UK businesses talk the talk on digital effectiveness but don’t walk the walk

The gap between what UK businesses say and what they do about digital is significant.

A survey commissioned by digital product agency Code Computerlove has highlighted a significant gap between UK businesses knowing what drives digital effectiveness and their current digital practices.

The findings were part of a larger study exploring the opinions and digital practices of UK businesses. The survey questioned just under 500 companies about their attitudes to digital effectiveness and digital practices. It also compared the views of the top performing businesses with those of their mainstream counterparts.

While 97% believe that user-centricity leads to better outcomes, overall, only 65% said that they put user needs at the heart of their development. Comparing top performing businesses and the mainstream, three-quarters of top performing businesses say they put the user needs at the heart of their development but only half of the mainstream group say the same.

It was a similar result looking at ‘belief’ and ‘practices’ regarding cross-disciplinary teams with just over 70% of all respondents implementing this approach (despite 97% saying this is necessary for success). Again top-performing companies are slightly more advanced towards multi-disciplinary teams in comparison to their mainstream counterparts (81% versus 66%).

While 96% of the company respondents agree team learning and reflection is a necessity for digital transformation, half (52%) of organisations don’t take time out to learn and reflect. A mere 40% of mainstream businesses said that their teams take time out to learn and reflect on what they are doing.

And looking at practices around long term versus short term goals; while a massive 92% say businesses that concentrate on the long term are likely to be more successful, in practice 53% actually admit to focusing on short-term targets. Only 35% of the mainstream group said that they focus more on long-term goals than short-term targets.

Other key findings in the survey include:

  • 56% of businesses questioned still leave testing to the end of a project;
  • Only 51% can attribute ROI to specific digital projects;
  • Less than half actively look for waste in processes to maximise value.

Tony Foggett, chief executive of Code Computerlove, said: “While our survey was primarily designed to show levels of awareness around Product Thinking, a mindset and approach to digital product development, it was striking to see the difference between what companies think will help them drive digital effectiveness and what is happening within their businesses.

“There is clear consensus that digital approaches need to be customer-centric, agile and data-driven, all principals that fall into the Product Thinking mindset that we implement. But all business – whether they are out-performing their competition or not – seem a way off actually truly embracing these techniques.”

Foggett added: “The survey also highlighted that while most companies agree what the basic principals of a digitally transformed business are, it is the execution that makes the difference between best performers and the rest. The gap between thinking and doing is much smaller for top-performing companies than it is for their mainstream counterparts.

“While it’s impossible to prove that the implementation of these Product Thinking ideas is responsible for ‘success’ in the top performing businesses, the correlation is extremely strong. In organisational culture, management approach, development philosophy, every area of business practice we looked at showed the firms who acted on the product philosophy were more likely to be successful.”

Founded in 1999, Manchester-based Code Computerlove became part of the Mediacom Group in 2016. Major clients include Hillarys Blinds, BBC, Center Parcs and Manchester Airport Group.

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