Two-thirds of organisations believe they are digital transformation 'masters'

09 February 2021 4 min. read

New research has found that around two thirds of organisations now have the leadership and digital capabilities to successful implement a digital transformation. This is double the rate from 2018, demonstrating how drastically digital disruption has accelerated in just two years.

Digitalisation has skyrocketed over the last year in particular. While the trend was already top of the agenda for many businesses, the lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic saw many organisations forced to further ramp up their changes in response to fundamental changes to consumer behaviour. Under lockdown and weary of infection, consumers have warmed to the idea of using ecommerce for everything, from grocery shopping to financial transactions.

Previously, one of the key obstacles to digital transformation was a lack of managerial buy-in – for example, prior to the pandemic, two-in-five IT decision-makers felt that more buy-in from leadership teams would have encouraged a sooner acceleration of projects. Following the sea-change of 2020, however, many businesses have surprised themselves with the speed and success of their digital initiatives in response to Covid-19. On average, digital offerings have leapfrogged seven years of progress in a matter of months.

Percentage of organizations believing they have the required capabilities

Further illustrating this, a new report from the Capgemini Research Institute has revealed just how rapidly the managerial mindset has shifted regarding digital transformation in the last two years. Building on a previous 2018 report on the same topic, the findings show that 60% of organisations have the digital capacity for successful transformations, while 62% have the right leadership capacity to oversee such implementations – up 36% on both fronts in just 24 months.

Claudia Crummenerl, Managing Director, People and Organisation at Capgemini Invent, commented, “The progress made in building the necessary digital and leadership capabilities in just two years is striking which led us to undertake this research. The continued rapid pace of technology innovation and business model disruption over the past two years – with Covid-19 forcing many companies to reinvent themselves – has possibly driven this advancement.”

While many firms have made rapid progress, however, firms which took earlier action to mature their digital capacities look to have used the last two years to expand their advantage over their competitors. Digital masters – organisations with a high level of mastery across digital and leadership capabilities – are widening the gap on a number of fronts. When examining the percentage point difference between digital masters and all other organizations in 2018 and 2020, Capgemini found the masters’ lead regarding learning infrastructure to upskill employees grew by 11%, while they are similarly stretching their lead in terms of incorporating both customer experience priorities and internal operations in transformations.

Digital masters are widening their gap in advancing their capabilities

If firms outside the current cadre of masters are to make ground, they will need to start emulating the market leaders by blending soft-skills with digital offerings. For example, while 63% of organisations now involve employees in digital initiatives – up from 36% in 2018 – the differentiator is that just 48% are investing in building soft skills such as emotional intelligence, adaptability, and collaboration – which are key to customer engagement, and will be essential for standing out from the digitally-savvy crowd. Similarly, while organisations must keep their eye on factors such as customer experience, operations and business technology, they also need to weigh up customer priorities beyond immediate consumption.

Emphasis on sustainability and purpose are important for customers and employees alike – with both increasingly concerned about environmental footprint and climate change impact and want to make a difference with their actions. While 78% of consumers agree that companies have a larger role to play in society beyond their self-interests, only 45% of organisations are accelerating sustainability investments, projects, and commitment – showing how empowering employees to blend their soft-skills with digital knowhow could make for a powerful offering.

Crummernerl added, “While organisations have progressed on a wide variety of measures across areas such as customer experience, operations, business and technology, many are still challenged to incorporate purpose and sustainability into their transformation strategies. By reinventing the employee experience and ways of working, embedding purpose into the operating model, truly becoming a data-powered enterprise, and scaling new business models beyond the pilot stage, organisations can attain digital maturity and demonstrate the resilience required to adapt to future uncertainties.”