C-Suite Lags on Digital Development, Study Finds

The C-suite lacks the vision to drive today's essential digital development, a recent study finds. But by creating a well-considered plan, leaders can move past their deficiencies on tech issues.

The C-suite lacks the vision to drive today’s essential digital development, a recent study finds. But by creating a well-considered plan, leaders can move past their deficiencies on tech issues.

Millennial hype aside, the Gen Y cohort probably has one up on their colleagues in the workplace: They’re generally up to speed on technology.

As one new study finds, you can’t always say the same for their CEO counterparts.

The study by Capgemini Consulting and MIT Sloan Management Review, “Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative,” shows that while many C-level executives understand the need for better technology, they’re often challenged to turn that understanding into action.

Study Highlights

Here’s the bad news first: Some 63 percent of the more than 1,500 executives surveyed say the pace of technology change in their organization is too slow, according to the study.

That’s not to say executives don’t recognize the necessity—and benefits—of digital capabilities; 78 percent of respondents from 106 countries say technology upgrades will be essential to their organization within the next two years, the study reports.

The problem: They just don’t know how to get there.

“The opportunity to improve company performance through digital transformation is clear, the execution is difficult,” Capgemini SVP Didier Bonner said in a statement. “[T]he only wrong move when it comes to digital transformation is not to make any move at all.”

According to the report, CEOs’ challenges stem from competing priorities, gaps in digital skills, and a lack of urgency in developing a plan. While roughly half of organizations have a blueprint for digital investment, 40 percent say they have no formal governance practice related to the issue, the report adds. (This occurs in nonprofits as well, where technology executives often find themselves reporting to someone other than the CEO.)

It’s not all bad news, though: Thirty-six percent of executives have outlined a “digital transformation vision,” and within that group, 93 percent of employees say they are on board with those initiatives.

Caffeinated Case Study

Technology does more than enhance your organization’s services: It can improve the customer experience.

Take Starbucks, for example: The coffee shop chain, under the guidance of its vice president of digital ventures, installed free Wi-Fi in all of its shops. Customers who tap into the free internet are directed to a landing page featuring a variety of media to download, from music to publications.

Starbucks also upgraded its technology to cut 10 seconds from mobile or card transactions, saving customers’ collective time standing in line by (hold your breath) 900,000 hours. Coming soon: mobile ordering.

The Takeaway

Regardless of the stellar service you already provide, your technology, under your CEO’s guidance, must advance to meet your members’ growing needs and expectations.

Outlining a plan—and communicating it to your staff—will help your organization stay relevant in an age where digital trends become obsolete faster than you can say “trend,” while staying one up on the competition.

What techniques has your association used to keep up with digital technology? Tell us all about them in the comments.


Emma Beck

By Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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