Digital transformation is all the rage among executives nowadays, but new data suggests that few organizations are currently up to the task of modernizing their business processes and workflows.
Forrester Consulting recently polled 158 IT professionals (director level and above) in the U.S. and the U.K. to get a sense of how their digital transformation initiatives were progressing. The study (registration required), sponsored by Alfresco, a San Mateo, Calif.-based enterprise content and business process management software company, reveals that CIOs and other business leaders are struggling to get their content to come along for the ride.
Although 70 percent of respondents consider digital transformation a top priority, only 14 percent said their collective content is currently available electronically. On the bright side, businesses appear ready to pick up the pace. Half of all organizations said they expect to digitize virtually all of their content over the next two years.
Inefficiency is another major problem. Employees often struggle to incorporate data from disparate sources into their workflows and processes, the study also found.
Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed reported that their end users frequently have to reference external content to get work done. Among the biggest challenges are scattered content (49 percent) and content that lacks contextual information (47 percent).
Thomas DeMeo, vice president of product management at Alfresco, noted that "employees can lose momentum and efficiency when jumping back and forth between scattered applications and files, creating an environment ripe for error," in a statement. "We believe the next challenge for IT leaders will be to integrate a wide range of content across different businesses and systems – to provide context for making better business decisions and, ultimately, to better win, serve and retain customers."
At least most IT experts realize the value of freeing their data from restrictive and productivity-draining silos within their organizations. A large majority (81 percent) said that integrating data and content across their business systems was "extremely important."
Although there are several technological hurdles enterprises need to clear in their digital transformation journey, a recent report from MIT Sloan Management Review indicates that organizations may also want to focus on their managerial workforces' soft skills.
Of the 3,700 executives, managers and analysts surveyed by MIT Sloan and Deloitte for the report, only 18 percent listed technological skills as the most important attribute for business leaders to succeed. Collaborative skills (22 percent), possessing a transformative vision (22 percent) and a forward-thinking mindset (20 percent) all ranked higher.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.