Almost half of Indian business leaders say they'll struggle to meet changing customer demands within five years: Study

The study reveals a quarter (25%) fear they’ll be left behind

Almost half of Indian business leaders say they'll struggle to meet changing customer demands within five years: Study - CIO&Leader

Just 12% of Indian businesses are Digital Leaders, according to the Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index (DT Index). The DT Index, which was completed in collaboration with Intel, maps digital transformation progress of mid to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. The study reveals that 48% of India heads of business believe their organization will struggle to meet changing customer demands within just five years and a quarter (25%) fear they’ll be left behind (although this is better than the situation in China, where 38% of business leaders are worried they’ll be left behind).

The DT Index’s calculations are based on companies’ perceived performance in the following areas: Delivering against the core attributes of a digital business, their existing IT strategy, workforce transformation strategy and planned investments.

Two years after the DT Index’s initial launch in 2016, Dell Technologies and Intel have more than doubled the scope of the research, from 16 countries to 42 and benchmarked 4,600 businesses, using the following groupings:

While there has been minimal growth in the Digital Leadership group, the DT Index has tracked movement across other groups. For instance, 34% of businesses now are categorized as Digital Adopters (a 5% rise on 2016). These companies have advanced digital plans and innovations in place to power their transformation. The percentage of Digital Followers (a digitally immature group) has also dropped, from 21% in 2016, to 14% in 2018.

However, too many companies are either coasting in the Digital Evaluator group or stuck in the bottom two groups, meaning they’re either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place.

Barriers to Digital Transformation

According to the research, 93% of Indian businesses are facing major impediments to digital transformation today.

The top five barriers to digital transformation are:

  1. Data privacy and cyber security concerns
  2. Regulation or legislative changes
  3. Lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise
  4. Information overload
  5. Weak digital governance and structure

These barriers are hampering digital transformation efforts. For instance, 91% of Indian business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organization (compared to 84% in 2016).

Conquering their Challenges

The research indicates that businesses are taking steps to overcome their barriers, along with the threat of being outmaneuvered from more nimble, innovative players. This can be seen with:

  • 63% of Indian businesses using digital technologies to accelerate new product/services development (a 9% increase on 2016)
  • 63% sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills (a 45% increase on 2016)
  • 61% striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code (a 35% increase on 2016)
  • 61% of businesses building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms (a 8% increase on 2016)

Companies are also turning to emerging technologies and cyber security to power (and secure) their transformation.

Planned investments within the next one to three years:

  • 74% of Indian businesses intend to invest in cyber security (19% higher than the proportion of businesses investing in cyber security in China)
  • 67% of Indian businesses intend to invest in IoT technologies (11% more than Chinese companies)
  • 62% of Indian businesses intend to invest in multi-cloud (7% more than Chinese firms)
  • 61% of Indian businesses intend to invest in Artificial Intelligence (only 1% more than companies in China)

A small but significant number of businesses are even planning to experiment with nascent technologies. 37% will be investing in blockchain, 31% in quantum computing and 42% in VR/AR.


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