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New CenturyLink study examines digital transformation readiness

May 23, 2017  

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Communication and IT services company CenturyLink, Inc. today announced the results of a commissioned study on the digital transformation of global enterprises. Conducted by 451 Research, the Enterprise Digital Transformation Study provides insight into how, why and at what pace organizations are preparing for the digital future. Among the findings:

  • 51% of enterprises have a formal digital transformation strategy
  • 23% are working on siloed digital projects, but without an overarching strategy
  • 19% are still in the planning stages
  • 7% currently have no ongoing digital transformation strategy

The survey, which polled executives in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, found that disruption will continue to ramp up over the next three years, with 42% of study respondents expecting major disruption as the deployment of new digital technologies continues to play out in their respective fields. This will continue to change the competitive dynamics of their markets in the process.

“In a global economy that’s dominated by disruption, innovation and cyber threats, speed to market is of the essence,” said Bill Hurley, chief marketing officer for CenturyLink. “However, the complexities associated with digital transformation can result in numerous roadblocks. Moving to a superior network and employing agile cloud technologies are keys to simplifying the transformation process. This approach is a foundational element of success in digital transformation.”

According to Sheryl Kingstone, director of customer experience and commerce at 451 Research, who authored the survey, “digital transformation programs are now being viewed as strategic, long-term initiatives and typically receive the support of top-level executive. In fact, 60% of enterprises are increasing their IT spending levels to achieve the significant benefits of digital transformation.”


The study found that executives at organizations worldwide commonly identify with four key pillars of competitive differentiation to target with internal digital transformation initiatives. The four are:

  • Improve the level of business agility – 53%
  • Better manage business risk – 49%
  • Improve operational efficiency – 41%
  • Improve the internal or external customer experience – 41%

“The ability of an organization to be innovative with new digital technologies such as these seems to have a direct correlation with digital transformation maturity.” CenturyLink said in a release. “When asked to rate their organization’s ability to innovate, 59% of those with a formal digital transformation strategy already in place rated their organization as more capable and faster to innovate, with 18% feeling their organization was slow to innovate.”

Based on a combination of business and technical complexities, the study also found three primary barriers to achieving success:

  • Inflexible IT systems and the need for agility – 35%
  • Organizational silos and the need to uncouple legacy practices – 33%
  • Risk and security, including the need for assured data custody – 31%

Other significant barriers recognized by respondents were potential failure to secure sensitive data (30%); lack of available funding, capital or budget (30%); and challenges of getting multiple service providers/partners working together (27%).