Companies responding to digital disruption inevitably focus on speed first. They make changes quickly where it matters most—launching apps, forming agile squads, deploying new analytics, and testing innovative digital business models. The primary objective is to stay one step ahead of the change. Yet after an initial phase of success, these promising digital transformation initiatives too often lose momentum. On the way to scale and lasting impact, they run aground on legacy issues such as aging technology infrastructure, mismatched operating models, old ways of working, or cultures resistant to change. This shows up in our annual survey of more than 1,200 business leaders around the world.
Three years ago, when we asked respondents to prioritize what it takes to establish digital leadership, their answers boiled down to making faster decisions and executing quickly to create differentiated offerings. Today, there is a growing realization that speed on its own isn’t enough. While moving quickly to differentiate remains essential, capturing the full value of digital transformation involves scaling a company’s best initiatives across the organization for broad impact. That typically requires retooling the technology architecture while also building digital fluency and capabilities throughout the organization.