Most senior leaders can't define digital transformation

Digital transformation is high on the list of 2019 priorities, but confusion remains around what it actually means, according to a CompleteSpectrum report.

3 key takeaways from Tech Pro Research's 2018 Digital Transformation Survey Bill Detwiler spoke with TechRepublic about the findings of the 2018 Digital Transformation Research Report produced by TechRepublic and ZDNet sibling site Tech Pro Research.

Despite increased attention and budget focused on digital transformation initiatives, most senior company leaders don't fully understand the concept, according to a recent report from CompleteSpectrum.

The report surveyed 300 senior leaders from private equity-backed companies with annual revenues between $15 million and $200 million to determine where they are in terms of digital transformation.

SEE: Special report: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Half of senior leaders (50%) described digital transformation as aligning your digital presence to better deliver your brand promise and brand experience, the report found. Almost a quarter (24%) said it involves coordinating a cohesive online strategy to better generate and capitalize on leads, while 14% referred to it as automating digital marketing through customer-facing technology.

Just 9% said digital transformation means more effectively measuring the ROI of digital channels, and 2% said it involves improving a website's aesthetic appeal, according to the report.

Despite varying definitions, 94% of senior leaders said digital transformation is high on their list of 2019 priorities, and 51% said they plan to move forward on digital initiatives in the next month, the report found.

Most company leaders expect to spend at least six figures on digital transformation projects: 70% have budgeted more than $100,000 to spend on such initiatives, while 31% have already spent $101,000-$250,000. Only 8% said they believe it will cost less than $50,000.

These executives are also accelerating digital transformation timelines to deliver value faster, the report found: 49% of C-level executives said they believe digital transformation initiatives are necessary before completing a merger or acquisition, and 82% said they believe these initiatives should take less than a year to complete.

While the C-suite typically spearheads conversations about digital transformation, companies must get buy-in from leaders at every leader of the organization, the report noted.

"All stakeholders should participate in a kickoff meeting that not only identifies project milestones, but also provides time for relevant parties to weigh in on key decisions," the report said. "Provide the opportunity for these leaders to leverage their industry expertise to provide strategic guidance and marketing solutions needed to get digital transformations up and running."

For more on digital transformation 7 ways to accelerate digital transformation success on TechRepublic.

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