Businesses Showing Dip In Digital IQ, Says PwC

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 10, 2017


Enterprise decision makers are realizing that ‘Digital’ is the way to go and in the last 5-7 years, a significant number of CEOs have embraced it. However, digital transformation is not as easy as we say it. The biggest reason is: Digital is accelerating too fast…. so fast that businesses are just not able to cope with the disruption and in turn are losing ground in Digital IQ. 

This is according to PwC’s 10th-anniversary edition of Global IQ Survey which shows that there continues to be an ongoing struggle with their transitions to a digital focus. According to PwC that defines digital IQ as “the measurement of an organization’s ability to harness and profit from technology,” states that in 2016 this number was 67%, but by 2017, and that number declines to 52%, And in the adoption of new technology, surveyed businesses said they’re spending about 18% of their budget on emerging tech, up just 1% from 10 years ago. So why is digital IQ declining? [Read the full study here]

Defining ‘Digital’ wrong

While companies are often adopting a number of digital technologies, many organizations present a still awkward, confused view of technology and digital business within organizations. Thirty-two percent defined digital as synonymous with IT; 29% defined it as “all technology innovation-related activities.”

According to PwC, organizations need to stop thinking about digital transformation as an IT project. Digital transformation is more than simply implementing new and innovative technology; it’s about identifying how the technology impacts the business – its customers, its employees, its partners – to drive outcomes that are successful for everyone. However, that seems to be the biggest challenge.

The study shows while the CEO gets it (68%), and the CIO is involved in the digital process, there are other areas of the organization that aren’t engaged collectively in order to pull it all together. In most organizations, even the CMO’s role with digital technologies in daily marketing and campaign activities is not clarified.

Unable to keep up with the pace

There is a stark contrast. While on one hand, companies say they have multi-year roadmaps combining business and IT processes, and are spending on new areas such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, nearly half the companies (49%) usethe already-existing tools when implementing of new technology. Nearly two-thirds of the companies outsource their digital efforts.

This indicates that while organizations understand the value of new technology adoption, but are taking the wrong approach to figure out how to move forward. PwC suggests that instead of relying on analysts, competitive analysis and vendors, organizations need to look at incubators and startups, university labs, open source and crowdsourcing as sources of knowledge and inspiration.

Organizations also need to create a dedicated team to explore emerging technologies keeping business needs top of mind, so there’s a real purpose to what the team is doing. 

Lack of human touch to technology

In the PwC study, 70% of CEOs say they focus on ways new technology affects the human experience. But like the study points out, no executive is responsible for the services and applications that support customer experience, and the goal of creating a better customer experience is down from 25% last year to 10% this year. But those that do focus on leveraging technology to improve customer experience have more mature digital strategies and are realizing better outcomes.

The study found, creating better human experiences is critical to raising Digital IQ, yet brands continue to get less attention than strategy and technology. This imbalance has far-reaching effects. It creates problems in the marketplace, slows the assimilation of emerging technologies, and hinders the development of organizations that can adapt continuously and anticipate exponential change.

The need of the hour is to keep up to speed of new technology to foster innovation and create better customer experience. That might mean hiring a team of tech evangelists and working closely with the board members bringing out the technology discussions for better business outcome. A change in mindset may help companies improve their Digital IQ in the coming days.