A majority of companies are predicting significant impact from “digital evolution”, but are not prepared for the changes needed, according to a study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with business process management product and services provider Genpact.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 682 companies in the U.S. and Europe surveyed in the second quarter of 2016 predict significant impact from digital technology in two years, compared with only 21% that see major results today.

The study points out that despite the promise, significant barriers remain to achieve digital transformation across the enterprise. The research demonstrates that even with financial investments, as well as the necessary technology talent and skills in place, much still stands in the way of achieving significant impact from digital transformation.

The inability to experiment quickly represents the largest barrier, with nearly half of the respondents (48%) identifying that as a significant challenge. Change management and risk aversion are also hurdles, cited by 41% and 38%, respectively. Most respondents did not see budgets, technology skills or cyber security as major barriers.

“While there is overwhelming optimism about digital’s near future impact, only a minority of companies are successfully harnessing it to grow and beat the competition,” said Alex Clemente, managing director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

“The research shows that enterprises need a coherent strategy, and must address the customer-centric and change management skills needed to overcome the significant barriers they face if they expect to realize digital’s potential in just two years’ time. Leaders are more likely to embrace the skills for enterprise success,” Clemente said.

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