In a changing business landscape, digital leaders are shifting their focuses to customer service and innovation, making them more successful than those who aren’t.

A survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Ernst & Young LLP, showed changing trends in the digital world. According to the report, 65% of digital leaders are focusing on innovation, compared to only 35% for digital laggards.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

The survey also revealed the financial differences between leaders and laggards. Only 4% of leaders focused on cost saving as opposed to 44% of laggards who viewed it as a priority. Some 84% of digital leaders were reported to appoint an executive authority and have a separate budget focused on innovation.

Digital leaders place an emphasis on customer satisfaction at a slightly higher rate than laggards– 48% vs. 35%. Both ranked customer satisfaction as a top-three priority, and both groups reported that they were focusing on improving efficiency and productivity while embracing new ways of working.

What makes leaders stand out in their customer-centric approaches is their ability to equip employees with the tools they need, facilitate collaboration, and balance internal and external talent, according to the report.

The survey showed that digital leaders are aware of how to maintain a customer-centric approach that focuses on innovation and increasing revenue, rather than cost cutting. The report also noted that by focusing on accountability, coordination and metrics, 83% of leaders were able to create a defined, repeatable, and scalable innovation process.

“The research confirms that why companies seek digital transformation and how companies

achieve it are equally important,” Kevin Koenig, EY Americas advisory data and analytics leader for insurance said. “While having access to information is important, if companies

do not arm their workforce with the right tools and insights to enable employees to make

impactful decisions, they will be at a huge competitive disadvantage.”

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Tech leaders stand out from digital laggards by placing an increased focus and financial emphasis on innovation.
  • Both teach leaders and laggards view a customer-centric approach as a top priority for their company.