Security is Key Challenge for Digital Transformation, Survey Says


Fifty five percent of organizations consider security the number one challenge impeding digital transformation, according to cross-industry research

SoftServe, a leading provider of digital solutions, today revealed findings from its 2017 Digital Transformation Report indicating that 55% of organizations consider security to be the number one challenge they face when implementing digital enablement technologies.

The research, conducted for SoftServe by Vanson Bourne in November 2016, polled a cross-industry panel of decision-makers in the US and UK on the risks, challenges, and opportunities surrounding digital transformation for modern businesses.

The data showed that digital transformation is widespread with 27% of organizations indicating that they have implemented a transformative strategy across their entire business and 45% claiming to have implemented digital transformation across parts of the business, with a further 25% suggesting that they planned to adopt strategies in the future. In fact, just two percent of organizations had no plans to adopt digital transformation.

Digital transformation promises to impact every part of an organization with some areas standing to gain more than others. Perhaps not surprisingly, given its consumer facing operations, the retail, distribution and transport sectors consider customer experience and engagement as the area that stands to gain the most from digital transformation with 73% of organizations citing this as the number one beneficiary. Across the board though for financial services, IT and manufacturing, the areas of mobile technologies, digital asset management, cloud computing services, data mining/analytics and e-commerce all stood out as areas that would benefit from digital transformation.

Interestingly, just six percent of respondents felt that product vendors were the best people to speak to when seeking advice on implementing digital transformation. Most organizations are inward looking with 76% of respondents stating that they would seek advice from internal IT or business experts. Respondents were also split on whether digital transformation was a business or IT issue with 25% naming the CIO as the person with ultimate responsibility compared with 23% naming the CEO.

“In the business world, new market entrants are digital natives. They enjoy the flexibility and agility that comes with being a start-up and as a result of embracing digital technologies like Cloud services, they’re realizing the cost benefits that were once the preserve of businesses of scale. In many respects, ‘traditional’ businesses are playing catch up in a race they could lose as a result of an inability or reticence to adopt transformative technologies,” said Robert Corace, executive vice president, digital disruption at SoftServe. “If businesses want to keep pace with or get ahead of faster moving rivals and disruptive new market entrants, they’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that digital transformation is the new normal. There are challenges to overcome, but with expert help they are not insurmountable and the rewards of digital transformation far outweigh the costs.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that organizations were split on who has ultimate responsibility for delivering digital transformation since it is a business issue that is enabled by technology. Whichever way you look at it though digital transformation is a boardroom issue,” said Nazar Tymoshyk, Certified Ethical Hacker and security solutions architect at SoftServe. “As with all new ways of working some clear challenges lie ahead, not least ensuring that security is watertight. With so much data being created, moved and stored in the modern business, and with so much reliance being placed on that data, security needs to be baked in at the very outset of any digital transformation initiative.”

Following security, 50% of organizations said budgetary constraints were impeding digital transformation initiatives, which is hardly surprising given IT budgets are expected by some to remain flat in 2017 and IT plays a huge part in implementing digital transformation. A lack of strategy across the organization, a lack of required skills and competing interests were cited as impediments by 31%, 27%, and 26% respectively. Encouragingly, just 11% cited a lack of clear business case – which suggests that a vast majority of organizations appreciate the benefits that digital transformation will deliver.

The SoftServe Digital Transformation survey was completed by 300 respondents, made up of 100 UK and 200 US decision makers from medium to large organisations - 150 participants represented companies with 1,000 – 3,000 employees whilst the remaining 150 participants represented companies with over 3,000 employees. Respondents were broken down into six key industries: business and professional services, manufacturing, financial services, retail, distribution and transport, and other commercial sectors.