Fewer than half of businesses have a digital strategy, finds Harvard report

Rebecca Lambert
Rebecca Lambert
By Rebecca Lambert on 02 May 2017
Fewer than half of businesses have a digital strategy, finds Harvard report

A Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report finds that while 80% of business leaders think their industry will be positively disrupted by digital transformation within the next three years, fewer than half actually have a digital strategy in place.

Competing In 2020: Winners And Losers In The Digital Economy is sponsored by Microsoft and was released last week at the company’s Digital Difference event in New York City, US. It highlights the disparity between the digital leaders and the laggards. For example, 72% of digital leaders have a formal strategy versus only 49% of hybrids and 24% of so-called non-digitals.

“It’s time for businesses to take digital disruption seriously,” said Abbie Lundberg, contributing editor and author of the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report (pictured centre). “Many firms struggle with what it means to be a digital business and how to get there. But given what we heard from global leaders, becoming a digital business is the top priority for every leader who wants to survive beyond 2020.”

Lundberg’s analysis pulls from a survey of nearly 800 digital decision makers and influencers from companies around the world.

Overall, fewer than half of respondents say their organisation has developed and communicated a formal business strategy for the digital future. However, there is some variation in this by industry. Nearly three quarters of technology companies and more than half of financial services firms have a formal business strategy. Government, healthcare, and retail are the least likely to have a digital strategy, at 27%, 34% and 39%, respectively.

This is despite the fact that nearly half of respondents believe their traditional business model will be obsolete by 2020.

“To remain relevant, business leaders should develop and communicate a strategy for the digital economy while at the same time remaining flexible and ready to shift gears as the market changes,” said Lundberg. “This requires a willingness to take risks, and the investment of resources – funding, people and technology.”

To find out more, you can download a full version of the report here.

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