Digital transformation is happening, but not everywhere, not all at once, and not always successfully, according to a new survey from Fujitsu, which has identified six specific factors contributing to successful transformation projects.
Digital transformation, through the deployment of new technologies such as AI and IoT, has progressed from the strategic planning stage to the delivery of concrete business successes. However, the results are far from uniform. The establishment of new digital transformation-based business models and roll out to new businesses, as well as the state of progress and success, vary across industries, so it is imperative to accurately understand the needs and state of digital transformation in each sector.
To gain such an understanding, and to best support customers’ digital transformation journeys, Fujitsu conducted the second iteration of its Global Digital Transformation Survey to shed light on ever-more specific business results.
The report – which covers 1,535 C-level executives and decision-makers at enterprises of various sizes across different industries in 16 countries – uncovered a rather uneven digital landscape. Companies that operate exclusively online (42% of the survey) have almost universally embraced digital transformation while two-thirds of companies with more traditional operating models have transformation projects in progress.
Business drivers behind transformation initiatives also differ across industry sectors. Finance, manufacturing and healthcare are primarily motivated by the need to increase operational efficiency while transportation companies are driven mostly by responding to competitive threats and retail companies by a hunger for growth.
Outside of the online-only companies surveyed, the finance industry is the furthest advanced, with nine out of ten financial services companies planning, testing and/or implementing digital transformation. This sector is also the furthest advanced in terms of delivering outcomes.
Many companies have already attained the business results they expect from their digital transformation initiatives. In finance and retail, about 30% of projects have delivered successful outcomes, while in other sectors are: transportation (25%), manufacturing (21%) and healthcare (14%).
Success factors of digital transformation
According to the report, six factors seem to determine the success of outcomes from transformation projects: leadership, people, agility, business integration, ecosystem and value derived from data — capabilities that might be seen as a company’s digital muscles.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, online-only companies, which have many of the advantages of a digital set-up, demonstrate stronger digital muscles than traditional companies, the report says:
Without physical constraints to providing their goods and services, or decades of cultural and technological legacy, online companies are able to implement digital transformation more quickly and easily. In many cases, these businesses are typically more open to partnership opportunities and co-creation. Either way, traditional organizations can learn from online companies in their digital transformation.
The divide between the online only companies and traditional companies is most evident in the degree to which on-line only companies focus more on their ecosystem partners.
The report also gauged attitudes to AI, and found that business leaders understand that AI is set to have a significant impact on their industries, organizations and wider society. The bulk of respondents are positive about its future development, with 68% believing that the future will involve people and AI working collaboratively.
The Fujitsu Future Insights Global Digital Transformation Survey Report 2018 can be downloaded here.