Where are enterprises really in their path to digital transformation? To evaluate this, Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights 2017/18 program, a primary study published this month of more than 6,300 enterprises globally asked senior ICT executives to rate how far their organization has progressed across a series of business and IT initiatives to support the digital transformation agenda. This included a range of digital programs at the business level, from managing cyber-security and digital risk, to creating new digital products and services, digitizing processes, creating a supporting organizational structure, and driving digital culture. It also included the level of maturity in the deployment of digital-enabling technologies, such as agile/DevOps, containers, microservices, data lakes, machine learning, IoT, APIs, and platform-driven architecture.
Some interesting findings revealed that at the top level, the overall progression of enterprises across digital transformation agenda compared to where they saw themselves last year is limited. In fact, across many areas, the proportion of enterprises considering themselves "well advanced" or "complete" actually declined when compared to the end of 2016. This is driven by two factors. First, digital transformation requirements are becoming moving targets as new technologies such as artificial intelligence enable new digital capabilities. Second, the scope of what is considered digital transformation in the enterprise has also expanded, and the progress that has been made has revealed the work still to be done.
That said, in terms of progress, the area of highest maturity in digital transformation is in enterprises taking a proactive approach to cyber-security and digital risk. While only a fraction (8%) of respondents considered themselves "complete" here, most evaluated themselves in the "in progress" or "well advanced" categories, and unsurprisingly, given recent highly publicized security breaches, this area had the lowest number of enterprises in the "not relevant" and "not started" categories.
Interestingly, outside of security, the more mature areas of digital transformation tend to revolve around employees rather than processes, products, or customers. About 30% of enterprises consider themselves "well advanced" or "complete" in having a digital workplace strategy for staff and in their ability to recruit and train staff for digital skills. In contrast, the maturity of enterprises in digitalizing business processes, creating new digital products or services, or adopting omni-channel customer engagement strategies is notably lower.
To some degree, this makes sense because digital processes and technology are of limited value if an enterprise’s workforce is not equipped or willing to use them. However, the converse is also true, and enterprises need a coordinated and balanced approach to digital transformation. Worryingly here, about half of the enterprises have not started or are at the early stages in the development of a clearly articulated digital strategy (or don’t even see it as relevant), suggesting that most are still taking a tactical approach.
In terms of digital-enabling technologies, the most advanced areas tend to be in the adoption of agile/DevOps tools, big data platforms, and API-driven architectures. However, some newer tech areas, such as artificial intelligence and containers, are gaining traction, with over 50% of enterprises having explicit plans to use or trial these technologies. Adoption of blockchain and enterprise IoT technologies is generally less established overall, although deployment maturity has significant industry variation depending on its relevance.
Provided by Dan Mayo
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