Breaking ground in new markets and industries

Industry explorers are fighting for their futures and breaking ground in new markets and industries. Despite having some of the boldest aspirations, this group puts the least emphasis on its employees and customers. Fewer than one-quarter explicitly incorporate digital strategy into overall corporate strategy. There’s opportunity to be had by embracing digital as a force for cultural, process and strategic change.

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It’s time to move beyond IT
Adopt more advanced ideas of digital to survive.

Despite being the group facing disruption most immediately and actively, 37% still see digital as synonymous with IT. As the playing field shakes out, those who espouse that limited definition stand to fall the furthest behind.  Realize the promise of digital and survive disruption by embracing broader definitions of digital.

You’re missing the mark on experience
There’s work to be done before it’s too late.

Explorers are focused on the core goal of coming out ahead in a disruptive environment. But it will be difficult to get there without a focus on experience. This group is the least likely to have effective experience strategies and investments when customer and employee experience aren’t paying off (fewer than 20% have seen better customer outcomes or stronger talent retention and recruitment).

Now What?

Experience is the difference between coming out ahead or finding yourself disrupted and left behind. Acknowledge this, dedicate resources to experience and assign ownership to senior leaders. Experience, of employees, of customers, is everything and impacts profits, not just people. Employees drive the customer experience, and getting it right is worthwhile—customers say they’re willing to pay a 16% premium for a better experience.

Facing disruption head on
To find your way and come out on top, shift your mindset – stat.

Many industry explorers are in a difficult period of disruption --one where industry stalwarts and new entrants are duking it out for supremacy. Even so, just 31% believe their business faces a serious threat from digital disruption. Worse, only one-quarter say their investments have successfully helped them disrupt their own or other industries.

Now What?

Struggling industry explorers should follow the lead of their more successful peers. That will require a collaborative effort from all parts of the organization and strong commitment to upskilling, no matter how different their processes, systems, and cultures have been in the past.


Ignore the future at your peril
Lacking the digital know-how to lead, it’s time to reflect and change.

Industry explorers have found themselves in a tough spot: only 22% say their leaders are digitally savvy and help employees think in new ways, just 36% say the executives responsible for digital are involved in high-level strategy and only 23% are explicitly incorporating digital strategy into broader corporate strategy. This lack of digital fitness at the top bakes limitations into the entire organization.

Now What?

Industry explorer executives will need to begin to boost their own digital savvy. Bring in fresh thinking and help steer momentum. Consider, for instance, Mattel’s hiring of digital media executive Ynon Kreiz who built out a stable of YouTube stars—brought in to instill a more problem-solving, creative,entertainment culture, and ultimately, to invigorate lagging sales on legacy products partly using data-and-consumer-driven insights.


Unprepared in uncharted territory
Time for more than a basic upgrade.

Industry explorers allocate a large share of digital budget toward creating a more digital workforce. But they’ve got a long way to go--only 18% say the investment is paying off in better talent retention and recruitment. Just over half say they’ve changed their recruitment and training processes to build a more digitally-savvy workforce, but only 38% say their employees are digitally savvy now.

Now What?

To meet aspirations of breaking into new markets, develop a new mindset around digital skills and ways of working. Make it a priority to adopt a training structure that builds basic digital skills and instills a collaborative working style. If it seems like you don’t have the time, find it. This is crucial to survival.


At DEFCON 1? It’s do or die.
Radical change is a must to survive disruption.

Industry explorers are most likely to be in the midst of disruption, whether they realize it or not. Many are falling short financially: Only 31% have seen profit growth over the last three years. Many find themselves without the right leadership know-how, digital strategy and skills needed to compete successfully. Just 38% say their workforce is digitally savvy. Only 22% say their leaders are. Even industry explorers with the right mindset need a radical and immediate action plan to change course.

Now What?

Weave digital into broader corporate strategy, from tech decisions and adoption to the experiences created for customers and employees. Upskill your leaders and bring new ones in to change up the pace. Set the workforce up to gain the new skills they’ll need, change their behaviors, and adjust their mindset to work in more agile, cross-department ways. You’ll need it to break new ground.

Want to explore a different company aspiration?

Click on an aspiration to see how each group is managing digital experience, disruption, leadership and workforce--and the financial impact of those decisions.