At Sherpany, we value leaders' thoughts on current business issues and trends. In our quest to increase the productivity of their leadership meetings, we are always eager to understand the challenges they are facing. This helps us to adapt our services to their needs and match their expectations.
But how do we get to know leaders' way of thinking? One way is to communicate with them, another is to make use of research and studies. One important example for the latter is the swissVR Monitor, a bi-annual survey conducted jointly by our partner swissVR, Deloitte, and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The latest edition of the swissVR Monitor surveyed 396 board members of Swiss companies and focused specifically on digitalisation. This survey provides us with important in-depth insights into how Swiss leaders think about this topic.
In this article, we have compiled the five most important findings for Sherpany. It includes actions we consider taking in the future to meet leaders' expectations better.
In general, directors involved in the research have an optimistic view on digitisation. Nonetheless, they also made a few critical statements about certain aspects that generate concerns.
Cyber threats are the main concern: 69% of the respondents agreed that digitalisation increases security risks. Today, companies need to have a cyber-risk plan that incorporates infrastructure security, auditing and control, data protection, and mobile service security. Sherpany ensures data security and the protection of highly confidential data by meeting several security standards and by being compliant with both European and Swiss data laws.
Another major concern: 57% of respondents mentioned that the investments digitalisation requires put pressure on their companies’ operating margins and results. Our learning from this was that a better understanding of the ROI of digitalisation is essential. That is why we always address openly this issue when it comes to our meeting management software. Our calculations for one weekly management meeting shows that by using Sherpany a company can save 8000 EUR a year by reducing the time spent on meeting management, and the cost of meeting materials.
In addition, 39% of respondents agreed with the statement that digitalisation increases information overload and creates unnecessary additional complexity. Sherpany aims at reducing complexity by offering an easy-to-use, elegant in design software that organises the entire meeting management process in one single platform.
Only one out of six directors surveyed strongly agreed that their management team (18%) and board (19%) have an appropriate level of digital know-how. Many realised the importance of broadening digital knowledge: 45% seek to recruit individuals to their board who have specialist expertise in digitalisation, and 54% report that their board uses internal workshops and external continuing training courses to broaden its digital know-how.
At Sherpany, we have digitally savvy Customer Success Managers who onboard our new customers and train them on how to use our software. Once leaders are using the software, we personally assist them with their particular inquiries and offer workshops. The findings reinforce our plans to invest in our User Experience and User Interface activities in order to increase the usability of our software and ensure good user experience. In that way, we make sure that every new user will be able to adopt Sherpany without particular outside help and no matter what his/her digital understanding is.
The directors highlighted the positive impact digitalisation is having on their work. 87% of respondents agreed that digital technologies and tools make the board more efficient and lead to cost and time savings. 83% said that real-time data accelerates access to information, boosts agility, and enables board members to react more effectively in a crisis. 79% agreed with the statement that digital technologies enable better communication, make discussion more effective, and improve decision-making.
We interpret these answers as a sign that leaders are increasingly becoming aware of the value of digital tools for their work. Sherpany helps directors improve efficiency (our claim: get time back), save costs, and boost agility in leadership meetings. This year, Sherpany introduced the framework of agility in leadership meetings to raise awareness of the opportunities that agility brings to meeting management. We believe that with the support of digital tools and an agile framework, all leaders are able to increase their meeting efficiency.
In the swissVR Monitor survey, board members had to select up to three corporate positions or bodies they believed to be the real drivers of digital transformation within their companies. By far the most cited answers were the board of directors as a body (48%), the CEO (46%), and the management team as a body (43%). One interesting finding is that board members see the CEO as much more important for digital transformation than the president of the board (fourth most cited answer, 17% of all responses) or individual members of the management team (16%).
The results confirmed our assessment that the CEO is the single most important individual in a company to drive digitalisation. Often, the CEO drives the management team to push for digital initiatives and also brings relevant information about digital to the board in order for them to make informed decisions. This means we have to increase our efforts to better understand how CEOs think, and how we can support them in pushing for digital innovation.
We believe that all leadership teams, including the management, can benefit massively from digitalisation, also in their leadership meetings.
Over the past three years, digitalisation has moved up from the fourth to the first rank of the most important topics discussed by boards. 79% of all directors now believe that digital strategy should be an integral part of the overall business strategy. Also, the overwhelming majority (82%) agrees that digitalisation opens up new business opportunities and new scope for sales and revenue. Three-fifths (60%) think that their company has made more progress towards digital transformation than its competitors.
The fact that directors increasingly recognise digital transformation as a fundamental way to ensure success is a sign for us that digitalisation will further grow over the coming years. Most businesses still find themselves in a hybrid state of an analog and digital way of doing business and digital is yet to fully penetrate all sides of business. The general optimism of directors regarding the benefits of digital and their taken measures also points towards increasing digital activities.
This reassures us that companies are ready to drive the digital transformation of their formal meetings at the leadership level: C-level, senior and divisional management, and board of directors. In that way, Sherpany contributes to a more efficient, agile, and digitalised business environment.