Digital business transformation efforts have accelerated among organizations, as 93% said they have adopted or have plans to adopt, a digital-first business strategy, according to Foundry's 2023 Digital Business Study.
This number has increased slightly from 91% the last time Foundry ran the survey in 2021. This number increases to 99% for those in the financial services industry and to 95% for companies with more than 1,000 employees.
When asked what their top objectives are for their organization's digital business strategy, IT leaders ranked wanting to improve employee productivity/collaboration as their top objective (51%). This is up from the eighth-ranked objective when the survey ran in 2019 and up 7 percentage points from 2021 (44%).
Following right behind, the second digital objective is to reduce costs/inefficiencies with 50% selecting this objective, which made a big jump from only 38% selecting it in 2021, perhaps speaking to the current economic climate.
Creating better customer experiences, so that they can keep up with expectations, is ranked as the third most important objective at 45%. When ITDMs were asked if customer experiences have become a priority for their organization over the past 12 months, 67% agreed with the statement — this number increases to 71% for companies with more than 1,000 employees. Enabling business agility/resiliency (41%) and improving security (40%) are also top objectives for IT decision-makers this year.
When it comes to achieving these objectives, ITDMs say that they are further along with some of them than they expected — improving security being their #1. Just under 40% of those surveyed believe that security is the most important step for success in digital transformation. This is not surprising as cybersecurity risks have heightened in the past year, particularly with increased global tensions. When ITDMs were asked about the progress they've made on their data security strategies, 93% said they were either planning one (23%), had one in development (41%) or have completed a data security strategy at their organization (29%) .
Exploring AI and Other Emerging Technologies to Assist with Digital Strategies
In order to get their digital transformation underway, and meet these objectives, organizations are looking to several new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML.) These tools, as seen with the new generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, have the potential to automate everything from business processes to written content creation. This year's survey found that generative AI is among the top five emerging technologies that IT decision-makers are investing in this year, along with AI engineering, cloud-native platforms, cybersecurity mesh, and decision intelligence.
"According to IDC Research, the worldwide economic impact of generative AI across all lines of business functions, by the end of 2033 will be close to $10 trillion," says Ritu Jyoti, Group VP, AI and Automation Market Research and Advisory at IDC. "The impact will encompass increased revenue, lowered expenses, and improved productivity."
Nearly a third of IT leaders surveyed (32%) have AI and machine learning on their radar or are actively researching them, while 20% are in the piloting stage, and 16% already use these tools. Augmented and virtual reality, 5G, bots and edge computing are also among the top five technologies that organizations are actively researching to further their digital-first strategies.
Methodology: Foundry's 2023 Digital Business Study was conducted among the audiences of Foundry brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World) representing IT decision-makers within organizations that have plans to adopt/or have already launched a digital-first approach. The survey was fielded online with the objective to gain a better understanding of where organizations are in their digital journey. Results in this release are based on 898 IT decision-makers (ITDMs) in North America (60%), APAC (22%), and EMEA (17%) across multiple industries. Foundry defines "digital-first" as approaching any new opportunity, or problem, with the assumption that the solution should be as digital as possible.