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Are you heading towards a digital transformation? A new study from Capgemini and MIT Sloan Management Review shows that the opportunity offered by new digital technologies is clear. Making it happen, however, is a little fuzzy.

The study, “Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative,” included over 1,500 executives in 106 countries and found that digital technologies like social media, mobile, analytics, among others can bring about radical business change. The challenge as we all know putting it into action.

What is Digital Transformation?

What does ‘Digital Transformation’ mean? According the report digital transformation is defined as the use of new digital technologies (social media, mobile, analytics or embedded devices) to enable major business improvements (such as enhancing customer experience, streamlining operations or creating new business models).

It’s no secret that companies continue to struggle to gain transformational effects from new digital technologies, but since no one is immune to digital tech’s widespread influence, this report aims to highlight perspectives from frontline corporate employees.

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Not surprisingly, a majority of those surveyed (78%) are confident that digital transformation will be critical to their organization within the next two years. Yet, most companies lack experience with emerging digital technologies, despite the fact that 81% said their organizations were already trying to achieve digital transformation. 

Do you Believe in Digital Transformation?

There is good news, though. For organizations who indicated that digital transformation is a permanent fixture on the executive agenda and a core strategic consideration, 81% of respondents believe their companies will be somewhat or much more competitive in two years.

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Once companies start to invest in digital technologies and learn how to manage it effectively, there are great benefits. The report cites gains in one or more of three areas: better customer experiences and engagement, streamlined operations, and new lines of business or business models.

Barriers to Digital Transformation

The report makes it clear that isn’t just one way to transform business through digital technology. It depends on how companies regard technology and define their goals. However, it does highlight nine specific hurdles in the broad areas of leadership, institutional obstacles and execution that companies need to overcome to achieve digital transformation.

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It’s rather easy to get discouraged, but the point isn’t to bum everyone out. Rather, it’s to identify the issues that have been proven to stand in the way of innovation. We know that digital and social technologies can advance the way a company works and can be integral to improve customer engagement, but without the right leadership, it’s almost certain that the digital transformation will get stuck.

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