Riverbed found that 99% of business decision makers agree that optimizing digital performance is essential to business performance, and 98% agree that digital, including the delivery of digital services and applications, is critical to the future of their business.
However, 95% of these same business decision makers say that major barriers – including budget constraints, legacy networks and lack of visibility – are holding them back from advancing digital strategies and delivering the performance and customer experience required in today’s digital world.
The global survey, which includes responses from 1,000 business decision makers at companies with $500 million or more in revenue across nine countries, also found that while digital services and applications are critical to future business success, 80% of respondents reported that critical digital services and applications are failing at least a few times a month.
Awareness is high, need is immediate
The need for companies to provide a successful digital experience for customers, partners and employees is well recognized, and it continues to grow in importance. Some 91% of global business decision makers agree that providing a successful digital experience is even more critical to the company’s bottom line than it was just three years ago.
Likewise, 99% of global business decision makers believe their company would benefit from improving the performance of their company’s digital services and applications. They see this happening primarily through:
- Improved customer/user experience and satisfaction (53%)
- Greater market agility (49%)
- Increased revenue/sales and profitability (49%)
- Increased employee productivity (49%)
- Faster time to market (48%).
Hurdles to implementing a digital strategy are real
However, it is widely recognized that inadequately performing systems today are a key limitation to a successful digital strategy. In fact, of the 95% of global business decision makers who said they face significant challenges when it comes to achieving a more successful digital strategy, most cited multiple challenges including:
- Budget constraints (51%)
- Overly complex or rigid legacy IT infrastructure (45%)
- Lack of full visibility across the digital or end user experience (40%)
- Lack of available or appropriately-skilled personnel (39%)
- Lack of buy-in from leadership on prioritizing digital initiatives (37%).
And of the nearly 80% reporting that critical digital services and applications are failing at least a few times per month and impacting productivity and the end user experience, nearly one in four experience failures at least several times a week. When critical digital services fail, every minute matters. Half of the survey respondents say the maximum acceptable time to resolve digital performance issues is within an hour, and nearly 20% said within minutes, recognizing a digital service failure can cost companies millions of dollars in lost revenue, and significantly impact customer loyalty and brand reputation.
Business leaders are well aware of the impact these failures can and are having on their businesses. The consequences expressed include:
- Loss of sales and revenue (42%)
- Delayed product launches (41%)
- Loss of customers (41%)
- Loss of brand loyalty (41%)
- Loss of employee productivity (40%).
Investing to maximize digital performance
Smart business leaders are looking to put greater emphasis on the management tools and infrastructure underlying digital services. In fact, 99% say that visibility across the digital experience is critical to measure and manage it successfully; and 98% of global business decision makers believe that a modern IT architecture that delivers greater agility is important to improving digital performance.
Businesses also say the time to act is now. More than 3 of 4, or 77% of global business decision makers say it is critical that their company invest in improving the digital experience for users or customers in the next 12 months. The key areas business decision makers see themselves making investments in the next 12 months include:
- Modernizing networks and infrastructure to drive greater agility (60%)
- Ability to better monitor and manage the end user’s digital experience (59%)
- Improving service desk capabilities (59%)
- Accelerating development of applications (58%).
A significant number of business decision makers also identified cloud solutions and emerging technologies as key drivers of the digital experience moving forward. Nearly all, 99%, of global business decision makers believe the use of cloud technologies is important to their companies’ ongoing digital strategy, and business leaders would like their companies to invest in emerging technologies such as:
- Data Analytics (60%)
- Internet of Things (59%)
- Blockchain Technology (48%)
- Machine Learning (47%)
- Artificial Intelligence (47%)
- Virtual Reality (36%)
- 5G Networks (21%).