Today, nearly everything is thinking. There’s an ever-expanding amount of data available to businesses, provided directly from your mobile device, your TV, your toaster, even your light bulbs. And, the proliferation of data shows no signs of slowing down. Consider this : more data will be created in 2017 than in the previous 5,000 years combined.

SwissCognitiveAll of this data, all of this thinking, has brought us to an innovation tipping point: Innovation is moving from promise to reality more quickly than ever before, creating traction for technologies like Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, to help companies transform and reinvent themselves. With all this opportunity, however, many companies find it hard to know how to harness it, where to invest, or even the right questions with which to begin.

Digital transformation leaders vs. laggards

Given this complexity, we’re seeing a clear divide in how – and more noticeably, whether – these advancements have been adopted and applied effectively. In fact, our recent SAP Digital Transformation Executive study in partnership with Oxford Economics found that business know that they need to digitally transform to capitalize on this innovation tipping point, but many are entrenched in a way of thinking that prevents and discourages that kind of bold change needed to survive: that technology change is an incremental shift within an existing model. There were a few key distinctions between the leaders and laggards that all boil down to one thing: Leaders are thinking outward – beyond their processes – to their customers, to their market and even to other markets; and they are looking forward , at how today’s newest technologies can have a major impact on their business tomorrow.

To put this into perspective, the study showed that those lagging in digital transformation put a focus on increasing speed to market and developing new products and services as their top two revenue drivers, indicating a “product first” mindset that places a huge focus on competition and the increasing pace of change. Conversely, leading companies surveyed were 58% more likely to cite customer empowerment as a key global trend and saw significant value from transforming their customer satisfaction and engagement.

Digital leaders are also looking forward – finding ways to apply new technologies for improvements in productivity, as well as creating agile teams that can discover, respond to and adapt quickly to advance with new technologies. In fact, 62% of leading organizations have already created these teams, a figure estimated to rise to 82% over the next two years.  […]