Digital Business Transformation Survey Results


Digital Business Transformation Survey Results were published by IDC and the highlights have been summarized below.

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results

Businesses are using technology to drive revenue and innovate at the point of the customer.

Digital business is described as the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.  However, when IDC asked respondents in their Digital Business Survey, additional detail was provided:

  • Enable worker productivity through tools such as mobile, data access and AI-assisted processes (52%)
  • Ability to better manager business performance through data availability and visibility (49%)
  • Meet customer experience expectations (46%)
The number of connected IoT endpoints is expected to top 30B in 2020 and reach 80B by 2025 according to IDC. But for most enterprises, the transition to a digital-first business model has been more cautious and methodical.

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Plans

89% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital first strategy

  • More than a third of organizations (37%) have already started integrating and executing a digital-first approach
  • 7% say they’re already an enterprise-wide digital business
  • 45% of IT and business leaders surveyed say their companies are in the very early stages of becoming a digital business – either gathering information or just beginning to formulate a digital-first strategy.

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Obstacles

The biggest obstacles in achieving success with digital business initiatives

  • lack of sufficient budget (39%)
  • lack of staff and/or correct skill sets (36%)
  • the need to replace legacy systems (34%)
  • cultural issues (33%)

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Adoption

  • More than a third of organizations (44%) have already started implementing a digital-first approach to business processes, operations and customer engagement.
  • Some 19% are in the integration process of making operational and technology changes throughout the enterprise.
  • 18% are executing their digital plans and making process, operational and technology changes on a department and business unit level.
  • 7% of companies have already fully implemented their digital first approach and are in the maintenance phase.

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Budgets

  • 21% of organizations will spend $1M-$1M on digital business initiatives
  • 15% will spend $10M or more on digital business projects in the next 12 months
  • 21% of organizations plan to spend less than $1M this year on digital business initiatives
  • The overall expected average spend is $14.3 million – which varies greatly by company size
  • Enterprise organizations (1,000+ employees) expect to spend $27.5M
  • SMBs (<1,000 employees) expect to spend $1.8M

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Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Desired Business Outcomes

Close to one-third of IT decision-makers (32%) say that digital business has already helped their organization achieve revenue growth, with an average of a 23% increase. Meanwhile, 35% of respondents say their digital first efforts have not yet affected revenue, and another 30% don’t know.

Top objectives were for their digital business strategy

  • Improve process efficiency through automation (64%)
  • Create better customer experiences (58%)
  • Improve employee productivity (50%)
  • 43% of organizations expect digital business to drive revenue growth

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Top 5 Digital Technologies Already Implemented

Big Data/Analytics (59%)

Big data/analytics helps organizations harness their data and use it to identify new opportunities. That, in turn, leads to smarter business moves, more efficient operations, higher profits and happier customers. It also drives process efficiencies and employee productivity, which are primary goals of digital-first initiatives.

Mobile Technology (59%)

Historically, organizations shied away from integrating mobile technology because of the complex integration required with so many legacy processes and systems. Today, with more organizations now focused on digital transformation, it’s time to leverage mobile as an integrated part of business strategy.

Public Cloud (53%) and Private Cloud (45%)

As organizations add digital-first technologies, public and private cloud will play a central role.

APIs (40%)

Application Programming Interfaces, the language for getting systems to communicate and share data with one another, are becoming essential business tools for sharing data among siloed systems and external data-sharing to allow collaboration that can improve operations and customer service.

Digital Business Transformation Survey Results – Top 5 Digital Technologies In the Works

Artificial Intelligence (56%)

As artificial intelligence (AI) proliferates, it’s becoming an imperative for businesses that want to maintain a competitive edge. AI can process and analyze massive amounts of data far more quickly than the human brain. It can then recommend a course of action based on the data. Rather than replacing humans, AI can help them map out the consequences of actions and speed up the decision-making process.

Machine Learning (55%)

Machine learning (ML), a subset of AI, is a technology that allows systems to learn from data and continuously improve from experience, without being specifically programmed.

Internet of Things (50%)

Close to half (49%) of IT decision-makers say that IoT plays a role in their digital business strategy, with greater use among enterprise organizations (61%) compared to SMBs (39%). Currently, IoT is primarily being used to manage IT assets on performance, risk management, compliance and security (57%), monitor equipment (53%) and collect customer or product data via sensors (41%), to name a few functions.

SDN (45%) and SDS (44%)

Software-defined networking (SDN) technology can create more efficient, centralized networking management, reduce operating costs, and enable new technologies in the organization. With SDN, the network can direct traffic without relying on the hardware to make the decision. This capability has become critical to readying companies for new technologies such as cloud-based applications, IoT devices, and big data applications. Likewise, software-defined storage (SDS) is helping many industries better manage their growing stockpile of data by providing flexibility in how they store and retrieve data.


State of Digital Business Transformation

IT leaders are making steady and sequential progress to becoming digital-first organizations. For many organizations, the foundational pieces are in place to become digital-first and the focus is now on adopting newer technologies like AI and IoT. But successful digital transformation also requires a keen focus on change management and workforce strategy for the entire organization. CIOs and top IT executives are expected to play a central role on both fronts.

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