Build cultures that embrace change.

The State of Optimized Organizations

feel encouraged to continually learn and test ideas
report having autonomy
often share ideas across departments
The foundation that sets digitally mature organizations apart from all others is a culture that welcomes change. Over time, these orgs have learned how to thrive by focusing on innovation, iteration, and disruption.

Encourage employees to explore new ideas.

Optimized organizations have put in the time, effort, and resources needed to make employees feel empowered. We believe their ability to quickly adapt and scale comes from establishing cultural movements, often from the top-down, that push employees to innovate and try new ideas. Our survey reveals that 83% of employees in Optimized organizations are encouraged to continually learn and test new ideas, but only 27% of those in the Limited group feel this way.

Optimized organizations encourage exploration of new ideas

My company encourages employees to continually learn and test new ideas.

We also found that employees within Optimized organizations feel much more autonomous. 63% of the Optimized group report a sense of autonomy in their work, while only 44% of the Limited group feel this way.

Stop doing things the way they’ve always been done.

Many organizations still run on inefficient processes and manual work that lead to error-prone data. Why? Because they continue to do things the way they’ve always been done.

Why do organizations struggle with workflow automation? You may think that lack of budget and IT resources are the problem, but these were low on the list. What rose to the top? “This is the way it has always been done.” In fact, 59% of respondents in the Limited stage reported this being their biggest struggle with advancing workflow automation. 

One in three organizations also stated that a reliance on legacy technology limits their ability to improve their workflows. This indicates an inability of technology to adapt and change to address business needs.

Organizations use manual workflows to maintain the status quo

It’s always been done this way
Reliance on legacy tools
Difficulty getting buy-in
Lack of IT resources
Limited budget
Why is your organization using manual workflows?

A similar trend emerges when we look into why organizations continue to rely on paper forms and documents: 34% say it's because this is the way it has always been done. If we segment the responses by digital maturity level, it becomes clear that inertia—a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged—is one of the biggest reasons digital transformations stall within organizations. We see that 24% in the Limited stage don’t see a reason to change, and 57% state they continue using paper because it’s the way it has always been done.

A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged is one of the biggest reasons digital transformations stall within organizations.

Less mature organizations use manual workflows because of inertia

Why is your organization using manual workflows?

When an organization’s leadership is satisfied with the status quo, innovation and advancement are stifled. Many respondents shared feelings of being limited in their ability to digitize their workplace because of their organization’s mindset. When asked what keeps them reliant on paper workflows, respondents said things like:

“Old habits to a degree”
“We are an old company, very traditional”
“People don't like change”
“We are working towards paperless, but some departments are having issues letting go of the paper”
“Honestly, having to fight in order to have any innovation funded, yet receiving complaints”
“We are falling behind innovation-wise”
“Routine internal transactions”

Make tracking data a primary concern.

Why do organizations get so stuck doing things the way they’ve always been done? Perhaps they don’t have enough information. Our research shows that organizations lower in their digital maturity lack the ability to track important data. Leadership in these less mature organizations may believe there’s no reason to change because they don’t have the data to surface issues. This lack of visibility could create a false sense that things are working efficiently.

Limited organizations are less likely to track key data

A list of the workflows that need to be updated
Which systems are the most financially costly to maintain
Which systems require the most time from our employees to maintain
A list of the manual processes that need to be automated
We track this
We don’t track this
Do you track the following? (Limited stages shown)

Optimized organizations understand the benefits of tracking data across different business functions and systems. We found that these orgs track three of the four categories we asked about at a higher level than orgs in all other maturity stages. For instance, 80% of Optimized organizations track which manual processes need to be automated, compared to only 22% of those in the Limited stage.

There’s also a secondary issue at play: The less digitally mature an organization is, the more likely it is to minimize the importance of tracking data. In fact, nearly one in three Limited organizations report data tracking as not important.

As organizations advance their digitization efforts, they begin to track more and more systems, processes, and business outcomes. This data visibility clearly plays a role in helping organizations identify inefficiencies and prioritize digitization efforts.

Key Takeaway

Moving up the digital maturity scale requires a corporate mindset shift. To reach optimal digital maturity, your organization must embrace change and create a culture that empowers employees to innovate and move beyond the way things have always been done. Data and technology need to be welcomed as key ways to identify and improve processes on your way to advancement.