4Q18 Digital Leadership Survey Preliminary Findings
Building on Experience; Facing 2019 Crosswinds with Growing Confidence.
We’ve just received results from our 4Q18 Digital Leadership survey, which included executives from the Americas, Europe and Asia.Respondents come from a wide range of industries, with a mix of small, medium and enterprise businesses.The goal of our 4Q18 survey was to provide a level-set on how digital initiatives tracked in 2018, what measures companies are focused on, and what aspects of their digital journey will be priorities into 2019.We also surveyed budget plans for digital initiatives, headcount and select categories of technology.
Our initial take is that the digital initiatives are moving from early adoption to the mainstream, and companies are showing increased confidence in their ability to invest and execute effectively.Despite growing reservations about the strength of the economy, our survey respondents are not bracing for a downturn; rather their spending plans reflect increasing confidence in the ability to generate revenues from digital products.
2018 was about testing the waters.A third of larger company respondents were focused on going to market with new digital offerings, with 29% focused on executing and implementing digital strategy.Our survey reflects that projects have moved out of the proof of concept stage, with new products going to market, but the mixed results reflect a market still in early stages. A few thoughts from preliminary results:
2018 outcomes were mixed, and leave room for improvement.Our survey respondents gave themselves an average grade of a “B-minus”.29% of respondents disclosed that the results of their digital initiatives exceeded expectations, while a total of 40% noted that their efforts failed or did not achieve all of their expectations. This shows that digital initiatives still face mixed success achieving their objectives.
Companies used different measures of digital success in 2018, but revenues become a key focus metric in 2019.Respondents looked mostly at non-financial metrics like number of users, devices connected and other measures to track the success of their digital initiatives.For next year, the top priority is clearly ensuring that success is measured on the financial statement.
Modest economic headwinds are anticipated for 2019.Over half of respondents expect economic conditions to be at least slightly more difficult in the coming year. This reflects more caution than pessimism; over 20% expect conditions to improve modestly over 2019.
Digital budgets reflect a more optimistic growth outlook for 2019. What’s notable is a seeming disconnect in spending plans for digital initiatives and headcount, which reflect a more optimistic stance.Nearly half of respondents expect to increase spending on digital initiatives in 2019 by more than 10%. Headcount growth is also expected to increase, though not at the same rate as overall budgets.We will explore these dynamics more deeply in our full length report.
Internet of Things and AI top 2019 investment priorities. Respondents overwhelmingly cite Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning as their top priorities for investment, followed by Cloud Computing, Edge Computing, Robotics/Industrial Automation, Blockchain andAugmented Reality/Virtual Reality.
Please join us for a special Webinar on January 31st where Vikram Capoor and Ed Maguire will review the survey results in detail.