Here’s a brief excerpt from a report on the results of another McKinsey Global Survey that — according to Brad Brown, Johnson Sikes, and Paul Willmott — indicate that CEOs and other senior executives are increasingly engaged as their companies step up efforts to build digital enterprises. To read the complete report, check out other resources, and learn more about McKinsey & Company, please click here.
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As businesses continue to embrace digital tools and technologies—especially when engaging with customers—C-level executives in a recent McKinsey survey say they are stepping up their own involvement in shaping and driving digital strategies. This is vital to the success of digital programs, as survey respondents most often cite a lack of senior-management interest as the reason for an initiative’s failure. Respondents also suggest that organizational alignment is critical to seeing real business impact from digital.
In the survey, we asked respondents about five digital-enterprise trends: big data and advanced analytics, digital engagement of customers, digital engagement of employees and external partners, automation, and digital innovation. Specifically, we inquired about their companies’ adoption of and focus on each trend, what impact digital technologies can (and do) have on their businesses, and what obstacles companies face in meeting their digital goals. We found that despite the organizational and talent challenges, executives remain optimistic about digital business.
They report, for example, that their companies are using digital technology more and more to engage with customers and reach them through new channels. What’s more, growing shares report that their companies are making digital marketing and customer engagement a high strategic priority. Nevertheless, there is more work to do: most executives estimate that at best, their companies are one-quarter of the way toward realizing the end-state vision for their digital programs.
Focusing on customers and the top line
Executives say each of the five digital trends we asked about is a strategic priority for their companies. Of these, the trend that ranks highest is customer engagement: 56 percent say digital engagement of customers is at least a top-ten company priority, and on the whole respondents report notable progress since 2012 in deploying practices related to this trend (Exhibit 1). Companies have made particularly big gains in their use of digital to position material consistently across channels and to make personalized or targeted offers available online.
By comparison, companies have been slower to adopt digital approaches to engaging their own employees, suppliers, and external partners. Here, executives say their companies most often use online tools for employee evaluations and feedback or knowledge management; smaller shares report more advanced uses, such as collaborative product design or knowledge sharing across the supply chain.
Responses also indicate growth in the company-wide use of big data and advanced analytics, matching our experience with companies of all stripes, where we are seeing executives consider analytics a critical priority and dedicate increasing attention to the deployment of new analytic tools. Notably, respondents report increased use of data to improve decision-making, R&D processes, and budgeting and forecasting (Exhibit 2). What’s more, executives say their companies are using analytics to grow: the largest shares report focusing their analytics efforts on either increasing revenue or improving process quality; reducing costs tends to rank as a lower-level priority.
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To read the complete report on the McKinsey Global Survey, please click here.
The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Brad Brown, a director in McKinsey’s New York office; Johnson Sikes, a consultant in the New York office; and Paul Willmott, a director in the London office.
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