A question for business and digital leaders, are you finding it hard to deliver digital transformation?

If yes, then new research confirms that you are not alone. It turns out that digital transformation is proving a painful process for the vast majority of enterprises worldwide.

Despite expressing a willingness to go digital and understanding the benefits of doing so, nearly nine in ten organizations (87%) are facing significant challenges in making it happen, according to our latest global research ‘The Agility Trap.’

The pressure to keep up with the sheer pace of digital change doesn’t help. Even those enterprises that haven’t yet started on the road to digital transformation are preparing to put their foot on the accelerator. It is widely agreed that businesses failing to act, or act fast enough, will be displaced by more innovative competitors.

We found that while only one in three companies worldwide (32%) currently have a high level of live transformation projects on the go, more than half (52%) claim they are working on a ‘moderate’ level of live transformation projects. A view on this from the Digital Transformation Maze Infographic:

Digital Transformation Journey

In addition, 41% of respondents have significant plans to develop digital projects in the future. US and Canada are leading the charge, with 52% of businesses in these markets currently implementing digital transformation plans. Following the leaders are Brazil (39%), the UK (31%), Mexico (27%), Germany (26%), the Nordics (24%) and Colombia (20%), with the combined markets of Benelux bringing up the rear on 18%.

What exactly is holding businesses back?

Our research tells us that companies all over the world are working hard to keep up with their industry peers, but the majority find major obstacles along the way. The challenges are widespread, with 89% of businesses experiencing at least one of the most common issues during the transformation process (below).

The most widely reported are businesses being hindered by systems that are too complex to manage or change (53%), or that the process takes too long to implement (51%).

Chart of the most common challenges in digital transformation

In addition to these challenges, three quarters of businesses (73%) agreed that digital transformation needs to happen fast in order to avoid commercial failure. So these barriers listed here represent huge risks to the future of the business. This is really crucial because the technological environment affected by transformation impacts on so many areas of the business, defining an organization’s ability to profitably compete.

Adopting a mind-set for digital transformation

Despite these common pains of transformation, its necessity is doubted by no-one. Our world really is changing as businesses, industries and even cities reinvent the way they work. This new way of working requires a whole new digital mind-set.

Here’s a great example… Guadalajara, the Silicon Valley of Mexico, has a range of digital initiatives on the go as part of its ‘Ciudad Creativa Digital’ (Creative Digital City) project. This smart city serves as a hub for the creative industries, such as film and television, television, video games, CGI, interactive media, mobile apps, software development and special effects for films.

Plan for Ciudad Creativa Digital

At CCD’s technological core is a datacenter that automatically coordinates public services. It is the control panel of the city’s Urban Operating System and analyses data collected from sensors and devices installed in water, power and transport and telecoms infrastructure to optimize and predict real-time actions, needs and activity. As it evolves it will support creative and technological industries, as well as entrepreneurs – producing a globally connected hub of digital media creation.

Large organizations should take inspiration from projects like this, and build their own digital hub capabilities within their business. This, combined with creating a cultural mind-set of innovation, will enable businesses to build out digital processes that are stronger than the resistance to change and the most common barriers to success.

Get your free copy of the full global executive study ‘The Agility Trap’ report for more insights into the pace of digital transformation in your part of the world.

Research Report Digital Transformation