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Corporate culture, C-suite support biggest factors in digital transformation success

Corporate culture and executive buy-in are the two most important factors in determining the success of digital transformation efforts.

Those are among the finding of a new study by Tata Communications, Singapore Management University, DBS Bank, Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, and KPMG. The study is based on quantitative and qualitative insight from 48 C-suite leaders and 401 anonymous executives worldwide.

The study found that leader effectiveness is directly correlated with perceptions of organizational readiness for digital transformation. In addition, transformation initiatives will only succeed if they are championed by the actions, not the words, of an organization’s leader.

A majority of the respondents (87 percent) agreed that culture created bigger barriers to digital transformation than technology and 70 percent said their leaders had the ability to lead on digital transformation.

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Programmers at Reactive Inc. David Malkin, data scientist, from left, Philip Irri, core engineer, Joseph Bullard, core engineer, and Philippe Remy, research engineer, work at Tenoha Lab share office in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. The four programmers at the 18-month-old startup in Tokyo came up with an application that recognizes scrawled-out Japanese with 98.66 percent accuracy. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** David Malkin; Philip Irri; Joseph Bullard; Philippe Remy

CEOs must assume the role of “chief evangelist” of digital transformation to persuasively, persistently, and convincingly articulate the “why” behind each initiative, and champion changes to create positive business impacts, the report said.

The study noted that teams will only embrace change if they understand why transformation is needed and if they have faith in their leaders. All of the C-suite level executives agreed that digitalization is the “new normal”, with a universal belief that embracing digital transformation was urgent and critical for their organizations to survive and thrive.

Furthermore, 80 percent of C-Suite interviews highlighted the importance of purposefully focusing on the people aspects during digital transformation, suggesting an emphasis on the importance of inclusiveness.

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