The digital industrial revolution is accelerating, forever changing industries and the relationship between consumers and producers.

Beyond the hype, real changes in some companies are already paying dividends for progressive CEOs and digital-savvy executive teams.

That’s the conclusion from our latest joint research study between Forrester and Odgers Berndtson on digital transformation.

The research highlights the key differences between companies just beginning their digital journey and more advanced digital leaders. There are important conclusions about how you can shape your company’s digital future.

To highlight those differences between the more advanced companies and others following behind, Forrester created three levels of digital business maturity – beginner, intermediate and advanced.

The 3-level ascent of digital

The 3-level ascent of digital

Higher revenue growth ahead

Crucially, advanced companies report significantly higher revenue growth rates on average than their less mature counterparts.

Customer value, and therefore revenue, is intrinsically bound up with the digital experiences a firm creates alongside physical products and services.

Leading companies understand their future success lies in harnessing the power of digital to deliver new sources of customer value. For example, Schindler’s new ‘Port’ technology to optimize the flow of people in buildings or LG’s range of smart appliances connected to mobile phone.

Five key competencies

Five key competencies

Winning the talent war

90% of digital companies report having the right people to define their digital strategy. Versus only 19% of companies beginning their digital journey.

When it comes to the right people and skills to execute the strategy, just 7% of beginners say they have them. 91% of advanced companies say they do.

This stark contrast highlights the enormous lead advanced companies have in the war for digital talent.

Actively attracting talent

A firm’s ability to drive new revenue from digital investments is directly related to their ability to attract and retain the top talent.

To succeed, Forrester recommends you:

  1. Communicate a clear vision and strategy. Help employees understand how the company will be different as a digital business.
  2. Design the right organization and governance. Prioritise agility and customer outcomes over operational efficiency.
  3. Nurture an outside-in culture. Digital transformation demands a customer-obsessed culture that supports continuous innovation.
  4. Attract and retain top talent. Embed new digital skills, such as design thinking and journey mapping, into your organization.
  5. Invest in flexible and advanced technology architectures designed to continuously evolve. Learn to rapidly adapt the business to use emerging technology in the service of customers.

Mind-sets before skill-sets

According to Mark Braithwaite, Odgers Berndtson Managing Director Asia Pacific: “The challenge of finding the right talent has ramped up dramatically in the face of constant rapid change. Hiring for mindset is emerging as a key factor. The ability to adapt and change ranks ever more highly.

“My experience in Asia has been illuminating in this regard.

“Here, people are often familiar with an atmosphere of rapid change. That fits with digitally-astute companies looking to build cultures that, as Forrester points out, have “shared values and behaviors that reward experimentation”.

“There is less legacy, less tendency to see the problems of today through the lens of the past.

“Being bold, experimenting, not fearing failure, but learning from it, piloting small projects at speed – these are the familiar characteristics of innovation that are being pioneered in local markets and then ‘exported’ across these companies, globally.

“It’s the type of ‘let’s try it’ approach that demands a leadership style far from the traditional command-and-control model. Leaders who are humble, open and prepared to listen, as well as resourceful, nimble and bold. Once again, the mindset is more important than the skill-set.

“I hope you find this report illuminating, not just as a useful benchmark to the state of your company’s digital evolution, but a helpful guide to planning your next steps.”

Get advice on finding digital leaders to drive your digital journey and revenue growth in your sector or location by speaking to a consultant from Odgers Berndtson.

To read the full Forrester Digital Business Report 2018:

Register here

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