Manufacturers show overwhelming willingness to improve their customer experience, but many face organisational obstacles, according to research from Valtech and Gartner Peer Insights

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Valtech, a global provider of digital services and business transformation, in collaboration with Gartner Peer Insights, has released a global report surveying 100 global manufacturing leaders about the current state of progress in digital transformation and the underlying challenges.

The report shows an overwhelming willingness to change and modernise customer experiences, but also identifies obstacles manufacturers are facing.


The report, titled Customer Experience vs. Rising Operational Cost: Global Manufacturers Speak Out on Digital Transformation looked at the current moods, priorities and internal decisions that manufacturing leaders are making to guide their companies forward through digital transformation. 

Key findings include: 

Organisations are Committed to Improving Customer Experience and are Starting to Break Down Organisational Silos

  • When asked about their organisation’s maturity in creating helpful and flexible customer experiences, 91% have either enacted strategies and tactics to modernise their client interactions or are aware they need to change it.
  • 62% of respondents report that digital transformation projects are going well, are hopeful about future opportunities, or feel positive about organisational change. This points to an overall positive sentiment or willingness to embrace digital transformation.
  • While organisations’ digital transformations are overwhelmingly (74%) led by traditional IT departments, almost all (97%) report at least occasional or regular communication and collaboration among the IT, sales, marketing, and production departments on their projects.

“The survey shows that the appetite for digital transformation to enhance customer experiences has moved past the conceptual phase for many manufacturing companies, and is firmly into the implementation stage,” said Charles Desjardins, EVP, North America for Valtech. “Embracing digital throughout any organisation can be a challenge. From the survey, we see that organisations are realising that the key to a successful transformation is that they need not only have buy-in at C-level, but also close collaboration and communications among all departments – not just IT, but also sales, marketing, and production.”

Obstacles to Progress, both Organisational and Technological, Remain

  • Over the next year, organisations in the survey cite rising costs of operations (79%) as by far the biggest threat to business success in transformation projects. Less cited but still significant obstacles include changing customer expectations (42%), loss of control for pricing (37%), new entrants into the market (35%), multiplication of sales channels (33%), and supply chain management (32%).    
  • For technology obstacles, the greatest threat was a lack of integrated marketing-technology stack components (69%), resulting in siloed data, while respondents also grapple with tools not being used to their full potential (55%). Additional challenges they cite include the difficulty in scaling legacy systems (51%), missing personnel or skills (34%), and a lack of buy-in from the C-suite (15%).

“Organisations are cognisant of economic headwinds and technological obstacles to completing their transformation. But still, most organisations in B2B understand they must grow towards delivering one Customer Experience to their clients.” said Herbert Pesch, Industry vertical lead for B2B at Valtech. “To do so, they have to solve the many complex challenges of connecting and integrating different services, platforms, departments, data sources etc. Bringing all this together in one client centric Customer Portal or Services Platform, organisations that can solve this puzzle best and transform fast will have the best starting point to seize the many digital opportunities the coming years in B2B.”

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