Major differences in digital maturity across industries

Major differences in digital maturity across industries

The IFS Digital Change Survey notes Big Data, ERP, and IoT as top investment areas for digital transformation; one in three companies are unprepared due to talent deficiency.


IFS, the global enterprise applications company, reveals the findings of its Digital Change Survey that polled 750 decision makers in 16 countries to assess maturity of digital transformation in sectors such as manufacturing, oil & gas, aviation, construction and contracting, and service.

Strong willingness to invest
Nearly 90% of firms surveyed have adequate or advantageous funding for digital transformation, indicating a strong willingness to invest and an appetite to evolve their business in order to stay competitive and grow. When asked about prioritized investment areas, the top three choices were IoT, ERP, and Big Data & Analytics.

“It is apparent that companies today understand the urgency of focusing on digital transformation,” IFS VP of Global Industry Solutions Antony Bourne says. “Technologies such as big data and analytics, enterprise resource planning and internet of things are paramount to transforming a business. Companies need to apply innovative technologies hand in hand with their relevant industry expertise to succeed and gain a competitive edge. It is this combination that makes digital transformation both meaningful and powerful,”

Lack of talented employees
Alarmingly, more than a third of companies (34%) feel either slightly or totally unprepared to deal with digital transformation due to talent deficiency. When asked to name the areas that will experience the greatest deficit in talented staff, 40% cited business intelligence and 39% cyber security. Other areas of concern are AI and robotics (30%), Big Data/analytics (24%), and cloud (21%).

“Although new technology is key to digital transformation, it is clear that change communications and access to the right talent are principal catalysts to succeed. It is alarming that more than one in three companies are not staffed to manage digital transformation. These organizations need to focus on concrete talent investment plans to make sure that they establish what roles are critical to success in their industries. After that the key is both to find and attract new talent as well as training and re-skilling existing staff,” Bourne adds

“Industrial IoT investments offer excellent ROI which is driving adoption,” states ARC Advisory Group, VP Enterprise Software, Ralph Rio. “But, talent is a constraint as the IFS survey shows. Hence, IoT users partner with companies like IFS that offer leadership IoT solutions.”

Major differences across industries
When asked about the digital transformation maturity level of their organizations, meaning actual progress, 31% of the respondents consider their business to be in the two highest levels of maturity on a five-graded scale. The aviation industry is the most progressive with 44% of respondents considering themselves advanced in their ability to leverage digital transformation. Runner up is the construction and contracting industry, 39% of whom identified themselves as mature. At the other end of the spectrum is the oil and gas sector, where only 19% of the respondents consider themselves able to benefit from digital transformation.

“The differences in digital maturity levels across industries are notable. The highly competitive nature of the aviation industry, together with its rapid adoption rate of new technologies such as predictive maintenance and 3D printing for spare part manufacturing, are key drivers of its successful digitalization,” Bourne states.

Drivers and investment focus
Forty-three percent of respondents identified internal process efficiency as the number one driving force behind digital transformation. Accelerating innovation (29%) and “growth opportunity in new markets” (28%) were recognized as the second and third most significant drivers.

Obstacles to digital transformation
Despite the practical and technical complexities of digital transformation, the number one barrier to change is on the human side: aversion to change (42%). The second and third largest barriers are the more concrete security threats/concerns (39%), and absence of the right organizational and governance model (38%).

Which will be the most disruptive technologies?
When asked what technologies will be the most disruptive, Big Data tops the list with a score of 7.2 out of 10. Second is automation (7.0), and third is IoT (6.6). Although Big Data is ranked the highest overall, there is a significant minority who feel that automation will have the most dramatic impact. More than 40% rated the level of disruption by Automation as 8 or more out of 10, while only 32% gave such high ratings to Big Data. In the construction, aviation, and manufacturing industries 48%, 48% and 50% respectively consider the automation disruption score >8/10, which makes it the highest rated technology for those industries.

About the survey
This survey was commissioned by IFS to assess maturity of digital transformation across industries on a global scale. It was conducted as in-depth interviews by the research and content agency Raconteur Custom Publishing, who took in the views of 750 decision makers in 16 countries in the oil and gas, aviation, construction and contracting, manufacturing, and service industries. Countries surveyed were USA, Canada, the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, China, Japan, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, the Middle East, and India.

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