up the stack for data-driven insights, to establishing an ecosystem of partners and suppliers and instilling a culture of collaboration, learning and agility.”

The full report concludes by offering enterprises a five-step plan to help create the conditions for change if they want the 2020s to be the decade in which the cultural, technological and market barriers finally come down:

  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 mid-flight
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