Future of Work Survey Says: People Problems Pose Biggest Barrier to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation (Dx) is disrupting how work gets done. It’s shaking up workforces across industries. It’s happening faster than anyone ever imagined.

And organizations everywhere are struggling to keep up. (A whopping 84% are failing at Dx, according to Forbes).

It’s tempting to assume that this high casualty rate is a tech problem.

But the hard, cold, truth is organizational culture and lack of collaboration between IT and business leaders are the biggest barriers to digital transformation success.

So says the first in a series of eye-opening reports from Appian’s Future of Work survey.

Survey Highlights

The study revealed that over 50% of senior execs blame IT culture and cross-functional disconnects as the biggest roadblocks to digital transformation. Other findings from the report highlight how organizations are prioritizing their Dx efforts:

  • Improving customer experience (39%)
  • Elevating operational excellence (35%)
  • Governance, risk and compliance (13%)
  • Reducing costs (12%)

What it all comes down to is this. The future of work is here and now. But you can’t capitalize on it by coasting or taking an incremental approach to Dx.

Not when demand for intelligent automation—including artificial intelligence, machine learning and RPA—is exploding. And not when overall spending is expected to reach $232 billion by 2025 compared to approximately $12.4 billion today (KPMG).

People Essential to Dx Success

But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the initial Future of Work report is this: Putting people at the center of your Dx journey is essential to success.

Which confirms what Dx expert Lisa Heneghan told us in a recent blog interview with Appian. Heneghan is Global Lead for KPMG’s Technology Consulting Practice.

“…Where I see digital transformation failing (and this is frequently the case) is when it’s treated as a technology implementation. You could have the best digital systems in the world. But if you don’t have an organization that also has the employees, the capability, the processes, culture and mindset to leverage that technology, you’ll never realize the benefit of it.”

Back to the Future of Work survey.

It’s worth noting survey respondents expect intelligent automation to have a significant impact on their organizations in 2019 and beyond.

  • Machine learning is the most commonly deployed form of intelligent automation (54%)
  • Many organizations have either deployed or plan to deploy intelligent automation in the next year (75%)
  • Over 40% are planning to implement the technology in 2019 (41%)

The study was conducted by IDG and based on responses from 500 senior level IT executives at companies with over 1000 employees in the US and UK.

To view a complimentary copy of the study, click here.