By failing to involve more general staff, company leaders hinder the digital transformation progress

While businesses are doubling down on digital transformation (DX), new research from Futurum Research found that organizational leaders are leaving many of their employees behind in the process. The study revealed that 94% of all employees want to be more involved in DX, and almost half (44%) of the general staff say they simply don’t know how to help. This not only disenfranchises some employees, it can also slow the pace of DX success.

The global study, sponsored by Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA), surveyed executives, technology leaders, and general employees from over 500 enterprises in North America and Europe on the role company culture plays in driving DX success.

As company leaders accelerate the pace of DX in the wake of the pandemic, the research revealed many employees are eager to be part of the solution. But despite this enthusiasm, only 10% of general staff strongly agree they know how to contribute to their company’s digital transformation efforts. Interestingly, there is also still confusion at the top: even 14% of CEOs report they don’t know how to get involved.

“DX transformations are about culture as well as technology, and that means it’s essential that employees feel included in the process,” said Don Schuerman, CTO, Pegasystems. “Businesses should prioritize the tools and processes that break down operational silos and foster deeper collaboration to ensure all employees come along on this critical journey. By nurturing a vibrant DX culture powered by the right solutions, organizations can help ensure that no employee gets left behind.”

The research also uncovered three additional insights on how leaders should infuse DX into the fabric of their business:

  • Barriers to success must be addressed holistically: A majority of business decision makers (68%) believe improving customer experience is the most important DX driver, followed closely by automating existing processes (67%) and improving or updating processes (65%). While most agree on the ultimate goals, decision makers face a wider variety of roadblocks to reaching them, namely a lack of adequate skills (42%), partnerships (36%), and budget (36%). These holistic operational issues must be addressed – starting with training or hiring for these skills – to ensure DX success at scale.
  • Effective DX leadership drives top-down results: Who usually leads the DX charge? Only 18% of respondents believe it’s the CEO compared to 47% who identify the CTO or CIO. But when employees cite the CEO as the DX leader, employees report a more positive perception of DX, which can be helpful in building a stronger DX culture. For example, 67% of respondents from organizations with CEO-led DX expect to be ‘very effective’ in technology leadership compared to only 51% in CIO-lead organizations and 34% when the CTO leads.
  • Digital transformation is a journey on which no one should be left behind: Leaders need to find ways to bring all employees on the DX journey so they feel vested in the outcome – even in the smallest of ways. Respondents cite helping to train others on new technology (50%), being open minded about using new tools (40%), and voicing positivity about DX (35%) as the top ways they believe they can help – which are all relatively achievable. Broader employee participation at any level helps the DX culture permeate through an organization so businesses can ultimately better serve their customers.

“With the pandemic continuing to cause unparalleled uncertainty and disruption, businesses must examine every aspect of digital transformation to ensure they can keep pace and stay competitive,” said Shelly Kramer, founding partner and senior analyst at Futurum Research. “While culture is an often-overlooked aspect of DX, our research demonstrates employee engagement should be top of mind from the start to ensure sustainable success. Change is more successful when employees at all levels feel vested, not just the leaders at the top.”

For more information, download Futurum’s report “Four Insights on the Culture of Digital Transformation Today” at

In addition, join Futurum founder Shelly Kramer and Pega CTO Don Schuerman tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time for a candid discussion about the research on Shelly’s LinkedIn page at






Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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