Digital transformation driven by increasing competitive threats rather than innovation

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Competitive pressure is driving 70% of digital transformation projects globally, according to new research

With over a third of companies believing that failure to complete digital transformation projects will result in competitors taking advantage, market concerns are high when it comes to bringing internal processes and infrastructure up to date.

The survey of 300 global B2B organisations, of which 75% were manufacturing or wholesale, found that competitive pressures are coming from all sides. 38% believe the threat is from existing companies; 35% see pressure from new online market entrants; and 34% from cheaper overseas suppliers.

In order to compete effectively and to enhance the customer experience, 73% of global organisations believe that e-commerce plays an important or vital role in digital transformation. According to the research from Sana Commerce, which was produced by Sapio Research, nearly half of respondents say that e-commerce is at the heart of digital transformation because it's responsible for the customer experience.

Two thirds of organisations have a digital transformation strategy and 28% are acting fast – rolling it out quickly as possible, yet only 4% have actually completed the project, highlighting some disconnects between what IT wants to deliver and what it's able to execute.

There are a number of challenges that threaten the success of digital transformation projects, the survey found. Unsurprisingly, legacy technology was the biggest challenge with 41% naming it as an issue, but over a third believe that it is internal resistance to change that could hamper success.

Michiel Schipperus, CEO of Sana Commerce, comments "It's do or die when it comes to digital transformation projects for B2B organisations. We know that companies are feeling the pressure from increasingly online businesses competing in new territories. The research found that 72% of organisations believe they will sell 100% of their products online in the future, making markets wide open to further online competition."

The B2B market is tackling competitive pressures by using technology to deal directly with end users: 73% state that they will sell direct in the future. This may explain the rise of B2B marketplaces whose use is expected to grow by a third over the next two years.

In an industry that often plays catch up to B2C, the B2B market is using digital transformation to keep the organisation competitive. Over two thirds will use the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) to enable predictive ordering or automation; 68% will see sales completed using mobiles; 67% will use virtual reality to personalise the buying experience; and 61% will use driverless cars and drones for delivery.

About the survey

The survey of 300 B2B organisations in Europe, US and Australia and New Zealand was undertaken by independent market research company Sapio on behalf on Sana Commerce. The survey sample covered senior executives in leadership, IT, operations, sales, finance and marketing in the electronics, construction, automotive, food & beverage, and medical supplies industries.

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