Digital Transformation Held Back By Missing Leadership Traits

Poor leadership, lack of ownerships and bad alignment are hurting digital transformation ambitions, said an NTT Ltd’s 2019 Digital Means Business Report.

Of those surveyed, only 11% said they are highly satisfied with those in charge of spearheading digital transformation. This is even though almost three-quarters of them are already underway on their journey.

The study noted a strong belief that digital transformation requires radical, far-reaching changes to achieve success. This, when combined with a lack of strong transformational leadership and focus on the need to change people, is holding many companies back:

  • Some 71% of organizations in the early stages of transformation expect a complete restructuring of the business and operating model is needed.
  • Only 49% of respondents believed their leadership team is capable of digital transformation.
  • Lack of executive sponsorship or ownership was ranked as the top barrier to success.

The research also offered a direct correlation between organizations’ ability to realize relevant, outcomes-driven value from digital transformation regularly, and their digital maturity. Yet, there still exists an apparent lack of alignment between IT teams and the wider business:

  • Only 29% of organizations embraced digital transformation as a collaborative effort between business and IT.
  • While 42% of respondents say business and IT are delivering in a more integrated manner, supported in part with the introduction of a chief digital officer function, only 12% are highly satisfied that planning is flowing effectively through to execution. 
  • Almost half (49%) of digital transformation projects are still IT-led.

“Organizations should focus less on perfecting a grand digital plan, and more on taking considered and iterative steps in their transformation journey to progress value and clarity of subsequent moves. For various reasons, an organization is its own worst enemy, so any change has to be supported by pragmatic, self-aware leadership who are themselves changing,” said Wayne Speechly, vice president, Advanced Competencies, NTT Ltd. 

The research surveyed over 1,150 executives, from 15 countries across North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific, and from 11 industry verticals.