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Nearly a quarter of board-level execs struggle to see value of tech

While many executives are on board with digital transformation, research shows some aren’t sure why organisations find digital technology important

There is a divide in UK businesses between those who believe in the benefits of digital and those who don’t, a report has found.

The report, Digital or die produced by Citrix, found that although Digital transformation remains a hot topic, more than a quarter of board-level executives don’t believe there is time to build digital methods into strategy.

“While almost one-third (32%) of UK board-level executives believe digital transformation is a significant opportunity for UK businesses in the next three to five years, almost a quarter (24%) don’t know why organisations are placing a greater emphasis on the technology,” said the report.

It added that 14% of businesses surveyed didn’t plan to adapt their current working practices in the slightest, to incorporate digital methods across the organisation. 

“Of those businesses, though, questions must be asked about how they feel they can achieve significant growth without the enabler of digital technology underpinning performance. While they may think they are playing it safe, in reality they are running a significant risk,” said the report.

It also found that only 35% of medium-to-large businesses in the UK had a single digital delivery plan, and only 4% said they had moved to a digital operating model.

Ola Henfridsson, professor of information systems and management at Warwick Business School, said that with four out of five Fortune 500 companies having digital platforms, “it is staggering that there is such division among UK business leaders when considering the opportunity digital technology represents”.

“Technology has the power to not only support the efficiency and leanness of a business, but it is also now becoming increasingly important to the creation of value and an improved customer experience,” said Henfridsson.

Digital versus IT

The report also revealed a divide between the functions of an IT strategy versus a digital one. Some 40% of those surveyed said there was no difference, and 44% thought a modern IT strategy made a digital one unnecessary. 

“It reveals a lack of understanding around the difference between ‘digital’ and ‘IT’,” said the report.

“Outstanding technology can, for example, hold back digital transformation by masking out-of-date working practices and a resistance to changing business models.”

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Jon Cook, sales director for UK and Ireland at Citrix, said the division at board level was worrying.

“Companies aiming to develop bold strategies and place an emphasis on long-term innovation, supported by every member of senior management, are far more likely to succeed in this digital era,” he said.

“It is a pivotal time for businesses, in which technology and driving digital is key.”

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