Brand Execs Say Digital Transformation Requires a Cultural Shift, Not Just a Technological One

Beringer Capital interviewed 30 execs

Executives across industries say digital transformation is a top priority. Getty Images
Headshot of Adweek Staff

When it comes to transforming a company’s digital operations, customer experience is front and center, even while internal changes to company structure and culture tend to be the most difficult obstacles to overcome.

According to a survey of more than 30 senior executives across a range of industries including tech, marketing and advertising, understanding how to innovate while not disrupting existing revenue sources is top of mind for companies taking risks to keep up with competitors and disruptors.

The survey, conducted by Adweek and Adweek parent company Beringer Capital, sought to understand how C-suite leaders are thinking about change and instilling it within their companies in terms of organization, collaboration, data sharing, marketing and monetization. The report, released today, includes insights from brands such as Lego Group, Hilton Worldwide and Deloitte Consulting. One key theme: It’s not just about implementing new tech and trusting it’ll work.

“What we’ve learned from conducting our research is that technology is actually not the critical element of digital transformation initiatives,” said Beringer Capital managing partner Gil Ozir. “While it is a vital enabler, the key to success lies in developing the talent, organization and processes that can bring to life the promise of omnichannel personalized marketing at scale.”

At a prerelease breakfast discussion co-hosted by NetForum and Adweek, around two dozen executives from tech, media and fashion companies met to discuss how they see digital transformation shaping their companies and industries over the next two years. Many said they’re still grappling with how to take risks while also changing the expectations of investors and employees in terms of measuring results that might not always be clear right away. There is also a misalignment of incentives when it comes to changing legacy revenue and relationships to newer sources.

According to Laurent Ohana, managing partner at Parkview TMB and NetForum’s founder, interest in digital transformation had led to more M&A activity in terms of acquiring both talent and technology. However, the first question a potential buyer or investor looks at is what percentage of revenue is driven by digital platforms. Ohana said companies are also looking for investors not just to raise capital, to mentor them in the ways of digital transformation.

“When you see investors looking to make large investments in companies, they will want to know what percentage of the revenue is being done in digital,” Ohana said. “And if they see that you have a brand that is selling products, and 90 percent of revenues come from wholesale or retail, they’re going to basically be very hesitant to make the investment or buy the company if we’re talking about a strategic acquisition.”

Read the full report here.