Digital transformation ROI frustrates UK CEOs

Tensions are starting to show between CEOs, boards and management teams when tackling digital transformation projects, according to some of Britain’s biggest businesses.

In a study, 150 CEOs revealed they are frustrated by short-termism and the pressure from their board to deliver results on multi-year digital transformation projects, with 72% citing unreasonable expectations for return on investment (ROI) related to digital transformation.

Tech investments

Instead, leaders wanted their boards to take a long-term view of tech investments, with 64% advising the company would only begin to see ROI in artificial intelligence (AI) in three to five years after the initial outlay.

Similarly, more than half of the CEOs agreed on the same ROI timescale for process automation technologies like robotics.

Despite its challenges, the disruption is welcomed by UK CEOs. The vast majority of the CEO cohort (95%) agree that it is more of an opportunity than a threat, but 86% are overwhelmed by the time needed to make progress.

Digital skills

“Digital transformation is no longer a choice, it’s an essential driver of revenue, profit and growth. Business leaders need to move away from simply fulfilling client needs, in sometimes laborious ways, to using technology achieve results with more depth, efficiency, and decrease the probability of error,” commented Lisa Heneghan, Partner and Digital Transformation Lead, KPMG UK. 

“The reality is that digital transformation isn’t a simple change that can be implemented overnight and deliver results straight away. It requires embracement of innovative breakthrough technologies, investment in digital skills, and retraining the existing workforce.”

CEOs also noted they are uncertain about the long-term impact technology would have on the size and shape of the workforce, advising that it would not necessarily result in a smaller workforce in the immediate future.

Written from press release by Leah Alger

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