Key areas of opportunity across people, process, and technology in 2023
High-tech and software companies continue to have compelling visions for their organizations and make strides to foster digital agility within them. Many are taking a more optimized approach to product development, data-driven decision-making, people strategy, and the overall operating model.
But there’s still progress to be made in enhancing serviceability and overall agility. West Monroe’s recent signature research reports, Be Digital and Building a Digital Organization, highlighted how consumers, leaders, and organizations are embracing digital—and what that means for employee engagement and business outcomes.
West Monroe’s research highlighted four key areas of opportunity for high-tech and software companies in 2023.
In the high-tech and software space, responsibility for digital strategy still falls primarily to a combination of C-suite leaders—but not every organization reports that this arrangement is effective. While a slight majority (54%) of those surveyed feel the C-suite’s involvement advances their organization’s digital vision, 39% believe the C-suite inhibits it.
17% say their full C-Suite is responsible for digital vision
25% say it sits with one member of the C-suite team
22% outsource it to a separate transformation team
Tech companies have an inherently digital nature, enabling leaders to serve as connectors across all areas of the organization. When tech organizations are able to center functions around the product, there’s a greater sense of collaboration and greater opportunity for growth. In a digital operating model, every department is oriented around the customer—and priorities are set accordingly. Effectively scaling requires the right tooling, practices, and structure to allow teams to operate efficiently—with the right leaders to bring teams along. It’s important for all leaders to be held accountable, with technology leaders being positioned to serve as the key connector for product led growth.
Action: High-tech and software organizations can task all leaders with the responsibility of “being digital” beginning in the C-suite and extending to the entire organization.
In an industry fueled by the need to stay ahead of the curve, it didn’t come as a surprise that tech executives gave themselves high marks for their technology readiness, mindset, and adoption. However, there is a divide in how companies are actually putting those tools and learnings to use. While the tech industry’s baseline is high—with a strong majority (85%) believing their operational infrastructure is flexible to current needs—less than half (43%) are prioritizing data capabilities from analytics to literacy in their growth plans.
Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed believe their organization is “very effective” at having a digital-first mindset, showing progress in this area with room to evolve. The ability to identify data and centralize it for analysis is key; from there, teams can better develop insights and test and learn in real time, encouraging more collaboration and actions rooted in data.
In today’s macroenvironment, organizations need to continue making investments in systems and processes, people, and customer insights. It’s prudent for organizations to be thoughtful and pragmatic around the ROI for each effort. Investing in product features that are going to yield the greatest response while leveraging the most efficient process along the way will be key.
Action: Leaders should consider shaping an operational infrastructure that enables projects, collaborations, and iterative work with decentralized decision-making.
At a time when perfecting the customer experience and keeping up with rapid market changes is critical, using responsive data to inform central business priorities can be a secret weapon. Just 30% of leaders interviewed reported that their processes are automated and digitally powered where possible, ensuring human efforts are focused on business differentiators. Using data for things like product development, evolving existing projects, and guiding everyday decision-making can make both short- and long-term impacts, delivering value throughout the organization.
Survey respondents weighed in on how data is used in their organizations on an ongoing basis. This revealed an increased focus on making smart, informed, and fast decisions.
Centralizing and leveraging data from all teams—including newly acquired teams with different practices and tools—could lead to greater product enhancements, creating overall efficiency and greater outcome quality, with initiatives being rooted in insights. Organizations can better position themselves for the future by routinely using data around consumer engagement and buyer behavior, usage data, social sentiment, and internal data like talent retention in day-to-day decision-making.
Many scaled organizations, some with tens of thousands of developers, feel like they haven't cracked the code on how to efficiently run R&D operations. In order to prioritize time to market and efficiency, standardizing tools and processes sooner than later will equip organizations going into 2023. Structure matters less than efficient, scalable processes rooted in data.
Action: Embedding data in everything an organization does will help drive forward new initiatives and enhance product offerings and digital solutions. Having the right tools in place and the ability to leverage insights can lead to greater business success.
As the world evolves to rely ever more heavily on technology, tech companies are increasingly focused on their broader stakeholder group—from boards and investors to the communities they serve. But customers’ needs must be met as well: 77% of companies report they are investing heavily in the customer experience.
Our Be Digital survey revealed that customer priorities are increasingly guiding every aspect of strategy and decision-making by high-tech sector executives, with 93% stating their organization is very or somewhat effective at putting the customer at the center of everything, from strategy to experience.
Customers’ Top Priorities
Organizations with a digital mindset do more than listen to their customers annually or quarterly. They do it year-round and in real time, testing assumptions and seeking feedback from customers throughout the product development and upgrade process.
Action: Customers increasingly hold the power, with their behaviors influencing products and services more than ever before. Embracing a digital mindset and understanding customer insights to iterate and differentiate will help keep your organization in the lead.
While high-tech & software organizations are ahead of the curve in implementing digital solutions and leveraging data, creating a digitally agile organization beyond technology-specific teams will optimize how talent is used and ultimately drive stronger business outcomes. Digitally enabled collaboration and empowered leaders allow organizations to continue to grow, evolve, and drive strong results. Digital organizations can more strategically serve customers and make more optimized decisions, creating greater efficiency and ROI along the way.
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