21 Facts On The Value Imperative To Embrace The Digital Economy

Peter Johnson

Part 1 of the six-part blog series “Facts on the Future of Business”

Innovation in the business world is accelerating exponentially, with new disruptive technologies and trends emerging that are fundamentally changing how businesses and the global economy operate. To adapt, thrive, and innovate, we all need to be aware of these evolutionary technologies and trends and understand the opportunities or threats they might present to our organizations, our careers, and society on a whole.

With this in mind, I recently had the opportunity to compile 99 Facts on the Future of Business in the Digital Economy. This presentation includes facts, predictions, and research findings on some of the most impactful technologies and trends that are driving the future of business in the Digital Economy.

To help simplify your ability to find facts for specific topics, I have grouped the facts into six subsets, and below is the first of these:


The opportunity is NOW

72% of global CEOs believe the next 3 years will be more critical for their industry than the last 50 years.

Source: “2016 Global CEO Outlook,” Forbes Insights.

Companies today are 460% more likely to fail within five years than they were in earlier decades. Creative destruction is accelerating as companies invest in intangible assets such as databases, proprietary algorithms, and expert workers, instead of physical assets such as factories and inventory.

Source: “Strategy When Creative Destruction Accelerates,” Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

By 2020, 85% of a customer’s brand experience will occur without any human interaction.

Source: “How Omni-Channel Customer Experiences Drive Brand Transformation,” Centric Digital.

Globally, 47% of business application users waste more than 10% of their day waiting on technology to deliver content, data, or results after they interact with a business application. That adds up to more than 24 working days lost per year.

Source: “Mind the Gap,” Oxford Economics.

In-memory computing speeds are 1,000 to 1 million times faster than the previous most advanced computing techniques, enabling Big Data analytics processing to be reduced from hours or days, to real time.

Source: “Global In-Memory Computing Market – Growth, Trends & Forecasts (2016 – 2021),” Research and Markets.

By 2020, 50% of digital transformation initiatives will fail due to the lack of an end to-end customer experience operating system.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research, Inc.

40% of CEOs fail within their first 18 months.

Source: “Predicting CEO Performance,” Korn Ferry Institute.

By 2018, 60% of enterprise IT will be off-premise and in the cloud, driven in large part by the shift to public cloud services.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research, Inc.


Immense value

Companies with 50% or more of their revenues from digital ecosystems achieve 32% higher revenue growth and 27% higher profit margins.

Source: “Thriving in an Increasingly Digital Ecosystem,” MIT Sloan Management Review.

CEOs with greater competency to manage complexity achieve 83% higher market cap, 78% greater earnings per share, and 18% more revenue.

Source: “Predicting CEO Performance,” Korn Ferry Institute.

Industrial companies are planning to invest 5% of their revenues annually to digitally transform their enterprise, with 55% of their investments expecting a payback in two years or less.

Source: “Industry 4.0: Building the Digital Enterprise,” PwC.

Since 2009, a stock portfolio comprising the brands that provide the simplest customer experiences outperformed the major indexes. The Simplicity portfolio grew +433%, S&P +135%, DAX +116%, and FTSE +52%.

Source: “Global Brand Simplicity Index 2017,” Siegel+Gale.

Innovative brands experience brand value appreciation 9 times more than brands that are perceived to be less innovative.

Source: Kantar Millward Brown, BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands


Competitive differentiation

Only 5% of organizations feel that they have mastered digital to a point of differentiation from their competitors.

Source: “Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer,” Accenture.

Only 16% of finance executives from midsize companies believe their company is truly successful at driving innovation.

Source: “Survey Results: The Finance Function – Driving Successful Innovation,” Cherry Bekaert LLP.

Only 9% of companies have access to real-time data for financial analysis and planning, and only 18% use predictive modeling to analyze Big Data.

Source: “AFP FP&A Benchmarking Survey,” Association for Financial Professionals. 

65% of B2B customers say their B2B experience does not match their consumer experiences on Amazon.com and similar sites.

Source: “How Will You Change Buyers Into Stakeholders,” EY.


Cyber security

92% of companies have experienced commercial consequences as a result of a data breach.

Source: “The Reality of Data Breaches in 2016,” Gemalto Breach Level Index.

In 2016, 80% of companies purchased a stand-alone cyber security insurance policy, up from 51% in 2015.

Source: “2016 RIMS Cyber Survey,” The Risk Management Society (RIMS).

Technological advancement is outpacing security. If our digital economy is to thrive, our commitment to cybersecurity must match our commitment to innovation.

Source: “Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy,” Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.

60% of small businesses will close within six months of a cyberattack.

Source: “Small Business Online Security,” StaySafeOnline.org.


To view all of the 99 Facts on the Future of Business in the Digital Economy, check out the Slideshare or other subsets below.


To see the rest of the series, check out our page Facts on the Future of Business,” every Thursday, and we will cover the six topics:

  • The value imperative to embrace the digital economy
  • Technologies driving the digital economy
  • Customer experience and marketing in digital economy
  • The future of work in the digital economy
  • Purpose and sustainability in the digital economy
  • Supply networks in the digital economy



Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is a Senior Director of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership at SAP, responsible for developing easy to understand corporate level and cross solution messaging. Peter has proven experience leading innovative programs to accelerate and scale Go-To-Market activities, and drive operational efficiencies at industry leading solution providers and global manufactures respectively.