92% of IT Leaders Say Digital Transformation Requires a Dual-Track Approach, New Report From Quick Base & Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Shows

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Low-code leader partners with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services on Dual-Track Transformation Report, finds that effective digital transformation requires rapid-cycle innovation in addition to enterprise-wide efforts

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The findings of this report were super clear: Companies need to expand on conventional approaches in order to empower their employees to solve problems and reach their full potential.

Quick Base, the leading low-code platform for operational agility, today issued its Dual-Track Transformation Report developed in partnership with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, surveying its audience of IT leaders. Key findings indicate that focusing on enterprise-wide transformation alone is not enough, but instead a dual-track approach – which also addresses rapid-cycle innovation across business unit workflows – is critical to driving lasting digital transformation success.

Organizations today are facing historic disruption: changing the way we work and navigating what the future of work looks like has made fast, effective digital transformation no longer a nice to have, but a requirement for survival. COVID-19 has intensified the need to flex and evolve transformation efforts to better prepare for future disruption as well as seize new market opportunities.

“The pace and scale of innovation now is like nothing we’ve ever seen before - businesses need to move even faster and drive operational agility in order to adapt and prepare for basically anything,” said Ed Jennings, CEO, Quick Base. “But despite existing large-scale digital transformation efforts, siloed data, onerous processes and rigid systems are holding people on the front lines back. The findings of this report were super clear: Companies need to expand on conventional approaches in order to empower their employees to solve problems and reach their full potential.”

Two tracks, lasting digital transformation

According to the report, only 22% of executives surveyed rated their transformation strategies as “very effective” and 39% of said that a lack of a cohesive enterprise-wide transformation strategy is a key factor when organizational transformation goals are not met. Additionally, 92% of respondents said that success requires an approach that combines innovation at both the enterprise and critical business-process levels, identifying the need for a dual-track approach:

  • The first track -- an enterprise-wide orientation -- focuses on identifying and implementing new digital technology throughout an organization, while simultaneously attempting to change cultures and business workflows impacted by digitization. While important, this big-picture approach is complex and time consuming, and benefits may take years to materialize. This explains why most executives surveyed are dissatisfied with current transformation results, and why a dual-track approach is imperative.
  • The second, parallel track focuses on areas often overlooked in grand-scale transformation strategies: their business's ability to rapidly connect and modernize the hundreds of essential processes that cross business workflows and workgroups. This is achieved by enabling rapid-cycle innovation, which empowers business professionals outside of IT to propose and create new applications for modernizing existing workflow processes, with goals of achieving quick wins for the business and supporting long-term transformation. In fact, 48% of survey respondents say that distributed innovation is important for speeding responses to competitive pressures.

Based on survey findings, it’s clear that respondents understand the value of promoting both enterprise-wide transformation and rapid-cycle innovation: In addition to the 92% of executives who say successful transformation requires a dual-track effort, four out of five (80%) respondents from that group strongly agree that this approach is essential.

Low-code viewed as key enabler of successful dual-track transformation

In order to pursue a dual-track approach and ensure long-term success, organizations and business teams must have a tool to fulfill the promise. Cloud-based low-code technology enables business professionals to create their own applications and services outside of IT. More than half of survey respondents (52%) say that a primary benefit of low-code platforms is that they encourage business leaders to be more involved in innovation and idea generation -- which is the driving force behind rapid-cycle innovation.

Speed is another key factor: 44% of executives surveyed say a top benefit of low-code is helping organizations deliver business applications more quickly than with traditional development processes. The importance of this benefit may only grow as business leaders consider how the Covid-19 pandemic places a greater premium on agility and the ability to respond faster to wide-scale disruptions.

Javier Polit, CIO at Mondelēz International, has seen these benefits materialize within manufacturing facilities, marketing departments, and other areas of the large CPGs where he’s served as CIO. “Many quick wins came to life at lightning speed,” he says. “When companies start using these platforms, they create a significant step-change between themselves and their principal competitors.”

While respondents see the potential advantage for supporting rapid-cycle innovation with low-code tools, security and compliance gaps rank by far as their biggest concerns, with more than half of executives surveyed saying they fear “shadow IT” applications created outside of IT will not meet necessary requirements.

These concerns are real, but low-code platforms can be implemented safely and securely with an operating model that enables partnerships between business teams and IT across workflows. Together, they can develop a strategic framework that enforces governance and security policies, while still empowering rapid-cycle innovation and ongoing collaboration between business teams and IT.

Fortunately, CIOs with direct experience in this area say these requirements are achievable and, once addressed, dual-track transformation can deliver significant benefits for organizations.

To learn more about report findings, please RSVP here to join Quick Base for a webinar on August 18 at 12 p.m. EST that will be moderated by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, featuring Quick Base CEO Ed Jennings and Javier Polit, CIO at Mondelēz International and Quick Base board member.

About the Dual-Track Transformation Report from Quick Base & Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

To compile the Dual-Track Transformation Report report, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with Quick Base conducted an online survey with its global audience of readers in April 2020 to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced with digital transformation processes. A total of 445 survey respondents represent a variety of industries including technology, with roles spanning middle management to senior executives, board members and the C-suite.

About Quick Base

Quick Base is the trusted platform for continuous process innovation at enterprise scale. As the first cloud application development platform to support safe, secure and sustainable citizen development, Quick Base helps more than 6,000 customers, including over 80 percent of the Fortune 50, continuously perfect the processes that make their businesses unique. Visit QuickBase.com to learn more.

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Chris Shattuck
ARPR on behalf of Quick Base
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