iTnews conducted a survey into the state of digital transformation in Australia which registered 178 responses across multiple industries and organisational sizes. Nearly a quarter of all respondents were from outside IT – a relatively high figure for an iTnews survey.
This visual representation of the survey results provides a snapshot of digital transformation progress to date, challenges and objectives being set.
Digital transformation has been on the agenda of many organisations for a number of years, yet the majority still have a long way to go to fulfill their digital transformation objectives, according to the survey results. Only 9% of iTnews readers responding to the survey said their organisation had finished or were close to finishing their transformation. Thirty-five percent said they had just started their transformation or were planning one soon, and 39% said they had “achieved a fair bit but have some way to go” - that’s not necessarily due to a lack of maturity in the market. It could be indicative of the nature of digital transformation – that it’s an ongoing process rather than a one-off project.
When asked whether they were open to, or planning to, continue transformation after their current project, 62% of respondents said yes, because they saw “digital transformation as ongoing”. Only 10% said they would not consider continuing their digital transformation.
The biggest challenges in digital transformation projects appear to be technology-related. This could be due to the majority of respondents identifying as working within IT, however, consistent with other industry research on digital transformation, the survey recorded 45% of respondents selecting integration with existing systems as a major issue and 29% migrating to new systems. Indeed, 43% indicated that just choosing the right technology was a big challenge, as was finding the right partner (23%).
However, as with any transformation, human-related issues also figure prominently, with change management (26%), lack of internal skills (26%) and getting management approval for projects (17%) also considered big challenges. Lack of resources or time, cyber security, and internal culture and politics were other challenges specifically cited by respondents.
Interestingly, in this survey the main drivers of digital transformation are internally focused. The majority of respondents (67%) indicated the main benefit of current or previous transformation projects was to improve operations through digital processes. Other benefits were to create a standardised, agile digital platform for the organisation (44%), bridge silos between business units (33%), and bridge silos between data channels (30%). However, respondents also identified significant customer-focused benefits: to improve the customer experience through omnichannel (35%) and gain a better understanding of customers (33%).
This diversity of benefits was confirmed when respondents later commented that digital transformation had “met the demand of customer digital adoption”, “unified processes and brought the workforce together”, “created a vastly better customer experience” and “made information available anytime, anywhere”.
These anecdotes reveal the variety of results organisations encounter when they commit to a digital transformation project. Organisation size, industry, company age and culture will all play a part in what areas a business chooses to transform first and how they will proceed.