Companies are responding to an increasingly digital market environment by adding executive roles with a digital focus or changing traditional roles to have a digital orientation, but are also finding that a digital company does not necessarily have to be led by technologists, the results of a global survey of managers and executives conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte indicated.

The survey, conducted in the fall of 2015, captured insights from more than 3,700 business executives, managers, and analysts from organizations of various sizes in 131 countries and 27 industries. The findings revealed that the list of “digital” business roles and functions is extensive and growing: for example, there are now digital strategists, chief digital officers, digital engagement managers, digital finance managers, digital marketing managers, and digital supply chain managers.

Researchers noted, however, that despite the proliferation of digital roles and responsibilities, most of the executives surveyed recognize that their company is not adequately preparing for the industry disruptions they expect to emerge from digital trends, and report feeling constrained in preparing for a digital future by a lack of resources, a lack of talent, and the pull of other priorities. Nearly 90% of the survey respondents said they anticipate that their industry will be disrupted by digital trends to a great or moderate extent, but only 44% said their organization is adequately preparing for the disruptions to come.

The survey also found, however, that a group of “digitally maturing” companies are transcending these constraints, achieving digital capabilities that cut across the enterprise. Based on how the respondents rated their company’s progress in adapting to digital technologies, their organization was classified as early, developing, or maturing. Close to 90% of the executives surveyed at digitally maturing organizations reported that they are integrating their digital strategy into the company’s overall strategy.

In addition, the survey showed that more than 75% of respondents at digitally maturing organizations provide their employees with resources and opportunities to develop their digital acumen, compared to only 14% of respondents at early-stage companies.

Yet researchers observed that some companies are experimenting with new approaches to performance management: for example, rewards can be allocated based on real performance data or survey data from all of an employee’s project leaders, or employees can determine rewards for one another in a crowdsourced approach.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 59, Issue 9

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