Digital disruption ‘to transform organisations within five years’

A global study of nearly 1,200 business leaders commissioned by Fujitsu finds that 52% agree that digital disruption means their organisations will not exist in their current forms by 2021.

While almost all (98%) said their organisation has already been impacted and will continue to be impacted by digital disruption, 92% recognised that their business needs to evolve to thrive in a digital world and 75% believe their sector will fundamentally change in the next five years.

The research, carried out in September by independent company Censuswide, canvassed opinion from 1180 C-Suite decision makers in nine countries within mid to large sized businesses across public sector, financial services, retail and manufacturing. Over 200 participants came from the US, around 150 from each of Europe’s five biggest economies and Australia, with 30 from both Finland and Sweden.

When assessing what drives their response to the challenge of digital disruption, 45% pointed to the C-Suite or leadership team. Looking externally, most business leaders identified customers (45%) ahead of competitors (31%) as the most influential group driving their organisation’s response to digital disruption.

Asked who is leading digital disruption in their sectors, only 12% of executives pointed to themselves, while 45% pointed to start-ups and organisations from outside their sectors.

Despite business leaders anticipating dramatic change over the coming years, 72% believe digitalisation presents exciting opportunities for them and 80% regard it as a positive force.

Such potential benefits are driving a hunger to capitalise quickly; 71% of executives state that organisations need to innovate faster in order to stay relevant, with Finland (97%) the strongest believers in this and executives in Spain (36%) the least certain that innovating faster is what’s needed to stay relevant in a digitalised world.

“Digital disruption transforms business models and revenue streams, operations and processes, customer relationships and service and more. It is exactly this potential that is causing concern,” said Duncan Tait, senior executive vice president (SEVP) and head of Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) and Americas region at Fujitsu.

“The fact that despite the potential benefits, a third of executives wish they weren’t experiencing digital disruption is stark reading. Compared to two years ago, and indeed just last year when we analysed IT decision makers’ approach to and opinions of digital transformation, business leaders are now more confident and know they need to not only keep up but strive to better their competitors and digitalise faster, with confidence, strategy and ultimately, great success. The pressure to flourish in the face of digitalisation is clear in this study’s findings.”

Exploring what is needed to ensure they thrive in a digital world, 72% of business leaders recognize the need to collaborate more strategically with organizations that can help shape their response to digital disruption. Seventy-three per cent believe that technology lies at the heart of an organisation’s ability to succeed in a digital world, while 67% say their organisation needs to collaborate with third-party technology experts.

“The ability to pool knowledge, ideas and resources with a partner which understands what it takes to flourish in a digital world is a vital capability which business leaders know will help them through this transitional, and therefore challenging, time,” said Tait.

“If all digital stakeholders work together to navigate through this disruption, businesses will not be overrun by digital; they will forge ahead, innovating and prospering to reap all the benefits the digital age offers.”


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