In a survey of 450 digital transformation leaders, a sizable 73% of respondents said that, through digital innovation, they have made significant or better improvements to the end-user experience. Twenty-two percent report much more significant results than that, they self-reported as having transformed or completely revolutionized end-user experience. That’s considerably higher than the 15% in the same survey in the previous year.
These results, from the Couchbase 2019 Digital Transformation Report conducted within the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, are in stark contrast to results of a recent Kony survey which found, despite $5 trillion having been spent by enterprises on digital transformation, the vast majority of digital transformation initiatives fall short of customer expectations. Still, when it comes to digital transformation success, at least as far as its impact on customer experience, success is in the eye of the beholder.
Of the $5 trillion spent over recent years, much of it has been invested in backend system improvements. If the Couchbase survey is any indication, there remains considerably more spending on back end and legacy systems. Despite the feeling of success cited in the survey, 86% of respondents said they are prevented from pursuing new digital services or transformation projects.
- That 86% said factors including reliance on a legacy technology, complexity of implementing technologies and lack of resources and skills had prevented them from pursuing a new digital service or other transformation project their organization wanted.
- A total of 55% said their reliance on relational databases somewhat limited their ability to implement digital transformation projects, while 17% said “severely.”
- An 81% have had a digital transformation project fail, suffer a significant delay or be scaled back in the last 12 months.
- A total of 42% said they were behind schedule, or at risk of falling behind, on their most significant digital transformation project.
- A 73% said, while the huge potential of digital projects is often talked about, most of the time they fall short of being truly transformational or revolutionary–albeit a fall compared to the previous two years.
Perhaps part of the challenge enterprises face is they are reacting to market pressure and not being led by business needs or visions for the business’s future created inhouse. According to the Couchbase survey, 52% have their digital transformation strategies set by IT and not business leadership. The drivers for these transformations tend to be, the survey found, reacting to business pressure such as customer demands for new services or responding to regulatory mandates. Surprisingly, the survey found, only 8% of transformative ideas executed are brainstormed from within the organization.
Perhaps part of the reason why organizations are so reactive is because the rate of disruption is accelerating. According to the survey, 91% of respondents believe the speed of disruption in their industry has accelerated. In fact, 40% of respondents categorized that acceleration as rapid. Moreover, survey respondents plan on spending more on digital disruption this year over last, $30 million compared to $27 million.