2016 study challenges the concept of “digital”

this study by INSEAD (topped the Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings 2016) and this fluid world is challenging some of the common assumptions and beliefs about the positioning of “digital”. the study approaches the issue of digital from a fresh direction: the real perceptions and experiences of managers on the ground and “in the coalface” of business. the results, as well as 21 insights and recommendations for the 21st century, are highlighted in the report ‘The Real Impact of Digital – As Seen from The “Virtual Coalface”’

the research

the quantitative and qualitative research was carried out amongst 1160 managers, executives and board members representing a wide range of organisations, industries, functions and regions. this unique look into the workplace, C- Suite and boardroom reveals interesting insights into how digital is actually perceived, how it is being put to use, and how companies expect to engage with digital in the future

surprising insights

the insights from the study often fly in the face of accepted ideas about the positioning and use of “digital”. among the startling findings the report reveals that in practice:

  • “digital” does not have a universal meaning: the research identifies 20 key categories of engagement in digital with multiple subcategories of varied levels of complexity
  • there is no “one-size-fits-all” or right way to do digital: digital creates the opportunity for true customisation of a company’s offering, business model and processes
  • companies are not driven by the desire to “go digital”: the focus is on using digital to achieve specific business objectives. therefore, digital initiatives are rarely seen as separate projects with their own specific KPIs
  • digital is a journey with no clear destination in sight: companies appear to be threading along their own digital pathway through their respective challenges in pursuit of distinct opportunities
  • not all companies need a dedicated digital strategy: as long as the absence of a digital strategy is not due to neglect or lack of understanding of the impact of digital
  • digital success is primarily about people not technology: success is perceived as being rooted in leadership and management, yet a significant proportion of respondents feel this gets insufficient attention
striking results

some of the striking figures revealed in the report include:

  • 23% of respondents cited “improve engagement with customers” as the main reason for engaging in digital initiatives
  • only 14% of respondents indicated that their company is engaged in “business model transformation” or “digital transformation”
  • only 1% of board members stated “digital transformation” as their organisation’s main digital undertaking
  • only 12% of respondents cited “having the right technology in place” as a critical success factor for digital initiatives
  • 65% of companies have not put most of their people through digital training
  • 43% of companies are not developing the required managerial capabilities to support the transition to digital
  • 30% of organisations surveyed have no digital strategy

with its unique perspective on the real and current impact of digital on today’s organisations, this study is a must-read for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the topic, and/or who is involved in strategic decision making regarding digital

click here to view the complete report The Real Impact of Digital – As Seen from The “Virtual Coalface”, or download it here

the authors

Liri Andersson, Founder, this fluid world

Liri Andersson is the founder of this fluid world, a boutique business and marketing consultancy that enables Fortune 500 organisations understand, navigate and commercially exploit the changing business and marketing environment

Ludo Van der Heyden, Chaired Professor of Corporate Governance & Professor of Technology and Operations Management and Director, Corporate Governance Initiative, INSEAD

Ludo Van der Heyden is the founding Director of INSEAD’s Corporate Governance Initiative. He is co-Director of the International Directors Programme and ‘Value Creation for Owners and Directors’ and lectures on leadership, team dynamics and business model innovation

for more reports by the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative, click here