Joanna Grimbley-Smith
3rd November 2020 · 23 min read

The future is digital.

The way we work, the way we spend our monthly wage, and the way we communicate with friends and family are now rooted in the latest technologies.

How we do business is different, too.

From the colossal impact of Covid-19 to the forecasted future of digital business strategy, digital transformation is officially under the spotlight. For those seeking the what’s, the why’s, and the how’s on your business’ digital transformation, you can get your facts straight here.

I’ve collected 101 of the most up-to-date facts and figures on digital transformation and separated them into key themes to help you navigate the numbers.

The success rate for digital transformations

The impact of digital transformation on businesses

The challenges faced during digitalisation

The best business practices for digital transformation

The role of the customer in digitalisation

The emerging technologies utilised during the process

The impact of Covid-19 on digital transformation

Who leads a digital transformation in a business

Sector-specific statistics

The forecast for the future of digital transformation

Chapter 1
An Overview Of Digital Transformation

A digital transformation (DT) is the adoption of technologies that change how a business operates and delivers value to its customers. This ongoing process influences the entire business, from the directors to the junior employees.

But before we plunge into the specific stats for the different themes surrounding DT, let’s start with the fundamental facts about it.

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76% of executives believe that the stakes for innovation have never been higher (2020, Accenture)

Over half of executives claim rapid advances in technology are going to disrupt their industry (2020, Accenture)

77% of executives rate their digital transformation as ‘very important’ when considering their overall business strategy (2019, Help Net Security)

The best performing digitised businesses can earn up to 80% of the digital revenues that are generated in their industries (2019, McKinsey)

‘Expectation-beating performance’ was 1.5 times more likely when a digital transformation was considered a business’ top priority (2020, McKinsey)

two employees using a whiteboard to give a presentation
Digital transformation is here to stay.

MGI estimated US$13 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2030 as a result of digitalisation (2018, MGI)

MGI predicts that the diffusion of automation and AI technology across the world may take until 2045 (2018, MGI)

Technological advances have changed how we engage with our customers. Their wants and needs have evolved. And your competitors have picked up on this, already.

Total global reported investments of digital reinvention came to more than $100 billion between 2016 and 2018 (2019, Harvard Business Review)

In 2018, just over a fifth of companies claimed they’d already completed their digital transformation (2018, Forrester)

Chapter 2
Digital Transformation Success - And Failure

Digital transformations don’t really ‘end’ for businesses.

But determining whether it is meeting the aims set out by business leaders and executives or has fallen short or its ambitions is a vital part of ascertaining whether the strategy so far is working.

How have businesses fared, then?

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90% of companies undergoing a digital transformation faced significant obstacles (2019, Help Net Security)

Over two thirds of executives agree only the businesses that have digitally transformed will survive over the next five years (2019, Help Net Security)

16% of executives claim their company’s digital transformations are succeeding (May 2020, McKinsey)

70% of digital transformations fail (2019, Forbes)

In 2019, 14% of business executives claimed their digital transformation efforts had made performance improvements and sustained them (2019, McKinsey)

Over a quarter of business executives consider digital transformation to be a ‘matter of survival’ (Capgemini)

30% of digital transformations met or exceeded their target value and led to sustainable change (2020, BCG)

40% of companies have overcome obstacles to their digital transformation to create a business technology strategy that is ‘truly integrated’ (2020, BCG)

Chapter 3
The Impact Of Digital Transformation

Digital transformations don’t just involve downloading the latest software or uploading the newest content for your digital marketing. The impacts go much further - and much deeper - than can be seen at first glance.

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58% of organisations claim the greatest benefit of switching to cloud-based IT and software solutions is that it ‘allows for more flexible/agile business’ (2020, Skift)

7 in 10 business leaders say they are ‘quite’ or ‘somewhat confident’ their organisation has the talent to deliver on their digital transformation objectives (2020, Skift)

89% of organisations agree that their digital transformation has helped their business deliver value to society (2020, Fujitsu)

Nearly half of business leaders thought that digital transformations had a positive impact on businesses (2020, Fujitsu)

32% of business leaders thought that digital transformation had influenced both newly-created and existing businesses (2020, Fujitsu)

customer in a grocery store with a face mask on
From success stories to startups, digitalisation leaves no stone unturned.

It’s the volatility of your customers’ wants and needs that has forced businesses to evolve in-step with them.

38% of business leaders believe that the value delivered through digital transformations was providing greater safety for people (2020, Fujitsu)

Digitalisation could create up to 6 million jobs between 2016 and 2025 worldwide (World Economic Forum)

Two fifths of executives believed that the greatest benefit of a digital transformation was higher operational efficiency (April 2019, PTC)

60% of executives that have implemented a digital transformation claim that as a result they have created new business models (April 2019, PTC)

Due to disruption, just over half of the companies in the Fortune 500 have gone bankrupt, been acquired, or shut down since 2000 (2017, Harvard Business Review)

Chapter 4
Challenges To Digital Transformation

Running a business is by no means plain sailing - the obstacles standing in the way of an organisation’s digital transformation only confirm this.

So, what are the obstacles in the way of a business’ latest technology-driven strategy?

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83% believe that their business’ technical debt is severely limiting their ability to innovate (2020, Accenture)

Over a third of executives cite the ‘build versus buy’ decision as the top challenge to their digital transformation, and 32% of executives claim the cost of upgrading legacy systems is an additional obstacles (2019, Help Net Security)

53% of companies are dissatisfied with their analytics capabilities (2020, sitecore.com)

53% of executives claimed that a business’ inability to experiment quickly was a key barrier to the success of their digitalisation projects (2017, Harvard Business Review)

Nearly half of business executives and employees claimed ‘inadequate collaboration’ was a challenge on their business’ journey to a digital transformation (2017, Harvard Business Review)

In 2018, over 50% of executives didn’t believe that their organisation had the necessary expertise and staff to use digital effectively (2018, Center for Creative Leadership)

Over a third of employees consider their CEO as the most frequent obstacle to the success of their digital transformation (2020, Veritis)

Chapter 5
Digital Transformation Best Practices

Putting in place a digital transformation is typically encumbered with a number of challenges. There’s the technicalities of a strategy, there’s the difficulties of selecting the right digital technologies, and then there’s the challenge of ensuring it all runs smoothly.

But there are some businesses with practices in place that can streamline a digital transformation from tip to tail.

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Companies with a higher digital maturity reported on average 45% net revenue growth and 43% net profit margin growth (2020, Deloitte)

Higher digital maturity companies were up to 3 times more likely than companies with less maturity to report benefits including higher efficiency, revenue growth, improved customer satisfaction, and greater employee engagement from every ‘digital pivot’ (2020, Deloitte)

Just over a half of business leaders claim they keep pace with their competition in the digital world, and one fifth of business leaders claim they are behind the competition in the digital world (2020, Skift)

16% of organisations don’t have an individual or a team that is responsible for their digital transformation (2020, Skift)

people on a video chat on a laptop
Who's behind your digital transformation?

85% of executives agree that organisations need to elevate their engagement or relationship with their customers in order to compete in a post-digital world (2020, Accenture)

In 2018, over two thirds of executives agreed that pilot programmes were the most effective method of ensuring a successful digital transformation (2018, Center for Creative Leadership)

60% of executives believe that connected technology and IoT solutions are key to a business’ digital strategy (2020, Veritis)

55% of startups have adopted a digital business strategy (2018, IDG)

Chapter 6
The Role Of The Customer

The aim to find new outlets for engaging the customer has driven many digital transformations - and it will continue to do so in the future. By how essential is the consumer in digital transformations?

You be the judge.

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58% of high digital maturity companies offer digitally-connected products compared to 17% from low maturity companies (2020, Deloitte)

Nearly two thirds of businesses put providing ‘consistent high-quality customer experiences’ as their top business priority for 2020 (2020, Skift)

One in three businesses successfully mine and analyse customer data for decision-making (2020, Skift)

90% of business leaders claim delivering value to their customers is important (2020, Fujitsu)

52% of consumers say technology plays a prominent role in their daily lives (2020, Accenture)

Over three quarters of executives agree that businesses need to bring both technology and people together more (2020, Accenture)

66% of consumers are concerned about the commercial use of their data and personalisation as a result of security threats and hackers (2020, Accenture)

17% of consumers believed personalised ads were ethical (2019, RSA Security’s Data Privacy & Security Survey)

Less than two thirds of US consumers say they like using chatbots in order to engage with businesses (2020, Accenture)

84% of executives say their customers are already demanding digital products and services (2019, Help Net Security)

Just over a quarter of worldwide sales were made through digital channels in 2018 (2018, McKinsey)

Chapter 7
Emerging Technologies

Digital transformations are driven by technology.

(Obviously.)

But what technologies are accelerating the rate of digital change across sectors? Which solutions are a must-have for businesses in this day-and-age?

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Organisations that used artificial intelligence in financial reporting noted improvements in productivity of 33% and a reduction in errors of 37% (2020, Deloitte)

Business leaders are prioritising cybersecurity investment for the next year with over two thirds of high digital maturity businesses claiming it is high priority (May 2020, Deloitte)

43% of businesses are set to focus the most on Digital Analytics in their digital strategy over the course of the next year (2020, Skift)

67% of consumers agree it is important for companies to automatically customise their content (2020, Accenture)

Over 70% of organisations are piloting or adopting AI in one of more business units (2020, Accenture)

61% of executives expect that their organisations will use robotics in uncontrolled environments within the following 2 years (2020, Accenture)

employees looking at a robot as it does a process
Is your next hire going to be human?

Over a quarter of executives believe that robots will widen the inequalities in society (2020, Accenture)

98% agree the delivery of digital services and apps is vital to a successful company (TechRepublic, 2019)

6 in 10 executives believe IoT technology is important in their digital business strategy (2019, PTC)

More than 80% of companies are investing in their omnichannel experience (2020, Veritis)

Chapter 8
The Impact Of Covid-19

It’s no surprise to say that the Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the business world. No industry is safe from its influence, whether it leaves deep scars in the travel and hospital sectors or spurs on high-tech.

And the numbers confirm this.

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3 in 10 of marketing leaders claim their lack of flexibility and agility may be hurting their business as they try to respond to Covid-19 (2020, Skift)

57% of business leaders believe Covid-19 will have a significant impact in the short term on their digital transformation (2020, Skift)

43% of business leaders of travel organisations agree proceeding with digital transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘much more important’ (2020, Skift)

Less than two thirds of executives are prioritising increasing their operational efficiency as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (2020, Statista)

70% of executives (from a European survey) claim the pandemic is likely to accelerate their transformation (2020, McKinsey)

Workplaces have been 60-70% vacant for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic so far (2020, Deloitte)

99% of businesses agree that digital technologies will open up a future of remote work (iot-now.com)

77% of UK executives believe Covid-19 increased their budget for transformation, and 36% said it increased it ‘dramatically’ (iot-now.com)

95% of companies around the world are seeking new ways of engaging customers as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic (iot-now.com)

Chapter 9
Leadership And Employee Digital Culture

We already know that digital transformation is vital for the survival of your business in the future, let alone its success. Question is, who leads the strategy? And which parties ensure it takes place and takes place correctly?

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69% of high digital maturity companies used digital technologies to reduce carbon emissions compared to 53% of lower maturity companies (2020, Deloitte)

On average, businesses spent US$11.3 million on DT over the past year (2020, Deloitte)

Nearly half of organisations that had not undertaken a digital transformation saw it as their management priority (2020, Fujitsu)

23% of organisations are prepping their workforce for the introduction of collaborative, interactive, and explainable AI-based systems (2020, Accenture)

84% of executives had plans to upskill their workforce by 2020 (2020, Accenture)

45% of executives believe that their employees will be challenged when trying to work with robots (2020, Accenture)

Over four fifths of executives say that platforms are the differentiators for digital transformation success (2019, Help Net Security)

employees in a warehouse
Digital transformations do not discriminate between executives and employees.

46% of financial services executives claim cultural or behavioural change is the biggest challenge that they face in their digital transformation strategy (2017, McKinsey)

Over 90% of executives claim that obtaining board approval for investment in digital reinvention was a challenge (October 2019, Harvard Business Review)

Chapter 10
Statistics By Sector

Although digital transformations are taking place in businesses across all industries around the world, some are experiencing unique benefits, obstacles, and results.

And here’s how it’s affecting the major sectors.

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Nearly four fifths of executives believe that their industry is moving towards offering greater variety in ownership models for connected products and services (2020, Accenture)

57% of global consumers want more restaurants to offer delivery services (2020, Accenture)

23% of manufacturers have an enterprise-wide strategy for their digital transformation (2020, Jabil)

Almost a half of financial services industry firms agree that they are well prepared for any digital disruption (Deloitte)

When applied successfully, digitalisation has resulted in 10-30% improvements in cost for companies in the energy sector (2020, McKinsey)

95% of executives in the energy sector believe that their digital transformation is a strategic priority (2020, Economic Times India)

In 2019, over a third of UK retailers saw the lack of digital skills among internal employees as a major challenge for their digital transformation (2019, Statista)

81% of executives in the aerospace and defense sector agree that the integration of both customisation and real-time delivery is the next wave of competitive advantage (January 2020, Accenture)

Nearly 70% of public sector organisations believe that their digital capabilities are lagging behind businesses in the private sector (2020, Deloitte)

Chapter 11
The Digital Transformation Forecast

As Covid-19 throws the future of business into contention, determining how a digital transformation will take shape after a vaccine is found is no easy feat. Nevertheless, experts in a number of business and technology fields have sketched out your next steps in digitalisation.

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Business leaders have planned to increase their digital transformation initiatives by 15% across the span of the next year (2020, Deloitte)

In 2019, Global tech spending by government and business organisations was 4.5% in 2019, and it is set to grow by 3.8% in 2020 (2020, Deloitte)

A third of organisations have shifted some - but not all - of their operations to the cloud (2020, Skift)

85% agree that a digital transformation contributed to the building of an inclusive, sustainable, and trusted society (2020, Fujitsu)

By 2021, 85 million people in the US will use augmented reality (AR) at least once a month (eMarketer, 2020)

90% of businesses believe delivering highly personalised services is a top strategic priority (2020, Accenture)

Over 50% of business leaders are worried that it is too late to adapt to digital transformation (2020, Digital Marketing Institute)

employee coding on laptop and screens
She knows what's ahead - do you?
Chapter 12
The Takeaways

The figures have been calculated, the facts have been assessed. But what do they tell us about digital transformation? And what does these statistics mean for your business?

Artificial intelligence and automation are the leading technologies harnessed by businesses in their digital transformation. AI in particular takes a central role in digital analytics, a technology also cited in the statistics mentioned above.

Despite digital transformation clearly being an important part of business strategy, a minority of executives claim they have had successful digital transformations or have sustained consistent operational improvements.

Statistics aren’t necessary to point out the severe impact of Covid-19 on businesses. From a rise in flexible working to evidence of accelerated DT strategies, a majority of businesses have been influenced by the pandemic.

A number of benefits of digital transformation are often mentioned by business leaders, but operational changes are seen the most. New business models and increased efficiency are striking according to business executives.

A wide variety of challenges are clearly faced by a wide variety of businesses. More often than not the employees making up an organisation and their collaborative efforts (or lack thereof) were the biggest obstacles faced.

Engaging the customer has always been a core pillar supporting digital transformation - running the numbers only confirms it. Although a majority of executives and leaders are directing their efforts to providing new products and services oriented to a digital consumer, the same customers are expressing concerns about the unethical use of their data.

Conclusion

So, there we have it - the most up-to-date statistics on the most on-trend business strategy.

Digital transformation is on the cards for businesses across a vast array of sectors. And if you haven’t started yours yet, you will be sure to join the minority of businesses that fall behind their competitors.

This is where we come in.

To ensure your digital transformation overcomes obstacles and succeeds far into the future, you need the strategy and the solutions that are custom-fit to your business’ exact needs. And we can provide just that.

70% of digital transformations fail. Will yours?