Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

A global survey of 600 executives finds a full 86% believe their organizations need to improve accountability in strategy implementation, with 85% noting their organization’s ability to adapt to change falls short.

Conducted by Economist Impact, the research arm of The Economist, on behalf of Planview, a provider of product and DevOps software, the survey finds only 20% of executives are confident in the resources allocated for implementation.

A full 84% of respondents recognize there is a need to improve data-driven decision making. In fact, only 14% expressed confidence in the level of governance currently applied to decision-making.

Tools and platforms currently employed to manage strategic initiatives include business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools (37%), artificial intelligence/machine learning (35%) business process automation (BPA) platforms, (35%), enterprise resource planning (ERP) software (34%) task management tools (34%) and project management software (34%).

Overall, the survey makes it clear organizations are struggling to achieve a holistic approach to value stream management (VSM), says Richard Sonnenblick, chief data scientist for Planview.

Issues organizations struggle with include processes that take too long to evaluate (33%), a lack of metrics (32%), data quality and timeliness (30%), lack of relevant technology (30%) and changing priorities (29%).

Nearly a third (32%) identified technology as the most important factor for effective strategy implementation but issues that arise when adopting new technologies include integration (36%), vendor selection and management (32%), data security (31%) resistance from employees (31%) and inconsistent adoption (30%).

“Projects are falling behind,” says Sonnenblick. “Organizations need to de-risk technology adoption.”

Managing change has never been easy but in the age of digital business transformation it’s become a matter of survival for many organizations. The challenge is that when it comes to implementing new processes many organizations are trying to overcome levels of process inertia that can require years to surmount.

Digital CxOs are, if anything, agents of change tasked with the responsibility for driving changes that either increase revenue or make that organization more profitable. The issue they most often encounter is existing fiefdoms make implementing digital workflows spanning multiple departments exceedingly difficult. The expectation is that leaders of various business units will embrace change for the betterment of the organization, but everything from executive compensation to a lack of willingness to learn new processes conspire to slow the overall pace of innovation.

Add on top of that is a variety of economic headwinds that many organizations are currently encountering, so it’s little wonder more organizations now view digital business transformation as a multi-year journey requiring both cultural changes and technological advances.

One way or another, however, competitive pressures will eventually drive adoption of new processes. If not, many organizations will eventually succumb to more agile rivals. The core issue, as always, is convincing the people that make up any organization to recognize that change properly managed and implemented is actually in their best interests at a time when technological advances are only continuing to accelerate. Otherwise, changes to workflows are going to occur slowly as employees continue to be view them with suspicion until the benefits they might provide prove otherwise.

Unfortunately, many organizations may not have the luxury of time to wait for those benefits to become apparent to all before being required to make wholesale changes that are always going to be more disruptive than anyone would really prefer.