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There is a growing international consensus among business and IT decision makers that digital transformation efforts are critical initiatives, and yet IT teams are not being given the necessary resources and budgets and – as a result – many are running as much as two quarters behind schedule, according to a report from automated customer experience platform provider Cyara. This article is copyright 2022 The Best Customer Guide.

There is also a significant gap in the perception of success of digital transformation initiatives between leaders and the front line, and a lack of consensus on who owns these initiatives.

The survey, conducted in July of 2021, polled 1,000 business and IT decision makers in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Among the top six findings:

  • There is consensus on the importance of digital transformation
    Nearly all companies recognize the importance of digital transformation for competitive advantage (98%) and for enhancing the customer experience (94%).
  • More resources and budgets are needed to be successful
    Only 7% of respondents say they have sufficient resources to meet implementation deadlines.
  • There is no clear standard on ownership of digital transformation and customer experience initiatives
    When asked who is driving digital transformation initiatives, 37% of respondents identified the CTO/CIO; 28% pointed to an IT leader; 23% said the CEO; and 10% specified other C-suite leadership members as the drivers. Similarly, when asked who owns the customer experience, 50% of respondents identified their Customer Service team as responsible for customer loyalty; 48% identified C-suite leadership; and 41% said responsibility for customer loyalty resides with Marketing/Sales. The lack of clear ownership leaves a concerning gap for customers and the business.
  • Regarding the success of digital transformation, the responses varied significantly
    The more senior, the more positive the respondents were around digital transformation success. Estimates on the success of digital transformation implementations drop off precipitously as seniority decreases – with 90% of business owners and 75% of managing directors vs. 38% of department heads and 35% at the manager level describing their digital transformation initiatives as “very successful.”
  • Across the board, digital transformation initiatives are seen to be significantly behind schedule
    On average, IT decision makers believe they are 4.71 months behind where they should be on digital transformation implementation, whereas business decision makers put that estimate at 5.34 months.
  • IT teams cannot be cut out of the equation
    When asked if business leaders consulted their IT teams on the decision-making process, only 43% said “yes, every time” – meaning more than half of IT teams are left in the dark. Furthermore, 99% of senior business respondents think the IT team has the budget and resources needed to keep up with the digital transformation initiatives, whereas only 78% of less senior business respondents agree. This suggests IT must be given a more prominent seat at the table to effectively advise business leaders.

Customer experience has long been a key differentiator that gives enterprises an advantage over the competition. The COVID-19 crisis raised the stakes further and stepped up the importance of digital transformation to stay resilient and responsive to customers. Taken together, the survey highlights pivotal areas ripe for more organizational alignment to accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

The survey findings show that, moving into 2022, companies must lean into digital transformation strategies that will allow them to automate what they can and better utilize their current staff. Success and ROI will be measured through better customer experience, more revenue and reduced digital risks in modern connected organizations.