Why do digital transformations exceed expectations at a lower rate than broad-based transformations? Manny Maceda, who leads Bain's Global Transformation practice, hosted a panel at this year's World Economic Forum. He shares insights and perspectives from a chairman, a chief executive officer and a chief digital officer on what makes a successful digital transformation.
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Read the transcript below.
MANNY MACEDA: So now that enough companies have actually been doing transformation, digital transformation specifically, we can actually compare success rates. So for broad-based transformations, historically, we know the data. About only 12% of companies would say they actually exceeded their goals. But 50% would say they came close, and the rest totally failed.
For digital, only 5% will say they exceeded their goals, although a larger number would actually say it was a good thing to launch. So those are differences that we can see between a digital transformation and our experience with more broad-based full potential ones.
So I had a chance to host a panel here that was attended by about 50 chief executives from around the world. And we had a panel that had a chairman, a CEO and a chief digital officer who gave different perspectives on some of the key success factors in the transformation. The chairman's view was all about strategy, and his message was that digital strategy should not supersede the company's corporate strategy. It needs to be an enabler to it. And that's very consistent with the Bain viewpoint.
The chief executive's view, who's trying to operationalize strategy against his competition was very much—how is this changing my business models? It happened to be a B2B company. What are the specific use cases that digital is helping me create better customer value, better competitive differentiation, and how do we actually get that consistently operated by my organization?
Now, the chief digital officer, her viewpoint was that I'm in charge of making this happen, orchestrating this in a complicated company. And very quickly, digital transformation becomes cultural transformation. It's all about people either changing their jobs or, in some cases, the jobs actually getting replaced or eliminated.
And so all of those are consistent themes that we would see, that occur, in transformations broadly, but for digital specifically, it really resonated. The group was very engaged. And this is a very good thing for Bain to be doing and leading, doing the leading-edge thinking in the industry about.