Customer Experience Tops Digital Transformation Agenda in Australia, New Forbes Insights Report Finds

SYDNEY - December 1, 2016 — According to a new report by Forbes Insights in association with Hitachi Data Systems, titled "How to Win at Digital Transformation: Insights from a Global Survey of Top Executives”, changing customer expectations are the biggest external driver of digital transformation (DX) in Australia, cited by 58% of respondents compared with the 35% global average. In contrast, their global peers are more likely to name the need to develop new business models as the top driver of DX (41%), followed by new technologies (40%).

The Australian focus on customer experience (CX) is also evident in other parts of the report. One quarter (25%) identify it as a top strategic priority to become more customer focused (vs. 16% global average), and almost half of Australian executives see customer engagement, acquisition and retention as a major organisational goal (46% Australia vs. 27% global average).

Globally, only a third of companies consider themselves leaders in CX, suggesting that the potential of data and analytics to help with this process has been under-utilised.

“At the centre of digital transformation is data. By failing to unlock the potential of their own data, organisations are struggling to cater to rapidly evolving customer expectations,” said Nathan McGregor, vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems, Australia and New Zealand. “The research reveals a number of interesting market nuances. Australia and New Zealand are often considered a testbed for new technologies and ideas, and I’m not surprised to see local businesses aiming for leadership position on CX.”

While the research suggests that half of the executives surveyed around the world believe the next two years will be critical for their organisations in order to make the transition to digital transformation, there are issues companies still grapple with and must resolve:

  • Untapped potential of data and analytics. While less than half of companies globally (44%) see themselves as advanced or leaders in data and analytics, a vast majority (91%) have already seen revenue increases due to the use of data and analytics.
  • An enterprise-wide approach to DX needs to be adopted. Currently, cross-functional teams are not involved enough in developing (40%) or implementing (35%) strategy, with the bulk of this work done by IT (50% and 54% respectively). IT is the function considered the most prepared for digital transformation (53%), while other functions lag with just over a third of survey respondents deeming them ready.
  • Companies must learn how best to marry technology with human resources. Technology cuts both ways. It is seen as the biggest challenge (29%) and the top contributor to a successful digital transformation (56%). People are on top of the list when it comes to how to deal with challenges of DX. New hires come first (57%), followed by internal training (54%). For technology to contribute, people (defined as talent and capabilities), need to be viewed as contributors to success.

“Digital transformation is now essential for corporate survival,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media. “And it’s more about people and culture—about change management—along with investing in the technology.”

About this research
This report’s findings are based on responses of 573 C-level executives from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. They represented enterprises with revenues above US$500 million, with 62% of companies having revenue of more than $1 billion, and 19% with revenues of $10 billion or more. The majority of respondents were chief executive officers (CEO) (23%), chief technology officers (20%), chief information officers (15%), and chief financial officers (7%), and all were involved in the planning or implementing of digital transformation in their organizations. Respondents represented a wide range of industries, including technology and services (21%), telecommunications (10%), financial services (14%), and healthcare (10%).

The report also includes econometric research, conducted by the Department of Business Technology, University of Miami, in association with Forbes Insights. This research examined the relationship between increasing technology expenditures during the last recession (2007 through 2009) and an increased compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during economic recovery (2010 through 2015). It is based on the analysis of 99 of the world’s biggest companies.

About Forbes Insights
Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, a global media, branding and technology company whose combined platforms reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. By leveraging proprietary databases of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a wide range of topics to position brands as thought leaders and drive stakeholder engagement. Research findings are delivered through a variety of digital, print and live executions, and amplified across Forbes' social and media platforms.

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About Hitachi Data Systems
Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help global organizations open new revenue streams, increase efficiencies, improve customer experience and ensure rapid time to market in the digital age. Only Hitachi Data Systems powers the digital enterprise by integrating the best information technology and operational technology from across the Hitachi family of companies. We combine this experience with Hitachi expertise in the internet of things to deliver the exceptional insights business and society need to transform and thrive. Visit us at http://www.hds.com/anz/.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2015 (ended March 31, 2016) totaled 10,034.3 billion yen ($88.8 billion). The Hitachi Group is a global leader in the Social Innovation Business, and it has approximately 335,000 employees worldwide. Through collaborative creation, Hitachi is providing solutions to customers in a broad range of sectors, including Power / Energy, Industry / Distribution / Water, Urban Development, and Finance / Government & Public / Healthcare. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at http://www.hitachi.com.

Company Contact:
Isabel Wagner
Hitachi Data Systems
+61 427 001 671
Isabel.wagner@hds.com

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