Where are the budgets of digital transformation going ?

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Digital transformation is a major issue and businesses are taking it very seriously, allocating it more and more significant budgets. However, it’s a broad area in which many things fit and it’s interesting to know what CEOs consider as a priority. If we start with the assumption that budget allocation is a relevant indicator then the numbers showed at the latter Gartner Symposium give us significant insights.

 

Technology Spendings

Customer experience tops CEOs priorities

First observation : customer experience tops other priorities in terms of expenditures. The quartet made of digital marketing/e-ecommerce/customer experience management/business analytics is ahead in terms of investment. I would group them under the “customer experience” banner because it’s what brings them together. Marketing is about creating experiences, analytics help to build individualized experiences and there’s no e-commerce without an experience to sell.

Big data is in the second group with 24%. I expected to see it higher and that’s a little surprise. On the other hand, business analytics are a product of big data so…

On the contrary, some matters rank much lower than we could have excepted. Most of all the internet of things and connected objects that only get 8% of intentions. We can expect a significant raise in the next years but, right now, I think that the problem is not the object but the use case and that few businesses have a clear idea of what to do with.

Too early for robots and connect objects.

Low score for gamification too (4%). It’s a mature field and we know what it does well and that’s it’s not the answer to anything.

Our jobs are safe. Robot staffing only accounts for 4% of intentions too. But expect to see this number climb in the next years.

On the underbelly but rather declining we can find collaboration and “social enterprise”. With only 19% CEOs thinking they’ll invest in this field we have an evidence of a strong trend : the customer is the priority and employees will wait. I’m not surprised and I even think things can get worse over time. Before,  customer and employee facing projects were separated from a strategic, operational and budget standpoint. Now that both are gathered under the digital transformation banner, there are risks to see them competing for same budgets and that arbitrations will always be made in the same way. Maybe it’s logical but it can backfire over time : there’s no customer experience without employee experience and employees must be tooled both both from a technology and management standpoint to deliver this new promise.

Collaboration is behind

However, I think we should not make too hasty conclusions. This survey is about investments in technology. It’s clear that technology matters a lot on the customer side while it has few value without change management on the employee side. We all know that a social network will never make people more productive but that it supports more productive new business habits…provided businesses change the way people actually work. On the contrary, if the associated services are included in these numbers, then it may be a big issue.

A document that only says what it says but that’s worth regarding to today’s buzzwords to put things into perspective and understand what are the priorities of CEOs.

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