Bridging the Digital Gap: Overcoming CEO Reluctance for Successful Digital Transformation

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In the face of rapid technological advancements, the digital revolution has become imperative for companies to remain competitive and thrive. However, a significant challenge lies in the reluctance of senior leaders, including CEOs, to embrace emerging technologies identified in a recent study by EY. This article aims to highlight the critical connection between the findings from the EY study, which reveals the hesitance of senior leaders to adopt emerging tech, and the potential risks this poses for a company's success and competitiveness in the modern business world.

Senior Leaders' Reluctance to Embrace Emerging Technologies
The EY study indicates that a considerable portion of friction in digital transformation stems from senior leaders, with nearly two-thirds of managers perceiving them as slow to embrace emerging technologies. This reluctance from top executives to adopt new technologies hampers progress and creates a barrier to successful implementation of digital initiatives within organizations.

CEO's Role as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation
In parallel, CEOs play a pivotal role in driving digital transformation throughout their organizations. While other roles and departments have embraced digital tools and processes, the CEO role often lags behind. This aligns with the findings of the EY study, suggesting that senior leaders exhibit reluctance to adopt emerging technologies.

For companies to successfully navigate the digital revolution, CEOs must take the lead in embracing digitalization and driving the necessary changes. Clear leadership from the CEO is crucial in setting priorities, fostering a digital culture, and ensuring that the entire organization is aligned with the digital transformation vision.

The Risks of CEO Reluctance
The reluctance of senior leaders, including CEOs, to embrace emerging technologies carries significant risks for companies. CEOs often rely on analog tools like Excel to execute their strategic goals and initiatives. This reliance on outdated methods impedes progress and is a contributing factor to the failure of around 90 percent of strategic initiatives, such as digitalization and automation.

In a time of rapid change and intense competition, companies that fail to adapt and embrace digital tools risk falling behind and even facing failure. The study by EY reinforces the notion that senior leaders' reluctance to adopt emerging technologies hinders the organization's ability to succeed and remain competitive in a digitized world.

The Need for Digital Transformation Support
Implementation of digital  enterprise execution software such as Howwe addresses these risks and bridges the digital gap. The CEO is the only executive role today that lacks an application to accelerate, monitor, and track what the board and they consider as most important. These initiatives are often cross-functional at the executive level and contribute to the highest increase in revenue, profit, and shareholder value, which are the most important aspects and what the CEO is measured on. Is it really unnecessary to be able to track and accelerate these initiatives if they are not meeting the deadlines? Are the CEO's focus and goals really less important than those of the sales or finance manager, for example? Is it optimal to work analog or through PowerPoint and Excel just because it has always been done that way in the past? When the CEO conducts enterprise execution through talking or communicating via PowerPoint, or tracks progress in Excel, it becomes unclear, unactionable, unmeasurable, and takes too long to achieve the desired financial goals.

For example, in the case of disruptions (war, trade wars, increased inflation, increased interest rates, etc.), it takes a quarter, often years, from the time the CEO shifts focus on the most important initiatives until the organization adjusts its focus. However, with a digital application, it takes a maximum of two weeks. For instance, when the CEO wants to know the progress of the various key initiatives, the information is usually aggregated in Excel from multiple countries and filtered through the various levels of the organization, providing a snapshot of how things were weeks or even months ago. With a digital application, the CEO can see the real-time progress of the initiatives compared to the plan within five seconds, and these can be linked to the top and bottom line. If certain strategic initiatives are delayed compared to the plan, the CEO can proactively ensure that the relevant managers, teams, and employees (cross-functionally) increase the pace to catch up with the original timeline.

By embracing  enterprise execution software, CEOs can shape the future of their companies and secure their position in a fast-moving and competitive business landscape.

Katarina Bennich

Chief Marketing Officer

Howwe Technologies AB (publ) is a Stockholm-based international SaaS company targeting larger organizations. Its SaaS application Howwe® is a proactive tool that helps organizations to execute their strategies better and faster by visualizing, steering, and measuring the business and strategy acceleration in real-time throughout the entire organization. Howwe helps its customers to create provable and measurable financial results.





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The article "Bridging the Digital Gap: Overcoming CEO Reluctance for Successful Digital Transformation" addresses senior leaders' reluctance to adopt emerging technologies, emphasizing the risks it poses to companies' success. CEOs play a crucial role in driving digital transformation, but their hesitance can hinder progress. The article highlights the need for clear leadership, embracing digitalization, and prioritizing digital initiatives. Relying on outdated tools and lacking digital enterprise execution software further risks success. By embracing digital tools, CEOs can shape the future and secure their position in the competitive business landscape.
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