Forbes report finds companies failing to unlock the potential of their own data  

According to a new report by Forbes Insights in association with Hitachi Data Systems, titled “How to Win at Digital Transformation: Insights from a Global Survey of Top Executives”, changing customer expectations are the biggest external driver of digital transformation (DX) in Australia, cited by 58 per cent of respondents compared with the 35 per cent global average.

In contrast, Australia’s global peers are more likely to name the need to develop new business models as the top driver of DX (41 per cent), followed by new technologies (40 per cent).

The Australian focus on customer experience (CX) is also evident in other parts of the report. One quarter (25 per cent) identify it as a top strategic priority to become more customer focused (vs. 16 per cent global average), and almost half of Australian executives see customer engagement, acquisition and retention as a major organisational goal (46 per cent Australia vs. 27 per cent global average).

Globally, only a third of companies consider themselves leaders in CX, suggesting that the potential of data and analytics to help with this process has been under-utilised.

“At the centre of digital transformation is data. By failing to unlock the potential of their own data, organisations are struggling to cater to rapidly evolving customer expectations,” said Nathan McGregor, vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems, Australia and New Zealand.

“The research reveals a number of interesting market nuances. Australia and New Zealand are often considered a testbed for new technologies and ideas, and I’m not surprised to see local businesses aiming for leadership position on CX.”

While the research suggests that half of the executives surveyed around the world believe the next two years will be critical for their organisations in order to make the transition to digital transformation, there are issues companies still grapple with and must resolve:

• Untapped potential of data and analytics. While less than half of companies globally (44 per cent) see themselves as advanced or leaders in data and analytics, a vast majority (91 per cent) have already seen revenue increases due to the use of data and analytics.

• An enterprise-wide approach to DX needs to be adopted.

Currently, cross-functional teams are not involved enough in developing (40 per cent) or implementing (35 per cent) strategy, with the bulk of this work done by IT (50 per cent and 54 per cent respectively).

IT is the function considered the most prepared for digital transformation (53 per cent), while other functions lag with just over a third of survey respondents deeming them ready.

• Companies must learn how best to marry technology with human resources. Technology cuts both ways. It is seen as the biggest challenge (29 per cent) and the top contributor to a successful digital transformation (56 per cent).

People are on top of the list when it comes to how to deal with challenges of DX.

New hires come first (57 per cent), followed by internal training (54 per cent).

For technology to contribute, people (defined as talent and capabilities), need to be viewed as contributors to success.

“Digital transformation is now essential for corporate survival,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media.

“And it’s more about people and culture—about change management—along with investing in the technology.”