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Most execs rank ‘people’ as the barrier to digital transformation

A new survey published in September 2019 has found that people are the biggest barriers to digital transformation, as noted by business leaders. From the survey 59 percent of those surveyed pointed to inconsistent sponsorship from senior leadership as the greatest early obstacle. The study was conducted by global IT company Wipro in partnership with Coleman Parkes Research.

The primary barriers to digital transformation were each identified as people-driven, including:

Inconsistent sponsorship and/or ownership from senior leadership (noted by 59 percent of respondents);
Inability to train existing teams to change or use new technology, methods, or processes (mentioned by 56 percent);
Lack of alignment with business stakeholders (54 percent).

The 2019 study builds on Wipro’s earlier 2017 findings in showing how business leaders have moved past the leadership crisis in digital transformation to successfully completing it, but challenges related to senior leadership and adapting to new ways of working are likely points of failure, specifically:

Better execution. Today, 90 percent of executives feel their company is executing successfully in line with their digital transformation strategy; compared to 2017, where only half felt they were.
Aligned definitions (and goals). Today, 94 percent feel their companies are aligned on what digital transformation actually means, whereas 2 years ago, 1 in 4 executives did not.
Increased importance. Today, no executives surveyed feel that digital transformation is a waste of time; while in 2017, 1-in-3 believed it to be trivial.

The survey also provided some economic indicators in relation to digital transformation, most notably that return-on-investment takes about one year. This means companies should not expect short-term gains from digital transformation. With this, only 14 percent of business leaders saw measurable business results of digital transformation in less than six months, 31 percent saw this occurring within six to twelve months, and 54 percent said it was on realizable within one to three years.

The research also discovered that Modest or moderate disruption dominates. Here, close to three quarters of executives described their digital transformation disruption as only modest or moderate. Only one in five say they intend to be fundamentally new and disruptive in their program.

For those yet to full embark on digital transformation, it is not yet too late. The research found that late starters can still beat the competition. The data showed 85 percent of respondents believe that companies who have started their digital transformation journeys later than others still have a chance to beat their competitors in the long run.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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