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66% of Business Leaders Say Complexity of Mission Critical Systems Is Preventing Business Transformation

According to a survey from global research and thought leadership organisation, Leading Edge Forum (LEF) and DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC), companies have overdue homework to complete, if digital transformation is to succeed. The study, “Connecting Digital Islands: Bridging the Business Transformation Gap,” explores where global businesses are in their transformations, and what benefits, challenges and opportunities the next decade may bring. While 79% of respondents say that they’re leveraging technology to become market leaders, Two-thirds (66%) say their mission-critical systems are so complex they are wary of changing them. A further 62% responded that they lack a common set of tools and platforms across the organization resulting in a collection of “digital islands”: units working with the right technologies but independently of each other.

The survey also found that over half of the respondents (52%) believe staff are not sufficiently using analytics to make decisions based on data insights, despite 79% claiming they are effectively using technology to grow, compete, and drive market leadership. This means insights are being missed, given 77% say the collection and use of data is built into how they compete and operate.

While enterprises have been focused on data- and technology-driven transformation for some time, survey respondents say they must get the “people and culture” aspects right for effective, long-term change in the 2020s. Significantly, 65% of the business leaders surveyed reported that employee reluctance to change work habits is a barrier to technology-enabled organizational change, while only 14% rank improving employee engagement and empowerment as their top internal priority.
More notably, 70% say more effective leadership is needed across the organization.

In the survey respondents also prioritised the emerging technologies they believe will most positively impact their organisations:

● High-speed 5G networks (60%);
● Artificial intelligence and machine learning (59%);
● Sensors and the Internet of Things (55%);
● Robots and robotic process automation (54%);
● Virtual and augmented reality (53%);
● Voice interfaces such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assist (52%);

Commenting on the research findings, Richard Davies, VP, Strategic Advisory, DXC Technology and MD at LEF, said:

“This is a strong reminder that getting the right combination of people, culture and technology is essential for making effective, long-term change. Employees will also need to embrace technology-infused work cultures more strongly, and leaders must have the same priority. To close the gap, companies have to a lot of work to do — work that should have happened some time ago. This ranges from building effective leadership and internetworked teams, to modernizing IT and moving up the stack for data-driven insights, to establishing an ecosystem of partners and suppliers and instilling a culture of collaboration, learning and agility.”

The full report concludes by offering enterprises a five-step plan to help create the conditions for change if they want the 2020s to be the decade in which the cultural, technological and market barriers finally come down:

1. Develop 21st century executives, leaders and employees
2. Review team performance and make sure skills and experience circulate
3. Build a modern technical foundation, and especially a modern data foundation
4. Embrace a strategic set of ecosystem partners and suppliers
5. Plan to change course often and in mid-flight