24% of execs don’t know why tech is important – Citrix

Despite the domination of internet companies in recent years a recent report from Citrix and Warwick Business School showed there are a worrying number of execs who still don’t get technology.

What has to happen to get the message through to some people? Uber is on its way to crippling taxi’s worldwide, online news has spelt out the end for print media, music streaming destroyed the CD and AirBnB has forever changed the hotel industry. The connected era has fundamentally redefined several industries in an earth-shattering manner, yet the Citrix research claims 24% of executives don’t know why organisations are placing a greater emphasis on the technology.

This statistic in itself is truly baffling, and has to wonder how these executives have managed to tie their shoelaces in the morning, let alone get themselves a board position on what we can only assume is a real company. How some ‘business leaders’ fail to see the world becoming digital, therefore businesses have to become digital as well is incredible. The level of short-sightedness (the optimist take) or ignorance (the realist take) is truly baffling.

The report itself reveals several statistics which reveal why some tech leaders believe 40% of today’s organizations will no longer exist in 10 years. When first hearing this estimate during the Nordic Digital Business Summit in Helsinki, your correspondent was sceptical and believed it to be an exaggeration to shock potential customers into action, but after reading the Citrix report I’m starting to see some logic behind the estimate. Maybe it’s a bit low…

The importance of technology has been screamed from all corners including thought leaders, early adopters, politicians, the press, consultants, vendors and the customers themselves. With this much noise, why is it certain ‘business leaders’ still need to be convinced on the importance of implementing technology as well as adapting business models for the connected era. Baffling is a word your correspondent has used a couple of times in this story so far, but I believe it to be the most suitable. It’s truly baffling.

Other revealing statistics include 27% of UK board-level execs do not believe their organisation has time to build digital into the strategy (It’s not a choice; do it or go out of business), 14% of businesses do not plan to adapt working practices at all in order to incorporate digital methods across the organisation, 36% are struggling to adopt technology fully into the business strategy (but at least they are trying) and 15% of businesses are still communicating with their customers via fax.

“The clear division around digital transformation at board room level in the UK is worrying. Companies aiming to develop bold strategies and place an emphasis on long-term innovation, supported by every member of senior management, are far more likely to succeed in this digital era,” said Jon Cook, Director of Sales for UK & Ireland at Citrix.

“While the UK remains a global leader across many fields, the prospect of Brexit and growing international competition means businesses need to develop a real competitive edge. It is a pivotal time for businesses in which technology and driving digital is key.”

“Organisations that take advantage of digital technologies to redefine business and IT processes will be significantly more productive and, therefore, more competitive.”

The importance of digital does not seem to be getting through to everyone in the UK, and there is a sense of a ‘it won’t/couldn’t happen to me’ mentality. Spotify, Facebook, AirBnB, Uber, Amazon, Netflix and Buzzfeed have all risen to prominence, while simultaneously condemning others to the trash, through the adoption of technology and the creation of digital business models. Woolworths, Blockbuster and HMV didn’t and look what happened to them. Unless these ‘business leaders’ sort themselves out, we could be adding a few more companies to the trash pile in the near future.

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