Nearly 80% of CEOs and their direct reports say that less than half of all innovation projects at their organization succeed, according to a survey released today from Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR), a global Fintech leader, and G100 Network. The survey of CEOs and their direct reports from Fortune 1000 companies across a diverse range of industries uncovers how executives discover and implement emerging technologies.
In the midst of this worldwide health crisis, companies have been forced to accelerate and adapt their digital strategies. No longer do CEOs have the privilege of a measured approach to digital transformation; instead, they have been thrust into digital leadership regardless of whether they are prepared. Even though the survey was fielded pre-Coronavirus lockdown, the outcomes are even more magnified.
When it comes to adopting emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud and Digital, CEOs agree that these technologies can provide immense value across their enterprises. Survey respondents identified the biggest benefits of these emerging technologies in terms of business transformation as: improved client experience and retention (67%), increased efficiency (67%) and new revenue opportunities (57%). According to the survey, the three biggest hurdles firms face in terms of technology transformation are access to qualified talent (55%), legacy systems architecture (54%) and an internal culture of resistance to change (52%).
“Market uncertainty and volatility are creating immense pressures for companies across industry sectors, leading to an even greater reliance on new technology to drive change across the enterprise,” said Tim Gokey, CEO of Broadridge. “Forward-thinking CEOs who embrace next-generation technology to drive their business roadmap against specific success metrics are best positioned to succeed in this rapidly evolving environment. Recent events have also highlighted the importance of new technologies including Digital and Cloud to adapt to a changing world.”
Innovation Starts at the Top
Enterprise-wide innovation starts at the top, with most respondents stating that the innovation function reports to the CEO (38%), followed by the CTO/CIO (21%). While CEOs are the ultimate decision makers for technology transformation at most organizations, their methods of driving innovation within their companies range. A large majority of CEOs (68%) say they use an internal incubator and/or partner with outside innovation accelerators (67%) while over half (56%) rely on mergers and acquisitions to innovate. A further 34% leverage their corporate venture capital team to innovate.
To keep up with emerging technology trends, CEOs rely heavily on updates from their internal teams (70%) or outside consultants (55%) while many (59%) also get the latest from talking with their peers.
Defining an Approach to Adoption
Although the value of technology is clear, almost half of CEOs (42%) consider themselves “Fast Followers” when it comes to adoption. This means they have yet to establish a defined approach to experimentation and implementation of emerging technology, with only a few use cases and/or point solutions. A quarter of respondents (26%) consider themselves “Innovators” using industry-leading technology, driving enterprise-wide adoption and having multiple live use cases. A quarter of respondents consider themselves “Experimenters”: they are piloting solutions but without mass support or resources to advance quickly.
In fact, when it comes to measuring the impact of innovation, about one in five say they have no defined method to measure the success of technology innovation at their organization. However, most CEOs (57%) say enterprise value creation is the key metric they use for the success of tech innovation while over quarter (27%) say they assess direct profit/loss.
“Forward-thinking CEOs will reassess assumptions about emerging technologies that might have previously been hindered by organizational resistance, regulations or customer adoption. Not all innovations will succeed, but companies that fail to adapt and change face eventual disruption,” said David Niles, President of G100 Network. “Successful transformation requires not only experimentation with emerging technologies, but also a change in business processes and team alignment around a new way of doing business.”
For an infographic on the survey findings click here.
Broadridge and G100 Network’s emerging technology survey was conducted from November 2019 – March 2020. The 96 respondents include CEOs and their direct C-Suite reports from Fortune 1000 companies. Their businesses are global and represent a diverse range of industries. Executives were asked to answer several questions regarding how they discover, introduce and implement emerging technologies into their enterprise. This study is for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute investment, legal or any other advice of any kind.