Businesses adopt a digital strategy but most are skeptical of success

New report from Forrester on digital disruption finds most organisations have some form of digital strategy in place, but two-thirds think their approach is inadequate

More than 90 per cent of global business executives believe digital will disrupt their business over the next 12 months, yet two-thirds mistrust their own digital strategy, new research highlights.

According to Forrester Research’s latest report into digital strategy, The Future of Business is Digital, three quarters of businesses surveyed are taking action with a digital strategy in the next year to meet the digital disruption challenge facing their organisation. More than half also believe digital technologies are a major driver of business strategy.

However, only one third of respondents think they have the right digital approach, and just 21 per cent claim the right staff are setting strategy. In fact, only 15 per cent said they had the necessary people and skills in place to execute on their digital strategy, and just 14 per cent are confident about their processes.

Among the top barriers cited in the report are organisational inertia and functional limitations. For example, two-third of employees believed functional departments are too fixed in their ways, while 68 per cent of business unit leaders said the functional teams in their companies are barriers to effective coordination.

Only 21 per cent agreed their CEO has set a clear vision for digital in the business, indicating top-level readiness is another major issue.

“The organisational structures, processes and ways of working that have proven so successful in the past are now your firm’s greatest enemies in its race to embrace digital technology,” commented report authors, Nigel Fenwick and Martin Gill.

When it comes to functional areas most impacted by digital, marketing tied with ecommerce and IT, followed by sales.

Forrester highlighted two key ways of addressing the digital challenge today: Digital customer experience; and digital operational excellence. On the customer experience front, organisations should be looking to digitise the end-to-end customer experience, along with products and services as part of the value ecosystem, the research authors stated.

“Digital businesses understand that if they are to win in the age of the customer, customer experience is their only differentiator,” the report stated. “Success means investing in customer experience as a discipline within your organisation… Rather than treating digital as a channel, focus on delivering digitally enhanced experiences that add value in the context of the customer’s needs.”

Operationally, organisations need to source enhanced operational capabilities within a dynamic ecosystem, drive rapid customer-centric innovation, digitise for agility over efficiency, Forrester said.

“The key characteristic of successful digital businesses is their ability to position themselves as ecosystem players,” continued Gill in a related blog post. “ They acknowledge that they can’t do everything themselves, so they turn to dynamic ecosystems of partners to extend their internal capabilities.

“And likewise, they understand that their customers see them as just one supplier in an ecosystem of firms they turn to. This drives a different approach to designing products and services in the digitally networked world.”

Related: Doing digital strategy the Amway
How digital can drive bricks and mortar transformation
C-suite gets behind digital customer engagement

The research firm also identified several classifications businesses could use to size up their current digital readiness, as well as provides a framework to achieve them. This list starts at ‘digital dinosaurs’ that need help beginning their transformation, then ‘digital connectors’ that understand digital customers but aren’t yet operating digitally. An example of the latter is British Airways, which RFID-enabled its baggage handling capabilities.

Forrester’s third level, ‘digital operators’, are creating digital efficiency and reaping revenue rewards but don’t focus on customer experience, such as PG&E and Telefonica. At the top of the tree are ‘digital masters’ who excel at digital thinking and have embraced both digital customer experience and operational excellence. Companies at this level include Burberry and USAA.

The Forrester report was based on a survey of 1254 global business executives at organisations with at least 250 employees.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

What does the CMO of 2017 look like?

The marketing landscape continues to evolve, and leading marketers are working hard to ride the wave. So what does it take to stand out from the pack?

Andrew Haussegger

Co-founder and CEO, Green Hat

The real asset of small data – getting granular unearths opportunities

When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

Digital Transformation challenges for CMOs

New problems are rarely fixed by applying old thinking. In the last decade, a combination of circumstances has evolved that requires new thinking from marketers. This new thinking takes advantage of the digital environment and transforms business as we know it.

Mark Cameron

CEO, Working Three

Need to improve your customer journey? We're excited to announce that we are holding that we are holding two more sessions of our sellout...

Proto Partners

Customer journeys: The new differentiation battlefield - Customer insights - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks Mark. A third of customers leave brands after one negative experience, thats why it is ever so important that we optimise EVERY in...

Proto Partners

Customer journeys: The new differentiation battlefield - Customer insights - CMO Australia

Read more

Hi Kyle -- great piece. I couldn't agree with you more when you say that we as marketers are in the business of choice. I actually wrot...

Matthew Willcox

Tapping behavioural science for consumer influence

Read more

Great points. When it comes to optimizing the app experience, making sure you collect rich usage data is important, but making sure you c...

Dustin Amrhein

Why app engagement must be personalised - Mobile strategy - CMO Australia

Read more

You can also use automation to help keep the contact database nice and tidy. For example, programs that check and fix database values (eg...

automatico

3 brands using marketing automation for more than just email

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in