Companies Need to Realign Digital Strategies, West Monroe Finds
In general, companies are well on their way to realizing their digital futures but still have opportunities to further enhance and align their visions, products, customer engagement, data, and strategies, and the operational processes that connect them, according to new research from West Monroe.
Sadly, the research suggests that companies' and consumers' digital priorities aren't completely aligned.
While a majority of C-suite executives believe they've built a compelling vision for a digital agility model, the stakes are high for companies amid a challenging economy and high customer expectations. To realize their digital vision, companies are focused on three major priorities: improving the customer experience (37 percent), enhancing their data capabilities (35 percent) and improving scalability through process improvement (32 percent).
"It's time to say goodbye to the idea of digital transformation as a box to check. Clark Kent can walk into a phone booth and come out as Superman,; but unless you're a superhero, that kind of transformation is unrealistic," says Matt Johnson, managing director in West Monroe's Product, Experience, and Engineering Lab. "Organizations don't need superpowers to evolve. They just need agility. It starts with a digital mindset and translates across every decision and department within the organization."
Other findings highlighted in West Monroe's "Be Digital" report include discrepancies in the following areas:
- Vision: Digital isn't something you do, it's a mindset, something you are, and companies are in the early stages of this transition. Nearly all (95 percent) report they have a clear sense of how digital fuels growth, but only 47 percent say they are very effective at having a digital mindset.
- Products and experiences: Almost half (49 percent) of organizations say they're very effecting at putting the consumer at the center of everything, but consumers reveal some misaligned priorities. For example, consumers care much more about simplicity and much less about personalization, access to guidance, and new digital products and services than companies think they do.
- Data and technology: All organizations give themselves passing grades for data maturity, but only 43 percent grade themselves an A, and others might be grading on a curve. For example, slightly more than half have cloud-based data, IP and infrastructure, and only 50 percent use data as a catalyst for change. A vast majority of companies are investing to close both of those gaps.
- Customer engagement: Only 37 percent of companies grade their customer experience as an A, and consumers have made it clear that anything less than an A is a failure. Nearly two thirds of consumers (63 percent) say they will switch to another company if their experience is lacking.
- Business operations: With data capabilities a key goal, 47 percent of companies are also investing significantly to enable algorithmic decision-making, which can enable agility across the organization and allow for flexibility and speed in meeting consumer needs. Organizations are evolving quickly to a more iterative model, with 48 percent reporting they are very effective at prioritizing fast over perfect.
- Organization and people: Digital must be a team sport, but only 25 percent say their full C-suite is responsible for digital transformation. However, nearly half are investing significantly to help with employee enablement and to move to a more decentralized organizational design.
"It's encouraging to see companies recognize the importance of enabling data-driven decision-making and agile thinking. But there's more work ahead," says Casey Foss, chief commercial officer of West Monroe. "With consumer expectations and preferences constantly changing, the key is access to real-time data and insights."