Follow-up to 2017 survey shows enterprises are finding success with digital transformation, but challenges related to senior leadership and adapting to new ways of working are likely points of failure in the early stages


East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA and Bangalore, India – September 04, 2019: Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT, BSE: 507685, NSE: WIPRO), a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, today announced results of a new survey commissioned by Wipro Digital, the digital services and consulting unit of the company. For this survey, which was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, 1400 enterprise C-suite leaders around the world were polled, including 400 in the United States, about their company’s digital transformation programs and barriers to their success. The study found that digital transformations can seem overwhelming at first to organizations, with personnel issues as the biggest barriers. Organizations that properly manage people’s expectations, keep senior leaders aligned, and ensure they have the right partners working with them will see success.


Enterprises are improving on digital transformations in 2019

This survey is a follow-up to Wipro Digital’s 2017 survey, which highlighted a leadership crisis in digital transformation. The new study found that most digital transformation projects are not a waste of time according to all 400 U.S. enterprise CEOs surveyed, a major departure from 2017, when one in three felt they were. In addition, two years ago only half of companies surveyed were successfully executing their digital transformation strategies despite demonstrated efforts and investments. Wipro’s 2019 study shows 90 percent of executives feel their company is executing successfully in line with their digital transformation strategy.


Furthermore, 94 percent of those surveyed feel their companies were aligned on what ‘digital transformation’ means; compared to 2017, when 1 in 4 executives noted that a key obstacle to success was a lack of shared understanding about their definition of ‘digital transformation’. This disparity suggests that in the past two years, executives have agreed that digital transformation is a requirement for any business. The question for business executives is no longer if, why or when to undertake a digital transformation program, but how to successfully execute it.


Leadership and adapting to new ways of working can be early obstacles

When asked about their biggest barriers to a transformation’s success, 59 percent of respondents cited inconsistent sponsorship from senior leadership as one of their top five concerns; 56 percent selected not being able to train their existing teams to change or use new technology, methods or processes; and 54 percent indicated needing better alignment with business stakeholders.


The report found that the longer a company has been undergoing a transformation journey, the less likely it is to experience people-related issues as a barrier to success whereas technology may become a bigger barrier. Fourteen percent of executives with journeys less than two years cite technology as the biggest barrier, compared to 26 percent of executives whose journey has lasted two or more years.


“These results show that in the past two years, enterprise leaders have ensured that their organizations are capable of delivering ROI on their digital transformation efforts,” said Rajan Kohli, President – Wipro Digital. “Leaders must align stakeholders and help their business units adapt to and leverage new technology, methods or processes. They need to hold fast and keep their company Boards and C-suite informed and comfortable with disruption, new ways of working, and reorient their strategy as new insights and patterns are uncovered. This will help senior leadership consistently commit to the necessary sponsorship. The payoff will come. It’s not too late to start a digital transformation program, but the window of opportunity is closing.”


Additional findings

Wipro’s research further identified several interesting findings that provide a richer perspective on the state of digital transformations:

  • It’s never too late to start: 85 percent of respondents believe that companies who’ve started their digital transformation journeys later than others still have a chance to beat their competitors in the long run.
  • ROI takes about a year: Only 14 percent saw measurable business results of digital transformation in less than six months, 31 percent saw it within six to twelve months, and 54 percent said it was one to three years. Only one percent said it took longer than that.
  • Growth is the big motivator: When asked what the top drivers for digital transformation were, most respondents had goals tied to driving growth: accessing new markets, increasing revenue, increasing agility and speed to market as well as cost reduction.
  • Modest or moderate disruption dominates: Nearly three-quarters of executives describe their digital transformation disruption as only modest or moderate. Only one in five say they intend to be fundamentally new and disruptive in their program.
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