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Why there's a major lack of digital transformation globally

Despite the relentless pace of disruption, the latest Dell Technologies Digital Transformation (DT) Index shows many businesses’ digital transformation programs are still in their infancy. This is evidenced by the 78 per cent of business leaders who admit digital transformation should be more widespread throughout their organisation (Australia: 80%). 

More than half of businesses (51%) believe they’ll struggle to meet changing customer demands within five years (Australia: 30%) and almost one in three (30%) still worry their organisation will be left behind (Australia: 18%). 

Dell Technologies, in collaboration with Intel and Vanson Bourne, surveyed 4,600 business leaders (director to C-suite) from mid- to large-sized companies across the globe to score their organisations’ transformation efforts.

The study revealed that emerging markets are the most digitally mature, with India, Brazil and Thailand topping the global ranking. In contrast, developed markets are slipping behind: Japan, Denmark and France received the lowest digital maturity scores. 

Australia came 5th place in APJC in front of Japan, Singapore and South Korea. What’s more, emerging markets are more confident in their ability to ‘disrupt rather than be disrupted (53%) compared to just 40 per cent in developed nations.

The DT Index II builds on the first ever DT Index, launched in 2016. The two-year comparison highlights that progress has been slow, with organisations struggling to keep up with the blistering pace of change.

While the percentage of Digital Adopters has increased, there’s been no progress at the top. Almost four in 10 (39%) businesses are still spread across the two least digitally mature groups on the benchmark (Digital Laggards and Digital Followers).

Almost half (49%) believe their organisation will struggle to prove it’s trustworthy within the next five years (Australia: 19%). Nearly a third (32%) don’t trust their own organisation to comply with regulations (such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation) (Australia: 21%). One in three doesn’t trust their own organisation to protect employee or customer data (Australia: 32%).

Leaders have however reported common priorities and investments to aid future transformation, including an increased focus on workforce, security and IT. Forty-six per cent are developing in-house digital skills and talent, by teaching all employees how to code for instance, up from 27 per cent in 2016 (Australia: 43% in 2018 and 23.7% in 2016).

Dell EMC A/NZ MD Mark Fioretto says, “Australian businesses have a positive outlook for the next five years. We are confident we will meet customer demands, remain competitive with our peers, and believe our employees have the right skill sets to drive success.

“Yet 80% of business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout their organisations, signalling that more work still needs to be done. From the research, we can also see that emerging markets in APJC are quickly becoming digitally mature.’

“Businesses in Australia must continue to share knowledge across businesses and industries as we support each other in the digital transformation journey to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve.” 

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