Adapting to increasingly digital market environments and taking advantage of digital technologies to improve operations and drive new customer value are important goals for nearly every contemporary business. The good news is that many companies are beginning to make the necessary changes to adapt their organization to a digital environment.
Based on a global survey of more than 4,300 managers, executives, and analysts and 17 interviews with executives and thought leaders, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s1 fourth annual study of digital business shows that the digital business environment is fundamentally different from the traditional one. Digitally maturing companies recognize the differences and are evolving how they learn and lead in order to adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing market. This year’s research provides some important insights into how companies are adapting to a digital business environment:
- Organizations are beginning to make progress digitally. For the first time in four years, we’ve seen an uptick in how survey respondents evaluate their company’s digital maturity. Many established companies are beginning to take digital disruption more seriously and respond. If companies were waiting for competitors to act before responding, this shift suggests the time to act is now.
- Developing — not just having — digital leaders sets digitally maturing companies apart. Simply having the right digital leaders is not the most important indicator of digital maturity ― more than 50% of digitally maturing companies still report needing new leaders. Yet, these maturing companies were far more likely to report taking steps to develop the right leaders. The most digitally mature organizations are more than four times more likely to be developing needed digital leaders than the least digitally mature ones. Key traits of effective digital leadership are about enabling the organization: providing vision and purpose, creating conditions to experiment, empowering people to think differently, and getting people to collaborate across boundaries.
- Digitally maturing companies push decision-making further down into the organization. At the same time, there appears to be a disconnect between the C-suite and middle managers regarding this.