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Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

by | Aug 22, 2022 | Public Relations

Newly released research from digital services firm West Monroe finds that organizations are well on their way to realizing their digital future, but still have opportunities to further enhance and align their vision, products, customer engagement, data, and people strategies—as well as the operational processes that connect them.

According to the firm’s inaugural Be Digital survey of companies across seven industries and 5,000 of their customers, based on a survey conducted by Rabin Research Company, while a majority of the C-suite believes they’ve built a compelling vision for a digital agility model, the stakes are high for companies amid a challenging economy and high customer expectations. To realize their digital vision, companies are focused on three major priorities: improving the customer experience (37 percent), enhancing their data capabilities (35 percent) and improving scalability through process improvement (32 percent).

Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

“It’s time to say goodbye to the idea of digital transformation as a box to check. Clark Kent can walk into a phone booth and come out as Superman—but unless you’re a superhero, that kind of transformation is unrealistic,” says Matt Johnson, managing director in West Monroe’s Product, Experience & Engineering Lab, in a news release. “Organizations don’t need superpowers to evolve. They just need agility. It starts with a digital mindset and translates across every decision and department within the organization.”

Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

Vision

Digital isn’t something you do, it’s something you are—a mindset—and companies are in the early stages of this transition. Nearly all (95 percent) report they have a clear sense of how digital fuels growth, but only about half (47 percent) say they are very effective at having a digital mindset.

Products & experiences

Almost a majority organizations (49 percent) say they’re very effecting at putting the consumer at the center of everything, but consumers reveal some misaligned priorities. For example, consumers care much more about simplicity and much less about personalization, access to guidance, and new digital products and services than companies think they do.

Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

Data & technology

All organizations give themselves a passing grade for data maturity, but only 43 percent grade themselves an A, and others may be grading on a curve. For example, just over half have cloud-based data, IP and infrastructure, and only 50 percent use data as a catalyst for change. A vast majority of companies are investing to close both of those gaps.

Customer engagement

Only 37 percent of companies grade their customer experience as an A, and consumers have made it clear that anything less than an A is a failure. Nearly two thirds of consumers (63%) say they will switch to another company if their experience is lacking.

Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

Business operations

With data capabilities a key goal, 47 percent of companies are also investing significantly to enable algorithmic decision-making, which can enable agility across the organization and allow for flexibility and speed in meeting consumer needs. Organizations are evolving quickly to a more iterative model, with 48% reporting they are very effective at prioritizing fast over perfect.

Organization & people

Digital must be a team sport, but only 25 percent say their full C-suite is responsible for digital transformation. However, nearly half are investing significantly to help with employee enablement and to move to a more decentralized organizational design.

Companies and consumers’ digital priorities aren’t aligned: Here are the key issues for brands

“It’s encouraging to see companies recognize the importance of enabling data-driven decision-making and agile thinking. But there’s more work ahead,” says Casey Foss, Chief Commercial Officer at West Monroe, in the release. “With consumer expectations and preferences constantly changing, the key is access to real-time data and insights.”

Download the full report here.

Be Digital, West Monroe’s signature research initiative, polled 700 C-Suite executives across seven industries (financial services, healthcare providers, healthcare insurers, manufacturing, retail, technology and utilities) and more than 5,000 of their representative consumers. The survey was conducted by Rabin Research Company, an independent marketing research firm, using Op4G’s panel of executives.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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