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From Digital Transition to Digital Transformation

From Digital Transition to Digital Transformation
Two Vistage members explain how they reimagined their companies through technology
By Joe Galvin, Vistage Chief Research Officer

If you want to realize the benefits of technological innovation, start by thinking and acting like a digital pioneer. According to research from SMB Group and Vistage Research, 84% of leaders identified as digital pioneers expect their company’s revenues to increase this year, which is a significantly higher percentage than that of other leaders surveyed.

What makes digital pioneers different is their digital-first mindset. They innovate through technology, instead of innovating with technology. They don’t settle for digital transitions, where technology is applied to analog processes to improve productivity. Rather, they pursue digital transformations, in which technology is used to reimagine business processes, practices, models, culture and customer experiences to meet changing market dynamics.

Contrary to what most people believe, digital transformation is not an IT project. It’s a leadership initiative. And that may explain why so many companies struggle with it, as only about 30% of those who pursue a digital transformation actually complete it.

Two Vistage members, Dave Sackett and Jeff Dewing, are among those few. Here, they explain how they’ve used technology to transform their companies and industries.

What our research says:

In partnership with Vistage and SMB Group, a recent survey of CEOs from small and midsize businesses revealed these insights about how leaders are thinking about digital transformation.

Technology is still the No. 1 investment for small and midsize firms, with 78% planning to invest in business applications in 2019. More than half (61%) of CEOs surveyed said they planned to increase their spending on technology in 2019, with 32% planning to continue at their current rate of investment.

Source: SMB Group Digital Transformation Study, n= 218

CEOs have different reasons for pursuing digital transformation. They are most interested in streamlining operations (63%), improving employee productivity (54%) and getting ahead of competitors (41%).

Many CEOs lack a well-defined strategy for digital transformation. Only 51% have a strategy underway. Another 34% plan to start in the next year. And 15% don’t have any plans at all.

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A Research Perspective