IT Budgets & Strategy

Digital Strategy in 2021

While 2021 has seen a gradual return to “normal,” organizations are continuing to future-proof their infrastructure through digital strategy initiatives. How are overall digital strategies shaping up for decision-makers in 2021?

In this One-Minute Insight Report, Pulse surveyed 337 technology decision-makers to understand:

Data collected from July 28 - September 9, 2021

Total respondents: 337 tech decision-makers

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The COVID-19 pandemic affected many decision-makers’ digital strategy: executive buy-in increased along with accelerated project timelines

86% of respondents report that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their digital strategy.

Of those who say the COVID-19 pandemic affected their digital strategy, 56% say it increased executive buy-in of digital strategy, 55% say it accelerated project timelines, and 48% say it put a greater focus on agile deployment.

“Covid brought a sense of urgency to many projects.”

- Director, large education company

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are accelerating their digital strategy initiatives—and budgets are following

Almost half (47%) of respondents say there are 10-20 initiatives currently ongoing as part of their organization’s digital strategy.

Over two-thirds (69%) of decision-makers report their digital strategy covers a period within the next year, with 31% saying they are targeting two or more years ahead.

A majority (82%) of respondents expect their organization’s budget for digital strategy to increase over the next 12 months.

“Digital strategy is very crucial now for every forward-looking business. [The] right ideation, process, people and culture is key to the success.”

- C-suite, small consumer goods company

Leaders are prioritizing cybersecurity and data management with business back-end architecture the critical target

When it comes to their organization’s ongoing digital strategy, respondents say they are currently prioritizing cybersecurity (63%), data management (55%), and customer experience (52%).

Over a third (35%) of decision-makers say business back-end architecture is their most critical target for their current digital strategy.

“Our digital strategy is extremely broad and deep in some areas.  I think a digital strategy that is more targeted has a better chance of delivering expected results.”

- Director, mid-size utilities company

IT is the biggest target for digital transformation with most using internal teams to accomplish their digital strategy

87% of decision-makers say they are targeting the IT department for their digital transformation strategy.

When it comes to who handles the digital strategy, 62% of respondents mostly use internal teams, while some (33%) are using a mix of internal teams and contractors.

“Going digital is not an IT project, [it] has to be embraced by all areas and IT is the enabler.”

- C-suite, small professional services company

While many feel they have the business support and budget to achieve their digital strategy goals, others find budget and headcount a challenge

Decision-makers feel business support (61%) has adequate coverage for their digital strategy success, as does budget (54%) and tools (50%).

However, implementing their digital strategy comes with challenges. 56% of respondents say budget, 49% say headcount, and 42% say tools are the most challenging areas when implementing their digital strategy.

“Taking a holistic view which stretches beyond just business and IT requirements is essential to [a successful digital strategy].”

- Director, large manufacturing company

“Everyone wants it, no one wants to pay for it, and no one knows how to do it. Vendors promise the stars, and deliver a lightbulb.”

- C-suite, large finance company

Leadership is critical to the success of the digital strategy—and most are using KPIs to measure success

When it comes to achieving that success, most decision-makers identified leadership (41%) as the most critical factor.

The success of a digital strategy is measured by KPIs being met (51%), increased employee satisfaction (50%), and customer growth (49%).

“You need a strong, inspirational/motivational leader to drive the strategy and foster the change management environment.”

- Manager, large healthcare company

Respondent Breakdown

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