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96 per cent of business leaders don't fully understand their company's digital strategy

Despite the pressure modern organisations face to embrace new technologies and adopt digital processes, only 4 per cent of business leaders completely understand their company's digital business strategy.

That's one of the main findings from a new Forrester report looking at 'business and technology leadership in a post-digital era,' commissioned by Huawei and launched last week at Huawei Connect 2016 in Shanghai.

The report centres around the well-established theme that modern companies are having to rapidly adapt in order to survive, threatened by tech-native competitors and more demanding customer expectations. All businesses are now required to be digital businesses, with cloud services forming "the backbone" of all industries.

Of the 212 business and IT leaders surveyed, 25 per cent said that their company has a digital business strategy in place to help transform the organisation. This is compared to those businesses that have a strategy in place that adds digital elements to the existing business model (48 per cent), businesses that are currently developing a strategy to add digital elements (25 per cent) and businesses with no strategy and no plans to develop one (2 per cent).

Improving operational excellence and business agility was ranked as the top priority for future business success amongst IT and business managers - cited by 25 per cent of respondents - followed by designing new digital customer experiences (20 per cent) and driving new digital revenue (17 per cent).

The problem many companies are facing is that they are not designed for the digital era. For example, having a single view of each customer remains elusive for many businesses, with data frequently being spread across different business units. And there are other barriers that are holding back digital transformation, such as organisational inertia across departments (27 per cent of respondents) and competing departments each wanting to "own digital" (26 per cent).

In terms of specific challenges, applying new security protocols came out on top, cited by 21 per cent of respondents. This was followed by keeping up with network bandwidth demands and moving business apps to a public/private/hybrid cloud (both 20 per cent).

To overcome these challenges, Forrester recommends designing digital experiences into every product and service, using technology as a catalyst for growth and becoming customer-obsessed throughout the business. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens