2018 Global Digital IQ Survey

13 Nov 2018

What separates the digital mavens from the posers? To find the path to digital - and financial - success, follow along to find out what top-performing companies are doing right. They may have a variety of goals and aspirations for digital, but when it comes to what makes them successful, they share clear commonalities.

PwC worked with Oxford Economics to survey 2,280 executives in more than 60 countries, including 460 responses in Western Europe. The results show that Western European respondents are on par with others around the world in their progress toward digital transformation, but their focus on employee experiences and next-generation skills make them well-positioned to outpace others in the years ahead.

The path to value

Digital investments are already paying off for respondents in Western Europe. They are more likely to say they actually realised value from their investments - perhaps as a result of their focus on cultivating innovation and digital skills among their workforce.

Executives in the region are about as likely as those in other regions to say their digital investments have paid off in terms of growing revenue and cutting costs, and they are roughly as likely to say they have experienced strong revenue growth or profitability. However, their strong leadership when it comes to digital transformation and the cultivation of a digitally-savvy workforce may position them well to improve business performance in the years ahead.

Strategic goals are driving technology adoption and implementation. Like others around the world, respondents in Western Europe have varying aspirations for digital: to modernize the brand, to become more efficient, to change their core business model, and to break into new markets. They are more focused than others on improving the speed and efficiency of their core business.

The experience imperative

Customer experience is widely understood as a focus of digital strategy. Now, employee experiences must also be transformed as leaders rely on their workforces to drive transformation. Executives in Western Europe are slightly ahead in adjusting processes to facilitate transformation.

They are somewhat more likely to say they use design thinking or agile methodologies to increase the speed of innovation (64% vs. 59%), their office space provides for a dynamic work environment to be collaborative (68% vs. 64%), and their digital tools and operations make it easier for employees to do their jobs (67% vs. 63%).

Overcoming obstacles to transformation

Organisations face a number of challenges on their path to digital transformation, most of which center around updating internal processes, skills, and workflows. 

In Western Europe and around the world, inflexible processes and a lack of properly skilled teams are the top two barriers to digital initiatives.

Respondents in Western Europe are more effective at navigating these challenges than their peers in other regions: they boast higher-than-average skills in core technologies including mobile, cloud, and IoT (although they are outpaced by North America in other areas), and are more likely to say they have a standard way to measure outcomes from digital investments (68% vs. 62%). 

Key findings

  • No digital posers allowed: Their leaders have the acumen they need to succeed in digital – and they don’t put digital on the fringe of larger corporate strategy.
  • Experience matters: Successful companies see experience as a key element of digital and cultivate thriving employees who, in turn, create better experiences for customers.
  • Take control of disruptive forces: Successful companies recognise that disruption isn’t always seismic. They marry efforts and behaviors to differentiate in big and small ways.
  • Mind the real skills gap – and do something about it: Successful companies work differently, using human-centered design, agile approaches and cross-functional teams to speed innovation and flatten decision-making.
  • Read all the results here.


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