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In our “2016 State of IT Report” we surveyed more than 2,200 CIOs worldwide, and the results were very clear: the race is on for organisations to digitally transform. The majority – 68% – say their organisations will ramp up spend on both cloud migration and mobile app development in the next two years. 

Why transform? First, moving to the cloud lets a company tear down the information silos associated with legacy IT.  It also frees them from the burden of managing on-premise technology, meaning more resources can go towards innovation versus just keeping the lights on.  Second, the ability to easily develop and deploy apps, for both customers and internal staff, represents an opportunity to improve every business function and customer interaction. 

In addition, the report found that CIOs are incredibly keen to ensure their own tech talent is prepared to lead the digital journey: 98% of high-performing companies say that training and development of tech staff has become a business priority. It’s also interesting to note that 60% of those surveyed say their companies also have a Chief Digital Officer to lead the charge - a role that only started to crop up a few years ago. 

Why are we seeing these companies prioritise digital transformation now?

In the mobile age, customers’ expectations are now sky high - they expect to receive personalised 1-to-1 experiences whenever they want, via the channel or device of their choosing. Suddenly, the size or heritage of a company matters less than how quickly it can adapt, innovate and blaze its own path.

As a result, using technology to improve all facets of a business has become a big priority for companies looking to effectively compete. What’s more, the findings from the report show that fast-moving companies are already seeing the benefits of digital transformation and undoubtedly their competitors are already feeling the heat; high performing companies are: 

  • Almost four times (x3.7) more likely to indicate they stay ahead of tech trends
  • Almost twice as likely (x1.8) to say they are increasing their spending on customer-facing apps
  • More than four times (x4.8) more likely to say they now digitally engage with customers

These kinds of results cannot be ignored.

Granted, digital transformation is never easy, especially for companies rooted in tradition and with their own set cultures. But that should not stop an organisation from starting this digital journey today. 

Digital transformation in action - Aston Martin

One great example of an established, and iconic, brand that made the choice to modernise and forge its own path, is Aston Martin. Aston Martin has always been loved by its customers for offering sophisticated, customised cars designed to delight the owner in every way.

Using modern technology, the company saw the opportunity to begin engaging with its customers and fans in a way that truly reflected the brand, with rich, personalised experiences at every touch point – whether online, on the phone or in the showroom.  

The journey to digitisation

It’s also important to note that committing to a digital transformation cannot happen in a bubble, and requires support from the top down. It requires a shared commitment across an organisation to make innovation part of the core culture. Keeping customers happy today is not the same thing as making sure they will be happy tomorrow. Organisations must continuously find new ways to surpass expectations.  

Yes, this is a real challenge. However, I do think we’re seeing a perfect storm – rising customer expectations, the emergence of fast-growing disruptors, and established companies already reaping the benefits of digitalisation – that makes now the time to act.  And while modernising for legacy brands cannot happen overnight, it’s a journey any organisation can successfully make as it maintains a laser-focus on its customers. 

For more digital transformation insights and full access to the research, download your complimentary copy of the 2016 State of IT report.