Digital Transformation: Gap Between CEO Expectations And IT Readiness

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 09, 2017


At a time when CEOs and executive boards are calling for a rapid transformation to digital business models, a worldwide study released by Commvault and Quadrant Strategies has uncovered an alarming gap between the expectations of management and the readiness of IT organizations.

 The study, “Measuring IT’s Readiness for Digital Business,” a survey of 1,200 IT executives and IT personnel in six global business markets released recently at Commvault GO 2017, reveals that while many executives recognize the need to be able to lead their companies through digital transformation, IT personnel actually feel they lack the skillset, technology and bandwidth to create the data-centric foundation required for that digital change and future innovation.

As both public and private organizations shift to become modern digital businesses, a fundamental change is occurring in the IT market, a move from an infrastructure-centric to a strategic data-centric approach. Further accelerating this is the move to multi-cloud environments, to better prevent and recover from cyberattacks, comply with new data privacy regulations, and to use analytics to generate improved business insights.

The findings of the study further demonstrate that with this shift a more holistic approach to data management and a data-driven strategy to drive innovation and competitive differentiation is also taking place. Key findings of the survey include:

The Importance of Data – More than 50 percent of respondents say “better data collection and management” and “new tools to analyze increasingly sophisticated data” as essential to the future success of their business.

Lack of Access to Data – More than 60 percent of respondents, including IT executives and IT personnel, think they have access to less than half of their organizations’ data.
Perception Gap – While 41 percent of executives believe their organizations understand and are prepared for innovation (already a surprisingly low number) only 29 percent of IT personnel believe the same. Further, over a third of IT personnel think executives would feel concerned, anxious or panicked if they knew more about their IT department, while another 16 percent said they’d be unhappy, angry or disgusted.
Lack of Bandwidth – Most IT executives prioritize day-to-day operations over innovation – and IT personnel follow their lead.
Lack of Skillsets – More than 50 percent of IT personnel believe their roles will change radically and they will need to acquire new skills to stay relevant.
Lack of Technology – More than two-thirds of respondents believe their organizations are not prepared for migrating data to the cloud, protecting that data, or bringing together all data in the company. Lack of Commitment to Putting Vision into Practice – More than 40 percent of companies don’t yet have a formal, proactive plan for digital transformation.

“The study reveals nearly universal agreement on the importance of effectively managing data in order to innovate and accomplish the remarkable things required for creating a digital business and improving customer experience,” said N. Robert Hammer, chairman, president and CEO of Commvault. “Meanwhile, every day we see evidence of leading-edge companies and progressive CIOs moving quickly to develop very sophisticated data management capabilities, providing the tools, time and training their teams need to be successful.”

Digital transformation is no longer a choice. Organizations must transform or die. For example, studies have shown that companies utilizing data-driven insights to make strategic decisions have improved their productivity by up to 33 percent. Meanwhile, progressive companies, such as Schneider Electric and Great-West Financial, that have transformed their business models are future-proofing their organizations and reshaping their industries. The common theme among these companies is progressive CEOs and CIOs who recognized that a digital transformation vision was not enough. Instead, they enabled their IT organizations – through new skillsets and tools – to create a data-centric foundation that supported more cost-effective current operations while providing deeper business insights and the agility to support radical new ideas and new applications for doing business with customers.

“This survey was a statistically powerful look at how IT executives and personnel think about digital transformation and the challenges IT departments will face over the coming years. The findings were remarkably consistent across the globe, reinforcing the idea that digital transformation knows no borders,” said Afshin Mohamadi, Partner at Quadrant Strategies. “The warning signs are very clear: while IT departments are meant to spearhead digital business, they aren’t equipped to do so. IT personnel have significant doubts about their abilities to be the agents of change. The lack of skillset, technology, and bandwidth will lead directly to major competitive challenges.”

Another study by  HCL Technologies (HCL) as part of its global CXO survey too highlights a wide gap between strategy and execution with organizations’ digital transformation initiatives. The survey found that while the majority 70% of organizations surveyed have a formalized digital transformation strategy in place, just a fraction 10% have thought through all aspects up to full deployment planning. It is therefore no surprise that just a quarter of participating organizations have been able to reap the benefits of digital transformation.

“Enterprises are moving away from sporadic strategy and POCs to more comprehensive digital execution. One of the biggest findings of this survey was the gap between the strategy and execution as well as measurable outcomes,” said Anand Birje, CVP and Head – Digital and Analytics practice, HCL Technologies. 


The research goes on to highlight some of the factors that demonstrate the growing gap between digital transformation strategy and execution, with a staggering 89% claiming that a lack of visibility into existing processes is hampering digital projects.


The effective use of digital is possible with a combination of digital seed technologies, visibility into systems and process, and real-time data insight. The companies that use these elements will be ahead in realizing the innovative processes these technologies can deliver, believe experts.