Digital Transformation Report 2017


The world is changing faster than ever before. We are referring to this change as a revolution – the fourth of its kind – but what is remarkable about this revolution is the pace at which change is happening. Our customers are engaging in new ways and demonstrating completely new behaviors. New business models are arising in ways that, at first glance, may seem random. Product innovation is happening with an ease that is enviable. And the traditional definition of an organization, the notion of mobilizing a network of human resources and capabilities to pull in the same direction, is disappearing as companies are forced to adapt to the digital world and employees to new ways of working.
Understanding the new era

To navigate in the era of digital transformation, we need to understand both the motions and the key drivers that enable us to respond to the digitization of our society and our businesses. We have already spent some time understanding the scope of digital transformation, the ‘what’. But for us to adapt to new business models and new ways of strategizing, we also need to understand the ‘how’.

We have initiated this report to create a benchmark. By looking at the pioneers in digitization among Scandinavian companies and studying their best practices, we can learn from their experience – and we can create a framework to better understand the initiatives and the progress we are making towards the new world.

Currently, I would say that 50% of our development projects apply the lean startup approach. Two years from now, I expect it to be around; 70-80%.
It needs to be.

— Danske Bank

Key Highlights

Across the board, executives are focusing relentlessly on the use of digital technology to radically improve the performance and reach of their enterprises. Driven equally by new opportunities, emerging threats, and disruptive forces, they strategize and organize to make their businesses relevant and competitive in a digital era where transformation is no longer a goal, but a continuous journey that is seemingly picking up speed every day.

The focus in this report has been to investigate how executives work with digital transformation. To do so, we have interviewed corporate executives from the largest Scandinavian companies to understand what they do to build digital-first companies and get digital transformation right from a business perspective.

No executive is unaware of the massive power that digitalization will have on their business. The innovator’s dilemma, first uncovered by Clayton Christensen, demonstrates how successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right”, yet still lose their leadership – and ultimately fail – as new and unexpected competitors rise and take over markets.

Executives are as acutely aware of this as they are of the need to adhere to customer needs and adopt new technologies, and that the results achieved from mastering digital capabilities can be staggering. They fully recognize the opportunity to harness the disruptive force of technology, fuel efficiency, become increasingly agile, and ultimately shape their destiny.

The good news is that our brand is really strong. Engineers with a machine learning background want
to work for us because we have some of the most complex issues to solve. We hire amazingly skilled people, but it takes time to build an organization with
the required accumulated capabilities.

— Maersk

Build digital-first companies

Most of the writing about digital transformation either relates to the importance of digitalization or assesses executives’ expectations towards the level of future investments in digital technology and the effect this will have on future growth – either on a market level or for their specific businesses. When it comes to investigating how to manage digital transformation on a practical level, focus has traditionally been more on technology and solutions rather than on truly understanding how business executives approach and address the challenges involved across a variety of areas. For the purpose of this study, we have spoken with corporate executives from leading Scandinavian companies to understand what they do to build digital-first companies and get digital transformation right from a business perspective to gear their companies for the future.

Like to know more?

Take a closer look at how the largest Danish, Norwegian and Swedish enterprises address digital transformation in our three white papers or reach out to:

Jens Friis Hjortegaard
+45 29 69 69 22