Indian businesses have high Digital IQ, but tech-infrastructure issues remain

Indian business’ digital investment is far more skewed towards IT and marketing as compared to their global counterparts.

India stands at No 3 in the world in terms of collective Digital IQ of its businesses, according to a study by consulting firm PwC. Businesses in India have more Digital IQ than those in the US and stand next only to UK and Australian businesses. Digital IQ, in PwC study, measures how well a company understands the value of digital technology and weaves it into the fabric of its organization.


About 61% of Indian enterprises observed to have high digital IQ against 68% in UK and 67% in Australia. India ranks third globally. Asian average is just about 49%.


In PwC study, there were ten Digital IQ judging attributes. They are


  1. CEO as a digital champion

  2. Involvement of digital leaders in business strategy

  3. Sharing of business-aligned digital strategy at the C-level

  4. Communication of business and digital strategies in orgnization

  5. Engaging with external sources to gather new ideas

  6. Making digital investments for competitive advantage

  7. Effective use of data to drive business value

  8. Proactive plan for cyber and privacy risks

  9. A single, multi-year roadmap

  10. Measure outcomes of digital investments.


Beyond the ranking and feel-good, the study throws some interesting findings. Here are some of those aspects where Indian businesses differ significantly from their global peers.


Channelizing digital investment to IT

Not surprisingly, business leaders in India are channelizing their digital investments more towards IT and marketing than other aspects of business. As many as 37% business leaders are focusing on IT as compared to 32% globally. In marketing, the lead is even more. As many as 36% of business leaders are investing on marketing, as compared to 27% globally. This means lesser investment on areas such as sales (7% in India compared to 12% globally) and customer service.


Strategy is shared across organization

As many as 80% of the Indian enterprises shared the business-aligned digital strategy enterprise wide. Globally, only 69% companies did so.


More effective use of data

As many as 72% of companies in India said they effectively utilize the data they capture to drive business value, whereas only 58% enterprises did that globally.


Long, Strategic view

More than half, 58%, of the companies in India said that they have a single, multi-year digital enterprise roadmap against 53% enterprises globally.


Digital leaders are less of organizational strategy drivers

Executives responsible for digital were involved in setting high-level business strategy in 77% companies globally. In India, it is only in 67% companies.


Outdated technologies seen as biggest implementation challenge

Indian companies found outdated technologies (81%) to be the top implementation issue followed by lack of skilled labour (79%) and integration of old and new technology (79%), whereas, most global organizations (73%)  found integration of technology to be the top issue.


Mapping the future

Internationally, organizations were dragged down by the hurdles in IT infrastructure from achieving their digital goals, creating an aspiration dividing and ranking the organizations’ digital IQ low. The PwC survey suggests “focus on specialized skill sets” to be the much needed up-thrusts for Indian and global market.


Technology, architecture and design along with data analytics, user experience, creative strategy and design were suggested corrective modes and future growth plan by the PwC survey respondents. Most of the Indian companies (84%) viewed technology architecture and designs to be core ingredients for their digital success. A huge number of companies (64%) in the survey agreed that the systematic evaluation and updating of talent model can also address the changes of digital enterprises.


Digital technologies and CIOs

Adoption and acceptance of digital technologies were driven by technology based approach in global scenario. India, however, adopted digital technology based both on business and technology driven approaches, as per the survey.


This might changes the way the Indian firms work. Currently, CEOs are looking after the digital technologies in 43% of Indian companies against 16% companies where roles of CIOs is higher in digital innovations too. But more than half, 59%, respondents in India say CIOs shall also look after digital technology, as their key role including the innovations, investment and implementation for the same. However, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is also a position emerging in the mainstream C-suite. This might bring a change in position of CIOs. CIOs might have to make a shift their focus from profitable growth being derived from present technologies to growth in digital technologies and innovations as well.

When asked how is the relationship between CIO and other C suite executives, more than 70% said they are strong or very strong in case of CIO-CEO and CIO-CFO relationships. But that number was abysmally low at 41% when it comes to CIO-CMO relationships.


But that is not a surprise. Is it?

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