BearingPoint has been researching the digital maturity of companies in Europe for many years in a row. Conducting the Digital Leaders Study (DLS) in multiple European countries has enabled us to identify long-term trends and compare various sectors. We have repeated the research in the Netherlands using the same approach and categories to compare our results nationally and with other countries.

The overall picture shows Dutch companies as relative strong performers within Europe. There are fewer low performers within the country, which is an important difference when compared with our 2018 research. It confirms that companies broadly embrace Digital to meet today’s client expectations, digitize processes to reach the required efficiency gains or to shift to another business model to differentiate from the competition. In digital commerce, omnichannel strategies have become common (2018: 56%, 2020: 73%) and most companies are adopting ‘mobile-first’ strategies (2018: 84% mobile-responsive websites, 2020: 98%).

Next to these positive developments, the study shows that the gap is increasing between companies that get the ‘basics’ right and those that excel in most digital domains (a 48% score difference between the best and worst performers). Some companies seem to be stuck midway, lost in complexity and lacking speed in their transformation, while the outside world steps up the pace of digital innovation. The digital frontrunners understand that keeping things small builds momentum and if they start moving by using what is available to them (stripping out dependencies), they are more likely to create a larger impact.

Now Digital has become the ‘new normal’, the challenge is to remove the last - often non-technological – barriers to truly become a customer centric and data-driven organization. Digital leaders aim to solve today’s urgent challenges:

  • Digital Marketing & Sales have not yet achieved ‘deep-personalization’. Despite the abundance of technological possibilities, many companies still don’t know the true aspirations and context of their customers’ needs. It requires a mindset change to focus less on the transaction moment and rather coach individual customers to reach their goals.
  • After the big wave of technology migrations, which did not bring the desired results, companies realize that they have underestimated the value of simultaneous people transformation. Adopting new, ever-evolving technologies and sustainable competency building is now a priority.
  • Companies like to talk about new digital technologies and the need for ‘data’ (AI, big data, the connected concept, predictive/prescriptive analytics). However, they often lack a solid data foundation and still need to master even basic data visualization and interpretation.
  • How can organizations change the internal culture, old beliefs and way-of-working they require to operate in this digital age? Employees need to make the shift to experimenting (test & learn), fact-based decision making and prioritizing customer needs over internal arguments. It sounds easy but we still see many failures in go-to-market (lack of experimentation skills), gut-feeling decisions (while data proves the contrary) and decisions based on internal politics (ignoring customer stakes).
  • Although many organizations are well-equipped for incremental innovations, they often lack a development stream for radical innovation. The real game-changers always show a simultaneous change in their technological solutions, their business model, the value proposition and in their (customer) processes. Companies are digitizing their front- and back-end processes but they are too slow to develop a new, future-proof business model, digital in its core.

Overall, this year’s research reveals the positive development of digital leaders in the Dutch market. It’s clear that the main digital transformation challenges have less to do with technology and more with people’s competencies, mindset and culture. It encourages a positive view of the future: both start-ups and corporates will make bold moves to position themselves for a new era of growth and to create sustainable value for their customers.

  • Digital Leaders in The Netherlands 2020
    Digital Leaders in The Netherlands 2020 3.92 MB Download

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