Why 2022 Is the Year of Digital Transformation
U.S. and U.K. organizations are absolutely clear about the benefits of digital transformation and making it their No. 1 priority for 2022.
Digital transformation is now a C-suite-level business priority for the majority of organizations across the U.K. and U.S. This is the headline finding from Customer Experience & Digital Transformation: Insights from the Boardroom, the latest Sitel Group® whitepaper.
Compiled from interviews with 403 executives, the research reveals the extent to which the pandemic has served as a much-needed catalyst for adopting the necessary digital tools and processes for sustainable, resilient business growth.
COVID as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation
The historic chain of events that followed COVID-19’s designation as a pandemic could — at a societal level — take years to fully process and understand. Only then will it be possible to extract the insights needed and formulate the lessons learned to future-proof what were exposed as the most vulnerable elements and operations that underpin our global society and the institutions that support it.
However, for organizations around the world, the steps required to insulate themselves, eradicate exposed functional weaknesses and supercharge their ability to be proactive in the face of continuing disruption presented themselves in real time.
With the understandable exception of those within travel and hospitality, all businesses across all customer-facing verticals that rose to the challenge of constantly changing customer expectations and needs had one thing in common: they had reached digital maturity.
The Definition of Customer Experience Has Changed
Within the initial three months of the pandemic, 76% of consumers had undergone a channel shift, moving online for their shopping needs. By the beginning of 2021, the definition of positive customer experience (CX) had been updated to include an easy-to-navigate website, online chat support and round-the-clock support.
This CX reset is why 81% of organizations will be increasing their investment in customer experience delivery in 2022. It is also why for the majority of boardrooms, the key to realigning with consumers and making that investment count is transformation.
Digital Transformation Is the 2022 Strategic Priority
More than nine in 10 (96%) business leaders have made digital business transformation a topic of focus for 2022 and 64% of executives cited it as the priority for the year ahead.
The corporate appetite for digitalization has been growing over the past 18 months. As the second wave of the pandemic hit over the summer of 2020, digitalization moved from being a topic of conversation to being a consideration. It rose on the executive agenda to the point where 24% of global CEOs identified digitizing core business operations and processes as their number-one priority and a further 20% ranked it in second place.
This shift in priorities is why organizations are already taking concrete steps on this transformational journey. One-in-five leaders stated that their organization could be considered as being digital-first and a further 36% of businesses had progressed beyond the proof of concept and pilot project stages of digitalization by the end of Q1 2021.
A Clear Competitive Advantage
The whitepaper also makes it clear that there are tangible benefits to digitalization and that digital-first organizations are already enjoying a competitive advantage.
For instance, one-in-four business leaders polled for the study revealed that they have established speech and text and data mining analytics, and 36% had arrived at a point where they could tap enough different data sources to start making real-time adjustments to their CX delivery.
And, crucially, one-third of businesses within the survey sample group are already sharing data and insights across the organization, at an operational level, rather than simply within the executive strata. Until data can be democratized in this manner, it is impossible to harness innovation or to empower all employees in sharing the ideas and insights that can continue driving a business forward.
To learn more about the relationship between digital transformation and CX delivery, download the whitepaper Digital Transformation & Customer Experience: Insights from the Boardroom from Sitel Group®.