Australian organisations that approach business change as a shape-shift within a greater strategy, rather than a company overhaul, are poised for greater success in digital transformation, according to new research by Microsoft.
The report, Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations, is based on detailed qualitative interviews with 30 senior leaders of business and government organisations to uncover the success factors and obstacles involved in digital transformation.
Collectively, organisations cited availability of talent as the number one constraint for digital transformation, followed by culture and mindset, leadership, and clarity of vision.
In addition to the above factors, organisations said their digital transformation efforts were often hampered by concerns about security, confidentiality and regulatory compliance.
While there was no right approach to the digital transformation journey, Microsoft found that most organisations were opting for a ‘test and learn’ approach involving discrete projects and experiments, rather than business-wide structured programs.
Furthermore, the research found that leading organisations typically transform the customer experience first, using data to win, grow and retain their customer base or better serve citizens. They then move on to other areas, including empowering employees, optimising operations and transforming products and operations.
According to the report, digital transformation among organisations requires a pro-innovation corporate mindset ahead of the right technology, with successful transformation programs having a buy-in across the business and support through strong leadership, an entrepreneurial culture and a pipeline to digital skills.
Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow noted that the most digitally advanced organisations had several common elements, but the role of people, in terms of leadership, culture and ambition, was the most pervasive.
The research also uncovered which digital technologies would substantially affect organisations over the next five years, with cloud computing tipped to have the biggest impact.
Microsoft Australia’s chief marketing officer and chief operating officer, Rachel Bondi, said the rewards of marketing automation and use of new digital technologies are clear.
“[With] operational optimisation, we’ve taken a ‘think big, go small’ approach here in Microsoft Australia,” she said.
“As part of a global company, we balance between what we use from US, UK and Canada with also creating unique content and experiences for our Australia customers. This balances both greater efficiency and a chance for deeper engagement with audiences.
“Our ability to move faster gains buy-in at the highest of the business levels. Senior buy-in can really make a difference as organisations digitally transform.”