It is barely 20 years since Sergey Brin and Larry Page registered the domain name google.com, and only 10 years since Steve Jobs walked onto a stage in San Francisco and introduced the iPhone. Yet in this short period, digital technologies have upended our world. We introduced the Digital Evolution Index in HBR in 2015 to trace the emergence of a "digital planet," how physical interactions -- in communications, social and political exchange, commerce, media and entertainment -- are being displaced by digitally mediated ones. We identified many hotspots around the world where these changes are happening rapidly and other spots where momentum has slowed. Two years on, depending on where we live, we continue to move at different speeds toward the digital planet.
Digital transformation is sweeping the business landscape. Leaders are embracing it wholeheartedly because they recognize its power. But as companies advance from pilot programs to wide-scale adoption, they often run into an unexpected obstacle: culture clash. Being a digital organization means not only having digital products, services, and customer interactions but also powering core operations with technology. Becoming one, therefore, requires a tectonic change in the activities employees perform as well as in their individual behaviors and the ways they interact with others inside and outside the organization.
Digital transformation is no longer "good to have," but also "crucial for survival." Enterprises that embrace this change open up a host of opportunities for themselves. On the other hand, those that resist digital transformation often risk losing their customers. While 87% of organizations are aware that digital will disrupt their industry, only about half of these companies are prepared for potential digital transformation. How do enterprises make the shift to a digital way of working?
We are in a period of massive and irreversible disruption. Businesses in every industry are undergoing change at unprecedented speed. For companies that fall behind on digital transformation, playing catch up will feel something like running after a moving train. Until recently, all things tech-related fell on the CIO's shoulders. Creating a strong digital strategy has become a top item on the CEO's agenda.