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Global survey of enterprise decision makers indicates ongoing confusion and denial will be businesses’ greatest barrier to success

Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS) today announced the results of its recent survey surrounding digital transformation within the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. Conducted by Loudhouse Ltd. in early 2016, the global survey polled IT and marketing decision makers on the importance of digital transformation within their business.

Digital technologies are reshaping both consumer demand and competitive dynamics in the consumer goods marketplace, irrevocably changing how people shop and how they decide what to buy. Results from the survey indicate that while digital transformation is viewed by many FMCG companies as critical, their strategy, planning and implementation is slower than desired.  

State of Denial

Of those surveyed, 60% admit that their organisation is still largely in denial about the need to transform digitally. While 93% of survey respondents believe they have less than two years to make significant inroads before their business begins to suffer financially and competitively, and 60% feel they may already be too late, 33% currently do not have a clearly defined digital strategy. Of those, 53% know it is important but have yet to take any initial action. Forty-nine percent (49%) admit that they struggle to look even more than a few months ahead.

Challenges to Digitally Transform

While respondents expressed concern around their ability to execute, executive buy-in and more, many claimed to have confidence in having the right tools and technology to be able to execute today (55-60%). When asked about challenges, results indicated:

  • 52% see digital transformation as something daunting that will take a long time.
  • 66% feel IT and marketing are not in alignment to deliver on a digital transformation strategy.
  • 64% find it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape.
  • 27% feel ownership of digital efforts should be driven by marketing with help from IT; 38% denote it should be IT driven and 32% felt it should be driven by IT with the help of marketing. Yet, 64% felt that IT should own the budget. These disparities indicate there is no clear ownership of digital efforts.

Overall, survey respondents felt the three biggest barriers to digital transformation include reliance on IT teams to deliver on strategy (69%), lack of leadership to define a digital transformation strategy (67%) and lack of skills to execute on strategy (64%). In addition, respondents see CMOs (53%) followed by CEOs (51%) as the key advocates for digital transformation. However, 43% and 50% respectively believe those roles are most reticent and need further convincing.

What’s Next?

FMCG businesses recognise the importance of digital transformation and 96% have plans to act within the year. Respondents agreed—100% feel that improving and optimising the customer experience is a priority. Action plans include a focus on speed and responsiveness (56%), safety and security (51%) and consistency across channels (51%). Technology critical to these initiatives include mobile (62%), analytics (58%), data connectivity (45%), ecommerce (40%), business governance/rules (36%), WCM (31%) and Cloud/PaaS (29%).

“The fast moving consumer goods market is highly competitive. These businesses are often the early adopters of innovation, as they need to stay ahead of generic underlings looking to cut at their bottom line,” said Mark Troester, Vice President, Solutions Marketing, Progress. “Digital transformation is critical to future success; that is why we’re working with many household names to determine the best strategy and technology implementation to maximise their efforts.”

Survey respondents included a mix of global C-Level/VP decision makers; heads of marketing, digital and IT; as well as developers, IT architects, directors, engineers and line of business managers. These individuals represent organisations ranging from SMBs through large global enterprises.