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Related Expertise: Digital Transformation, Digital HR, Leadership & Talent

It’s Go Time for Digital Transformation

By Vanessa LyonDeborah LovichLaurent RichaudDaphné Julienne, and Stéphane Qin

If people had doubts about the new capabilities that companies everywhere are implementing as part of digital transformations, the response to the COVID-19 crisis appears to have put them to rest. The vast majority of both managers and employees believe that these capabilities helped counter the effects of the pandemic and will aid businesses in getting back on their feet once the crisis is over, according to a new survey commissioned by Boston Consulting Group.

At the same time, people believe there’s room for improvement. A substantial portion of both managers and employees think that the pace at which their companies are transitioning to digital could be faster, and employees in particular feel that they could be more involved than they are, according to the survey. And both managers and employees are unsure of how the digital transformation will affect them personally when it comes to their jobs, career prospects, and pay.

The findings come from our recent poll of 5,250 managers and employees in France, Germany, the UK, the US, and China who work at companies of various sizes and in multiple industries.

Explore the slideshow below to see more detailed survey results.

Key Insights

More than three-quarters (78%) of managers and over half of employees (57%) we heard from think that their companies are in the midst of a digital transformation. Among the other noteworthy findings:

Survey Methodology

The survey sample included 1,550 managers and 3,700 employees at companies in five industries: services, industrial, retail and distribution, transportation, and buildings and public works. The online survey was conducted from May 4 through May 18, 2020.

For the survey, digital transformation was defined as “the implementation of digital technologies and working methods across a business’s activities.” The definition encompasses a wholesale change in products and services and interactions with clients as well as the adoption of new ways working.

Additional Findings

A majority of people surveyed believe more investment is needed to address the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, including support for remote work, client relationships, internal processes, and marketing.

Other findings:

  • Digital transformation requires people to acquire new capabilities. Both managers and employees feel hiring, training, and upskilling are the least successful elements of their company’s transformation.
  • Transformation can help company processes. The largest portion of survey respondents believe that digital transformation will improve employee efficiency, work organization, and decision making.
  • Managers support their company’s approach. Managers are more likely than employees to endorse how their employer is implementing a digital transformation, especially managers in the US, the UK, and China.
  • Attitudes vary by region. Some areas of the world are farther along than others in their embrace of digital transformation. Among those most willing to participate in new ways of working are managers in China (91%) and the US (90%) and employees in China and the UK (both 78%).

The authors thank Patrick Rouvillois, formerly of BCG, for initiating this research.

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