The pace of digital transformation may be slowing, but there's still a lot of work ahead

While the past two years was a mad rush to digital, a majority of executives admit key business processes still take weeks and months.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Digital transformation efforts -- which moved at a frenetic pace over the past two years -- are showing signs of slowing. Corporate cultures can only absorb so much change all at once. Plus, legacy technology and data integration are two sore spots that are putting the brakes on things. These factors can hold back digital transformation efforts by weeks and even months. 

Photo: Joe McKendrick

These observations come out of a recent survey of 1,150 executives across all disciplines from Workday, finds 58% of business leaders say that digital transformation has already slowed, or see it slowing -- from the pace of 2020.  That's not necessarily surprising, since the 2020-21 period meant digitize or die for many organizations, and many five-year digitization plans got crunched into five days. 

The recent rush to digital has left many issues unresolved, however -- or exposed some issues. Namely, everyone wants to be digitally transformed, but 55% say their digital strategies, as they stand, can't keep up with their businesses. 

There are many factors at play. For instance, while companies have been leaning heavily on IT managers and professionals to deliver data-fueled transformation, many are constrained by legacy systems and data silos. Only 42% of IT respondents in the survey are confident in their teams' ability to adopt cloud technologies without legacy constraints. Further, half of IT leaders (50%) are struggling to keep pace with service upgrades as part of legacy technology. Close to six in ten, 59%, say it can take weeks or months to change an automated business process. 

Here are IT and business leaders' priorities over the coming year:

  • Security and compliance (52%)
  • Unifying technology (45%)
  • Data integration (42%)
  • Data usability (37%) 
  • Skills and talent (33%)
  • Technology for efficiency (32%)

The survey also involved finance and HR executives. For finance executives, data is the seen as the key to digital success. Sixty-one percent really want technology that unifies financial, people, and operational data. More than half (51%) feel that the most important technology approach at this time is to integrate data between disparate systems and break down internal data silos.  At the same time, 64% admit that it takes weeks -- or more -- to get results at the end of a reporting period.

The digital rush may have eased for now -- but there is still plenty of work ahead.

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