Employers face ‘digital ceiling’ in digital transformation

Focusing initiatives around employees brings best results: report

Employers face ‘digital ceiling’ in digital transformation

Businesses face a “digital ceiling” when it comes to digital transformation, according to new research from Infosys Knowledge Institute, the research arm of consulting firm Infosys.

Infosys Digital Radar 2020 assessed the digital transformation efforts of companies on a digital maturity index and found year-over-year progress in basic areas, such as digital initiatives to improve a company’s efficiency. However, most employers came up against a “digital ceiling” when trying to achieve the most advanced levels of maturity.

“Traditional program models are not keeping up with the rapid pace of market change and companies face a distinct barrier in reaching top levels of digital maturity,” says Jeff Kavanaugh, vice-president and global head at Infosys Knowledge Institute.

“The most successful businesses in our survey have an employee focus and a circular transformation mindset, which enables top performers to kick off a virtuous cycle in the company.”

The report — which surveyed more than 1,000 executives from nine countries including Canada — labelled the most digitally advanced companies as visionaries, followed by explorers and then watchers.

Employers are aware of how to achieve moderate transformation success, with an 18 per cent increase in companies progressing this year from the lowest tier of watchers to the middle explorer tier. However, explorers struggled to move into the top visionary cluster, while the top tier of businesses remained the same, hence, the digital ceiling, according to Infosys.

However, only 14 per cent of companies worldwide actually have an integrated digital and business strategy and road map in place, according to a recent survey by Willis Towers Watson.

The visionary cluster remained unchanged despite companies reporting fewer barriers to digital transformation than last year. Human (rather than technological) barriers are now the most persistent, with the two of the top hurdles being lack of talent or skills (34 per cent) and a risk-averse corporate culture (35 per cent), says the research.

The survey demonstrates that top performers break through the digital ceiling because they think differently, found Infosys.

Successful companies focus strongly on people, and they use digital transformation to make improvements centred on customers and employees.

Most companies (68 per cent) across the spectrum stated operational efficiency and increased productivity as a main transformation objective. But successful companies in the visionary cluster are particularly motivated to make improvements for their employees.

Nearly half of visionaries describe “empowering employees” as a major business objective for transformation, compared with less than one third of explorers and less than one fifth of watchers, says the company.

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