Key Findings ‘Organization in the Digital Age’ 10th Edition

November 21, 2016

The 10th edition of my research report includes data, analysis, case studies and interviews along with a short guidance section with tip sheets. The research scope is outlined here. Purchase information is here. A special thanks to Modus, research supporter for 2016.

“Competing priorities is at the top of the list of challenges for many organizations when defining their digital transformation strategies. One of the goals of this report is to provide data, analysis and case studies that will help organizations prioritize and identify criteria for strategic decision-making.”

Each of these findings is explained in the full  blog post which follows.

  1. Most organizations are in the Developing stage—a midway point.
  2. Primary goals for digital transformation are focused on efficiency.
  3. Although senior leaders are increasingly on board, most are not yet demonstrating sustained commitment.
  4. Compelling visions need tangible, actionable strategies: top down is not enough.
  5. Digital capabilities that foster unpredictable outcomes are not yet widespread.
  6. The mobile workforce has a considerable way to go before being truly mobilized.
  7. Organizations enable individuals and teams, but stop short when it comes to mobilizing horizontally across the enterprise.
  8. Visibility and openness are key in an entrepreneurial work culture, even more than autonomy for people and teams.
  9. The customer-facing workforce—the eyes and ears of the organization— is often disconnected from corporate systems and information flows.
  10. Few organizations are approaching customer data strategies systematically.
  11. Learning is easier than remembering.
  12. Obstacles around decision-making persist after many years.
  13. People and stories trigger change.
  14. Change agents are key, especially at the Maturing stage.
  15. Technology is a top investment priority; education and change are low; data and analytics will increase in priority in 2017.
  16. Investment decision-making factors vary based on maturity.
  17. Awareness is growing that digital and organizational transformation is a journey, not a quantifiable destination.
  18. The vision is broad and deep, the journey is long.


Change Agents—nearly as important as senior leaders

November 8, 2016

Following on from my post yesterday about senior leadership almost being on board with digital transformation, it is important to see how the impact from internal change agents has increased this year. It’s quite a counter balance!

I define change agents very simply as “people inside organizations who work to bring about change through actions that may not be within their scope of work and may not even be approved by management.”

The more your organization matures digitally, the more you need change agents. Why?
Because people are getting uncomfortable with change, and you need the activists and rebels to help maintain momentum.


The Organization in the Digital Age: senior leadership almost on board

November 7, 2016

I believe that digital transformation is really nothing extraordinary for organizations. This statement may seem strange in the mouth of someone who has been researching it for 10 years. However, my conviction is that digital transformation is part of a continuum of change for organizations as people, the workplace and technology evolve.

Breakthroughs can happen, but organizational change—digital or other—is progressive. Organizational change is not a new topic. Digital transformation is. It has in fact become a handy buzzword for selling new technologies. In reality, organizational and digital change go hand in hand, which is why my research is now focused on the organization in the digital age, and no longer on the digital workplace, a term that evokes technology for many people. (more…)

“Serious concerns holding us back” #wol

September 13, 2016

More #wol information to share.

I’m working on the Challenges and Changes section in the report, and wanted to share this chart with you. I won’t take the time to comment, as I’m pressed to meet a deadline but there are many observations to be made.

The chart shows what organizations in the three stages of maturity —Starting, Developing and Maturing— report as “serious concerns holding us back”. They also had the option of considering these items to be “manageable concerns that require special effort”. This chart shows only the first degree, therefore the real blockers and show-stoppers for some.

By the way, I have another chart showing how these concerns have evolved since 2013. Let me know if you’d like to see it.

As always, join the conversation in the comments section.


Where did search go?

September 6, 2016

Here is more data I’d like to share as I continue to work on the 2016 report. Please think about this and share your reactions. #wol

One of my first reactions is to ask “where did search go?” Both enterprise search and social search are at the bottom of the list. Why?

Responses on the chart show the % that said “available organization-wide” and “available in some parts”.

Maybe Search is just too hard to do well. So we focus instead on the fun stuff—the things that make media buzz.

As I’ll show you later, these deployment figures are just the beginning. What really matters is how they impact work practices—as individuals, as teams and across the organization.

In the meantime, here’s the chart. The full descriptions for each item follow.

digital capabilities 2016.001


How do we learn? Who’s responsible?

August 31, 2016

Today I’m working on the learning theme for the 2016 report. I’d like to share some data with you and see what you think.

The survey question asked respondents to indicate their agreement or disagreement (5-point scale) on these statements:

  • Our approach to training/learning is primarily experiential and is based on simulations, games and case studies, coaching and mentoring.
  • Our approach to training/learning is primarily delivered by experts/trainers explaining and giving talks either online or in a classroom.
  • When it comes to personal development, our organization’s philosophy is that people are primarily responsible for acquiring new skills and knowledge.
  • When it comes to personal development, our organization’s philosophy is that HR and managementare primarily responsible for ensuring that people acquire new skills and knowledge.Learning


Working out loud not yet the norm

August 29, 2016

For the first time, in this 10th year, I looked into working out loud.

Background: For those not familiar with the concept, you can read more here on my blog where there’s a brief list of early proponents. You can download a copy of Dennis Pearce’s thesis (University of Kentucky) Developing a Method for Measuring ‘Working Out Loud‘ (immediate pdf download) published in 2014. You read the blog of John Stepper, author of Working Out Loud (published in 2015). You can simply do a search on the internet “working out loud” or search Twitter using the hashtag #wol.

There’s lots of stuff out there, but I wanted to know what’s really happening. So I asked the following question on this year’s survey- The Organization in the Digital Age 2016.

workcharts Linkedin verified.001


Working out loud—risky, but worth it!

August 27, 2016

As you know, I’m working out loud this year as I prepare the 2016 report: The Organization in the Digital Age. Well, I’m embarrassed and very annoyed with myself that I made a significant mistake.  I was going too fast in my desire to share. I trust you to forgive me, and I promise to continue working out loud over the next weeks anyway!

Here’s the deal. This past week, I published 2 posts and charts here and here about the primary goals for digital transformation initiatives from the full survey viewpoint and the HR viewpoint. Unfortunately, they were based on an error in the database which has now been corrected.

Impact on the findings: Efficiency now at the top. Talent and new business models still at the bottom

transformation goals full survey


Transformation goals: Why not talent and recruitment?

August 25, 2016

Aug 26, 2016: This post has been updated based on correcting an error in the data base. More here about that.

I posted a chart a couple days ago showing the primary goals for digital transformation according to the 311 people who participated in the 2016 survey. Quite a few comments came back to me about the low position of “support talent management and recruitment” and one person asked about the profiles of the respondents.

So I ran the chart for the segment of people who reported having an HR function—25 out of 311—and found no major differences. In both cases,  “Support talent management and recruitment” is the lowest goal. (paragraph updated) transformation goals full vs HR

There are different ways to interpret this chart as well as the previous one. (more…)

Transformation goals: present beats future

August 22, 2016

Aug 26, 2016: This post has been updated based on correcting an error in the data base. More here about that.

The 2016 research involved 311 people from 27 countries. I’m now working full out on analyzing the data, writing and interviewing people for the case studies. That’s my excuse for being “offline” for the past weeks.

But, in the spirit of working out loud, I will be sharing pieces of information and analysis as I work through the data.

One of the first observations is that implementing fundamentally new business models is clearly on the back burner, as organizations are focusing on what needs to be improved today.  Surprised?

transformation goals full survey