86% of global CEOs face challenges in implementing digital strategy

86 per cent of CEOs encounter challenges in implementing digital strategy as per global survey conducted by BT and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with 400 CEOs in 13 countries across five continents.

The CEOs identified inflexible technology (43 per cent), lack of technology skills (40 per cent) and security concerns (39 per cent) as the main obstacles in building better digital infrastructure. CEOs highlight better integration, reliability, security and cost effectiveness as being the most critical factors needed to deliver the infrastructure which will build the digital business of the future.

Customer service — and specifically the digital customer experience — is seen by the survey respondents as highly important, with 79 per cent of CEOs saying they already offer a “good” or “excellent” digital customer experience today. However, barriers remain in the form of insight into what customers actually want and the technology skills required to deliver this.

When it comes to achieving their digital ambitions, more than a quarter of CEOs regard security as a key differentiator. Despite this, 22 per cent of CEOs view cybersecurity measures as a ‘necessary evil’. The findings suggest that, while CEOs feel perceived security risks should not hold back their digital transformation progress, they nevertheless continue to view security as one of the chief barriers and concerns when considering a digital strategy.

The research shows that nearly 40 per cent of CEOs currently have digital transformation at the very top of their boardroom agenda, with almost a quarter of them personally leading their company’s transformation programmes.

There is a high level of confidence — amongst three quarters of CEOs surveyed — that their specific programmes will help them achieve their strategic objectives, which include making operational efficiencies, improving customer service and innovating for the future, with security as a key differentiator.

The research also revealed that CEOs regard the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, mobile computing and social media as the technology trends which are likely to have the most significant impact on their organisations over the next two to three years.

Bas Burger, CEO, Global Services, BT said, “Our most recent research confirms that digital transformation has become a prevalent topic on the boardroom agenda. It also shows that CEOs all around the world identify the skills shortages, lack of insight into what customers and employees really want or need, and security as the main obstacles to delivering an optimal digital experience.”


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