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What Do C-Level Executives Think About Digital Transformation?

Real-World Findings on Disruption, Innovation, and Opportunity

SAPinsider, Volume 19, Issue 2

May 16, 2018

What do C-level executives think about digital transformation?

Digital transformation affects businesses and professionals of all types, displacing business functions, products, and initiatives that worked well in the past. So what are C-level executives doing to tackle their organizations’ transformation efforts and prepare themselves to compete in the future? SAPinsider’s research arm, Wellesley Information Services - Executive Research Group, conducted research with 250 C-level executives in finance and IT to find out how their organizations were handling the disruption and opportunity that comes with digital transformation. Discover some early findings and find out more information about the upcoming research report and events.

It’s no secret that enterprise technology is going through a time of great transformation, with revolutionary technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the Internet of Things, and robotic process automation improving and replacing manual efforts of the past. But how does this transformation impact the decision makers throughout large enterprises? And how does it affect where these new technologies will live — in your data center, or perhaps in a public cloud?

How do CFOs, for example, respond to the need to provide predictive and prescriptive analytics to help shape their business’s strategic decisions and identify innovation opportunities, rather than just report the descriptive analytics about the actions of the last month, quarter, or year? And how do CIOs apply their extensive on-premise expertise to a cloud-based world where data is everywhere and line-of-business executives are tasked with making technology decisions

These are the questions that SAPinsider’s research arm, Wellesley Information Services – Executive Research Group (WIS-ERG), sought to answer when it conducted a series of surveys and in-depth interviews of 250 C-level executives across finance and IT functions earlier this year. Key findings include: 

  • More than three in five CFOs see major opportunities to re-define their role and become a stronger strategic partner in the business, more than double the proportion of CIOs.
  • More than 80% of CFOs say their role has changed as a result of digital transformation. They are interacting more frequently with other leaders, as well as focusing more tightly on innovative products and services.
  • CFOs say that cloud computing and mobile technologies have had the greatest impact on their role in the business, with big data analytics and blockchain also scoring high.
  • CIOs believe that the impact of digital transformation has yet to be fully realized. More than two in five say that AI has had the greatest impact on their role, ahead of cloud and mobile technologies.
  • CIOs see transformation as an opportunity to develop new skills and achieve personal career development by studying their unit’s direct clients. 

Included in our discussions were interviews with SAP CIO Thomas Saueressig and SAP North America CFO Todd McElhatton. Additional findings will be discussed at events for CFOs and CIOs on October 24-25 in Chicago, with a full research report that will incorporate insights from the events to follow. Leading up to the report, a series of webinars will go into depth on related insights from executive thought leaders. 

Want to learn more or be part of the dialogue? Reach out to George Balerna, Vice President of Sales for more information.

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