4 Methods Digital Leaders are Accelerating Their Innovation Technique



By Thomas Holm Møller, Sri Prabhakaran, and Joongshik Wang

With many organizations feeling the warmth to remodel operations and exhibit outcomes, their digital investments are breaking data once more this yr, up 65% from 2020, in line with the EY-Parthenon 2022 Digital Funding Index (DII), a examine of 1,500 world C-level executives with digital transformation and expertise decision-making duty.

Pace and success are important. Almost three-quarters of executives (72%) say they have to radically rework their operations through the subsequent two years to compete—up from 62% in 2020.

Digital Efficiency Leaders
A choose group of “digital efficiency leaders” is separating itself from the pack.

This group, 8% of the survey pattern, consists of organizations with executives who “strongly agree” they lead others on digital initiatives. Respondents report that they’re extra prone to outperform on digital investments, and mature digital investments quicker.

Digital efficiency leaders are additionally extra prone to monitor efficiency on digital investments and generate higher monetary impression (Determine 1).

Determine 1: Monetary impression of digital investments as reported by survey respondents


The Secrets and techniques of Their Success

Digital leaders have achieved outsized worth creation by investing closely in foundational capabilities and constructing their groups, expertise, and information platforms. Leaders have taken 4 key actions to speed up their digital methods:

  1. Focus digital investments on innovation and new services and products. Leaders report that their 2021 digital investments improved buyer experiences (55%) and supported the launch of digital services and products (58%). And 48% say launching services and products might be a prime purpose for his or her investments.
  2. Keep a “fail quick,” agile tradition. Forty p.c of leaders, in comparison with 28% of others surveyed, say they preserve a fail-fast tradition that encourages staff to experiment and permits for elevated agility and velocity over earlier processes.
  3. Centralize working fashions with a robust, outcome-driven incentive system. The overwhelming majority (87%) take a centralized governance and oversight strategy to advantages and prices. These firms preserve a transparent incentive construction and measures of success. Almost eight out of 10 (79%) leaders have a proper program to establish, measure, and report digital outcomes. Leaders create an end result administration office-style governance program with an agile working mannequin to supply rigor, velocity, and that means to funding selections. This program may monitor use and buyer suggestions with real-time dashboards to supply direct enter into present and future methods.
  4. Empower workforce leads or change brokers to socialize and champion digital initiatives requiring extra scrutiny. A overwhelming majority of leaders have taken to coronary heart classes of the pandemic: retaining flexibility of their office, growing new methods to draw expertise, and formalizing approaches to measure digital funding outcomes. Digital leaders distinguish themselves by assessing the impression of firm tradition on digital transformation methods and initiatives: 46% say they take into account tradition adjustments when mapping digital methods, in comparison with 31% of others. Leaders are additionally a lot much less seemingly than others to quote expertise and abilities gaps and lack of alignment amongst organizational models as obstacles to attaining a excessive return on digital funding (RODI).

The Subsequent Frontier

Whereas others could select inorganic funding automobiles comparable to acquisitions for market enlargement or near-term monetary features, digital efficiency leaders use these investments to be taught and experiment, strengthen present buyer relationships, and assist cultural transformation.

Determine 2: Levels of digital funding maturity



Leaders are additionally distinguished by the progress of their investments in additional refined applied sciences (Determine 2), reporting full profit realization of bodily robotics and automation (72%, in comparison with 36% of others surveyed) and synthetic intelligence (AI) (39%, in comparison with 19% of others). Whereas most firms plan to focus their investments on cloud and Web of Issues (IoT) as they proceed to construct foundational information and analytics capabilities, leaders usually tend to put money into superior applied sciences comparable to blockchain (30% vs. 20% of others) through the subsequent two years.

The Hyperlink to Whole Shareholder Returns

One other examine discovered a robust connection between complete shareholder returns (TSR) and digital exercise, comparable to patents and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Current EY evaluation of the Russell 3000 (excluding Meta Platforms, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, asset managers, and regional banks) between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2021, reveals that firms that made natural and inorganic investments in digital innovation—particularly through patented expertise, company enterprise capital (CVC), or M&A—had larger TSR over the annualized three-year interval than firms above the median deal or patent household rely (see Determine 3).

Determine 3: TSR, digital deal rely, and digital innovation


In flip, firms above the median of digital deal exercise or digital innovation power executed practically 4 instances as many digitally centered offers—together with closed M&A or CVC funding of targets in a digital class previously 4 years—because the lowest quartile performers and had greater than 30% higher TSR (Determine 4). Innovation power is a multidimensional metric derived from digital-focused patent household statistics and rated relative to an organization’s Russell 3000 sector constituents.

Determine 4: TSR, digital deal rely, and digital innovation power


Accelerating Innovation for Tomorrow

The EY-Parthenon 2022 Digital Funding Index signifies that organizations that are actually investing closely in digital transformation efforts should proceed to measure outcomes and alter their plans accordingly. Throughout all sectors, firms might want to concentrate on scaling expertise options and realizing advantages as they step up their investments in high-priority initiatives.

The survey additionally illustrates the significance of selecting the correct mix of natural and inorganic automobiles. The digital leaders that make the suitable decisions could reap substantial rewards.


Learn the way EY-Parthenon groups may help you drive your digital funding technique.


The EY-Parthenon Digital Funding Index is a survey of senior executives from massive firms world wide, carried out by Oxford Economics between January and March 2022. Outcomes are based mostly on interviews with 1,500 world company executives about their digital methods and funding outcomes. Respondents embrace firms from greater than 30 international locations, throughout eight industries.


Thomas Holm Møller is EY-Parthenon EMEIA digital chief. Sri Prabhakaran is EY-Parthenon principal, digital technique and transactions at Ernst & Younger LLP. Joongshik Wang is EY-Parthenon Asean chief. The views mirrored on this article are the views of the authors and don’t essentially mirror the views of the worldwide EY group or its member companies.



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