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Cultural issues main obstacle to digital transformation: Capgemini

Jennifer O'Brien | June 21, 2017
Employees don’t see their company’s culture as ‘digital’.

Corporate culture is one of the biggest hurdles in the journey to becoming a digital organisation, according to a new study by Capgemini.

The study, published by Capgemini and analyst Brian Solis and titled ''The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap', uncovered a big cultural disconnect between leaders and their staff.

Capgemini and Solis spoke to more than 1,700 respondents at 340 organisations across eight countries, finding a significant perception gap between the senior leadership and employees on the existence of a digital culture within their organisations. While 40 per cent of senior-level executives believe their firms have a digital culture, only 27 per cent of the employees surveyed agreed with this statement.

Participants included 20 per cent of senior executives, 40 per cent middle management respondents and 40 per cent employees in non-supervisory roles across five industry sectors: automotive, banking/insurance, consumer products, retail and telecommunications.

“To compete for the future, companies must invest in a digital culture that reaches everyone in the organisation. Our research shows that culture is either the number one inhibitor or catalyst to digital transformation and innovation,” Solis said.

“However, many executives believe their culture is already digital, but when you ask employees, they will disagree. This gap signifies the lack of a digital vision, strategy and tactical execution plan from the top.

“Cultivating a digital culture is a way of business that understands how technology is changing behaviours, work and market dynamics. It helps all stakeholders grow to compete more effectively in an ever-shifting business climate."

Overall, the report found  62 per cent of respondents see corporate culture as one of the biggest hurdles in the journey to becoming a digital organisation, sparking concerns that companies risk falling behind competition in today’s digital environment.

Additionally, the data shows that this challenge for organisations has worsened since 2011 by seven percentage points, when Capgemini first began its research in this area.

The survey asked respondents to assess their companies’ digital culture based on seven attributes: their collaboration practices; innovation; open culture; digital-first mindset; agility and flexibility; customer centricity and a data-driven culture.

It found that employees don’t see their company’s culture as ‘digital.’ It also concluded that the ‘digital culture gap’ is a result of senior leaders failing to communicate a clear digital vision to the company, the absence of digital role models, and a lack of KPIs aligned to digital transformation goals. 

Capgemini head of digital services, Cyril Garcia, said digital technologies can bring significant new value, but organisations will only unlock that potential if they have the right sustainable digital culture ingrained and in place.

“Companies need to engage, empower and inspire all employees to enable the culture change together; working on this disconnect between leadership and employees is a key factor for growth. Those businesses that make digital culture a core strategic pillar will improve their relationships with customers, attract the best talent and set themselves up for success in today’s digital world.”

 

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