One in 10 UK companies now employ a chief digital officer, PwC survey finds

One in 10 UK companies now employ a chief digital officer, PwC survey finds

One-in-10 UK companies now employ a chief digital officer but one fifth of those without one say this is because digital is now integral to the way their company does business and doesn't need a specific job description, according to PwC’s latest Digital IQ report.

The survey paints a positive picture of the levels of digital understanding and adoption among UK organisations as compared to the global average. It shows that UK business chiefs are more committed than their global counterparts to strengthening digital and technological capabilities as a way to capitalise on new growth opportunities, with 25% in the UK saying they want to do this, versus just 15% globally.

“UK organisations have come a long way over the past decade and it’s positive to see them now leading on many aspects of digital transformation. It's important that we now build on this rapidly,” said Marco Amitrano, head of consulting at PwC.

The survey also reveals that UK executives are more confident than the rest of world that their senior business leaders understand digital technology, with eight in ten (83%) of respondents agreeing their chief executive’s digital IQ was high, compared to the global average (62%) and just 57% in the US. Moreover, 74% of UK executives would go as far to say that their chief executive is actually a champion for digital, above the global average of 68%. This is much improved from just 33% globally ten years ago.

"Gartner predicts that this will be the first year CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs, as this human element of digital becomes increasingly important. With increasing numbers of the C-suite now involved, organisations need to be clear on digital ownership and outline a clear strategy,” said Jonathan Tate, UK and EMEA technology consulting leader.

"Transforming customer engagement has often been the first step many have taken on their digital journey, largely led by marketers, but we're now seeing competition for investment start to emerge from operations and back office functions too."

The overall number of UK companies investing heavily in digital (over 15% of revenues) has doubled, with investment in emerging tech focusing particularly on IoT and artificial intelligence. The report indicates that UK businesses have clear strategies in place about using technology, as half of UK executives say that their approach to emerging technology is business-driven, rather than shaped by vendors.

"The next step to unlocking value from digital investments is to focus on the human experience. Employee and customer interactions should be considered every step of the way, meaning the marketing function is integral to a company's ability to transform,” added Jonathan Tate.

PwC’s Digital IQ survey, now in its tenth year, is based on the responses of 2,218 senior business and IT executives from 53 countries, including 203 from the UK.

Robyn Darbyshire

Robyn Darbyshire is a content editor at The Drum, writing and editing across print and digital editions as well as helping to manage production processes. She looks after Creative Works, Trending and Shelf Life in the magazine.

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