ifsThere are probably numerous businesses around the world that see themselves as still just getting over becoming completely computerized. No matter the system in your business, whether you are still hand-writing receipts for your customers and drowning in a constant sea of paper on your desk or already completely paperless, wireless, and everything streamlined—more changes are ahead as we become immersed in the digital age—and that’s going to mean a lot of work for consultants as so many business owners seem to have big question marks looming over their heads regarding the topic.

In a recent Digital Transformation Survey by IFS Research, it would appear that around the globe, the majority of businesses are aware they will need to undergo a digital transformation, but some are still in the dark as to how to plan for such a thing. And some (perhaps hopefully) just think it’s a buzzword that might fade off into the distance eventually, forgotten.

UntitledThe 500 businesses participating in the survey spanned industries from industrial manufacturing to oil and gas—to retail. Interviewing senior decision makers in over 20 countries, 86% see a need for digital transformation, with 40% lacking strategy.  76% report that they would like more information on the subject.

In terms of whose laps such a massive undertaking might fall into, a surprisingly low number see this as part of the job description of the higher-ups such as the CEO (39%) or the CFO (35%) and many did not see it as having anything to do with the CTO (30%) or CMO (6%), as that’s not considered to be in their sphere of influence. IFS found that 53% of CEOs surveyed find themselves to be directly responsible for such a process, along with CFOs (59%) and CIOs (63%).

“This survey shows that senior leaders of large industries have realized the potential that digital transformation offers, but in many cases haven’t got a strategy in place to leverage it yet,” said Mark Boulton, CMO at IFS. “It appears there is also a great uncertainty regarding who is actually responsible for driving the digital transformation agenda within companies. Companies must clarify their goals and outline clear strategies in order to utilize the full potential of digital transformation.”

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And it doesn’t look like these ideas will come together worldwide any time soon as respondents from country to country have very different ideas about who is going to oversee the digital transformation; for instance, in Asia, 29% reported that they had no idea at all who would handle the process. Others responded as follows:

  • In Poland, 57% see the CIO in charge of digital transformation, while only 41% think it is the CEO.
  • In the US, the CFO is thought to be at the helm for this project (42%), while only 30% think it is the CEO. (Notably, this is the lowest CEO score out of all the regions.)
  • In Brazil, 47% expect the CTO to handle digital transformation, marking the highest number expected for CTOs out of all the regions.
  • Scandinavian respondents foresee the CIO as responsible for digital transformation (45%), followed by the CEO (38%).

As for the technology we’re even discussing here, that was left up to those surveyed to fill in the blanks on. And the internet of things came up at the very top of the list. With so many companies in the dark about so much, one would wonder if they have a full grasp on what the IoT really encompasses, but that was rated from 1 to 100 as a 59, with cloud computing tied. Here are the results:

  • Internet of Things: 59
  • Cloud computing: 59
  • Cognitive computing: 55
  • Machine learning: 53
  • Wearable technology: 48
  • 3D printing: 42
  • Drone technology: 39

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So while nearly all businesses see digital transformation as their eventual reality, the path for getting there is vague for many, as well as what the technology entails. Most likely, their knowledge will be increasing on this one, as the survey caused them to think; and two, as customer demands drive them in the required direction.

Not just in charge of taking surveys around the world, IFS is known as a leader for research and development and delivery of enterprise software for:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Enterprise asset management (EAM)
  • Enterprise service management (ESM)

They work to help customers target markets as well as preparing for the future of their industries. Founded in 1983, IFS employees more than 2,800 employees and supports one million users globally through their offices and partners. Find out more about them here. And go here to download the survey infographic. Discuss further in the IFS Digital Transformation Survey forum over at 3DPB.com.

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