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New research examines businesses' handling of digital transformation

Although businesses are making the effort to build digital transformation plans, they are not following through by mapping the customer journey, claims new research.

Research and consulting firm Altimeter Group published The 2014 State of Digital Transformation to explore the ways in which digital customers differ from traditional counterparts.

The report claims that 88 per cent of participants said their organisation was undergoing a formal transformation effort, but only 25 per cent reported that the digital customer journey was mapped out from start to finish ensuring they are reached at every major touch point.

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According to Altimeter Group, this means new technologies such as social, mobile, big data and cloud are not identified or united around a common vision supported by integrated infrastructure within the company.

“We surveyed digital strategists from top global companies and brands and uncovered a surprisingly human story: digital transformation is a significant movement where daring business leaders venture into tomorrow’s markets today,” claimed Brian Solis, the report’s author and principal analyst at the Group.

“It isn’t an initiative owned by a particular role or department in the organisations, instead, it is a cross-enterprise realignment of resources to unify and enhance the digital customer experience at every touch point in order to be competitive in today’s era of connected markets,” he added.

The benefits and challenges of digital transformation

The research explored the challenges businesses encountered while adopting digital – 63 per cent of respondents cited company culture as a barrier, while 59 per cent said thinking beyond campaign mentality was an issue and 56 per cent believed resources and collaboration caused problems.

A further 53 per cent noted that they didn’t understand digital customer behaviour, which the report uses to support its claim that there is disconnect between transformation plans and mapping the customer journey.

When asked about the benefits of upgrading their technology, 75 per cent of organisations taking part in the study said that a lift in customer engagement was a factor.

Improved customer satisfaction was reported by 63 per cent of participants, while 53 per cent saw greater digital traffic and 49 per cent said their lead generation and sales had increased.

The report claims that thinking “digital first” is a key element in transformation – investment alone is not enough.

It adds the most important digital initiatives are improving processes, website updates, mobile and social platforms, ensuring e-commerce works for mobile, integration for a seamless customer experience and overhauling customer service.