Digital transformation: Business ambition vs operational reality

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We explored the retail and hospitality sectors to understand how business leaders’ intentions compare to their efforts to achieve them.

As technology evolves and priorities shift, it’s no surprise that businesses are putting digital transformation at the forefront of their strategies and goals. The benefits are clear; our 2022 research found that growth projections were 11% higher for those businesses that connected their backend systems compared to those that did not. Furthermore, when these growth ambitions are met, it equates to a £269 billion opportunity.

Some have long known about such potential. 80% of IT leaders understand the pivotal role digital transformation plays in keeping up with today’s climate. But we also found there’s a disconnect when it comes to the investment in digital transformation. Despite the positive forecasts that come with consolidation, the reality is decision makers higher up don’t always see eye-to-eye with the department spearheading these initiatives; IT.

To better understand this difference of opinions, we surveyed 250 IT leaders in the UK and compared the outcome to data from our UK business leader research, creating The Ambition Gap Report. Read on for a preview of our findings.


Ambition Gap Report

Explore the gap between businesses’ digital transformation ambitions and their operational realities. Download

Unaligned priorities

We’ve shown what amazing results can come when your company unifies its systems and operations. By doing this you’ll meet consumers’ growing expectations quicker. After all, if their favourite brand provides a seamless journey across all channels and recognises them, wherever they are, why can’t other businesses offer the same experience?

This could be due to the fact that only 26% of business leaders are prioritising creating a connection between operations and customer experience. And only 20% view siloed operations as a threat to their overall business. As a result, 58% of IT leaders feel their company isn’t as far along its digital journey as it should be.

58% of IT leaders feel their company isn’t as far along its digital transformation journey as they would like

Moreover, 53% admit to feeling friction at the top due to a lack of funding for such projects.

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A gap in understanding impact

It’s not just that IT leaders feel digital projects are not given the time and investment they need; it would appear many business leaders are not aware of just how impactful this work is. Over half of IT experts believe the C-suite of their company does’t understand the potential that comes with digital transformation, while 32% feel people don’t understand what success looks like at all.

This could be one of the reasons why there is a struggle in recruiting for IT. 76% of leaders said it has become more difficult to hire – despite needing to grow their teams in order to meet goals and objectives.

Appreciation goes amiss for digital projects

We know the value IT leaders place in digital initiatives. 81% believe increased investment in tech would improve their business’s revenue. But in reality, it’s not an easy feat to put them into action.

73% of IT leaders admitted they end up having to pitch such projects and their importance to upper management. And even once plans are put into action, 87% of IT leaders revealed digital transformation as a whole can go under-appreciated.

One person who went in with a digital-first strategy upon starting his role as Head of IT at Crew Clothing was Richard Surman. Following an overhaul of the old systems, replacing them with technology compatible with Crew’s long-term roadmap, and joining forces with Adyen to run its payments, Richard saw a huge shift in the classic brand meeting today’s demands.

“The ability to see both web and store payments in one platform is amazing.”Richard SurmanHead of IT, Crew Clothing

“I took a pragmatic approach: Where there were only four systems that we would need to replace completely, let’s just get best-of-breed solutions to replace it,” he explained. “From a business perspective, the ability to see both web and store payments in one platform is amazing, as is the capability to integrate with multiple other partners and introduce more payment types. Previously, one of the other key drivers that we had in the pipeline, but weren’t able to introduce, were methods like Google Pay, which most brands can take as a matter of course.”

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Case studies

Embarking on a digital transformation, with Crew Clothing

19 July 2022 – 6 Minutes

The answer? Collaboration is key

If you’re looking to boost your path towards digital transformation, or you’re simply wanting to continue your growth in the most efficient way possible, it’s key to work with the right tech partners. Gone are the days where everything needs to be created and manned in-house. Now, there are specialists across every key area of your business who work with you towards your end goals.

Adyen understands the need to act fast to keep up with ever-changing demands and trends, and one of our key solutions is our Unified Commerce offering. This takes omnichannel to the next level by connecting systems in backend, unlocking a wealth of data that can be used to create better consumer journeys.

Want to discover more about how your business can take its digital strategy to the next level and keep all departments on the same page?

Originally published at: Ayden



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