Empowered consumers are pushing Australian organisations towards digital transformation, according to a new report by Forbes Insights.

The report “How to Win at Digital Transformation: Insights from a Global Survey of Top Executives” found 58 per cent of Australian respondents identified changing customer expectations as the biggest external driver of digital transformation, compared with the 35 per cent global average.

Global peers are more likely to name the need to develop new business models as the top driver of digital transformation (41 per cent), followed by new technologies (40 per cent).

Drivers for digital transformation globally
Drivers for digital transformation globally.

The study, sponsored by Hitachi Data Systems, is based on responses from 573 C-level executives from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

One quarter of Australian businesses identify it as a top strategic priority to become more customer focused, versus 16 per cent global average, and almost half of Australian executives see customer engagement, acquisition and retention as a major organisational goal (46 per cent Australia versus 27 per cent global average).

“The research reveals a number of interesting market nuances. Australia and New Zealand are often considered a testbed for new technologies and ideas, and I’m not surprised to see local businesses aiming for leadership position on CX,” said Nathan McGregor, vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems, Australia and New Zealand.

Pace of transformation

According to the research 49 per cent of respondents expect to undergo vast digital transformation in the next two years. 61 per cent of those self-identified as already being leaders in digital transformation. This figure suggests that although organisations view themselves as leaders in digitising parts of their organisation, they acknowledge enterprise-wide transformation is an ongoing process.

“Digital transformation won’t stop now,” McGregor said. “We are making vast changes in the way we do our business but it’s not a project. It’s not something you set certain deliverables that you tick off and then you’re finished.”

The next two years may reinforce the current division between companies in terms of digital maturity rather than bringing those lagging behind up to speed, the report said.

“Digital transformation is now essential for corporate survival,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media. “And it’s more about people and culture—about change management—along with investing in the technology.”

The strategic emphasis on digital transformation is reinforced by executives’ focus on investment. Investing in new technologies to enable digitisation is the top investment priority over the next two years (51 per cent), along with increasing data and analytics capabilities (51 per cent).

Forbes Digital transformation study

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