Stat Watch: The Frenemies of Digitalization

Data can be an enterprise's best friend or its worst enemy.  

Being able to collect, analyze, and leverage customer and enterprise data across channels and departments can help organizations make better decisions in nearly every area - from their business model to the ways they deliver personalized customer experiences. Without a database to support agile and scalable use of that information, however, those heading "digital transformation" projects in their enterprise are held back regardless of ambitions.  

New survey results from Couchbase of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises across the U.S., UK, France and Germany paints a bleak picture. Despite, on average, organizations spending $5.67 million on digital innovation and transformation projects in the last 12 months, 84 percent of respondents have had digital projects canceled, delayed or reduced in scope because of the limitations of their legacy database (95 percent are using one or more legacy databases such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MySQL, etc.).  

While technology is an easy scapegoat, one can see how difficult it would be to replicate an industry disruptor, which is often a startup building its technology infrastructure from scratch and deploying a mobile-first customer experience. In fact, aside from lack of resources, the complexity of using multiple technologies and the reliance on legacy database technology top the factors holding back digital decision-makers' ambitions to use data for new digital services in their organization.

All of this "will they; won't they; can they" chatter around digital transformation is making folks uneasy. In fact, 73 percent of the IT decision-makers surveyed in Couchbase's study believe they could be fired as the result of a poorly implemented or failing digital project. What's more, 54 percent believe organizations that do not keep up with digital transformation will go out of business or be absorbed by a competitor within four years.


Only seven percent of companies feel that their organization can test new ideas and deploy them quickly. This echoes employees' own sentiment about their company's work culture, with only 37 percent of respondents stating that their organizations foster an environment of innovation, experimentation and risk-taking (compared to 75 percent of senior executives who believe so).

(Capgemini, 2017)


Domino's Pizza executives point out it is as much a tech company as it is a pizza company. Out of 800 people working at Domino's headquarters, 400 employees work in software and analytics.

(Harvard Business Review, 2016)


A digital transformation strategy is retailers' number one priority in 2017 with 69 percent of executives indicating they plan to increase their investment in digital transformation over the next year. More than half of respondents - 52 percent - have not defined or started implementing a digital transformation strategy yet.

(JDA Software Group, Inc./PwC, 2017)


A vast majority (80 percent) of medium- to large-size enterprises believe their industry will be disrupted by digital trends. And most of those (84 percent) said their industry has either passed the inflection point of disruption or will pass it by 2020-less than three years away.

(Harvard Business Review, 2017)