As businesses continue to embrace digital tools and technologies—especially when engaging with customers—C-level executives in a recent McKinsey survey say they are stepping up their own involvement in shaping and driving digital strategies. This is vital to the success of digital programs, as survey respondents most often cite a lack of senior-management interest as the reason for an initiative’s failure. Respondents also suggest that organizational alignment is critical to seeing real business impact from digital.

In the survey, we asked respondents about five digital-enterprise trends: big data and advanced analytics, digital engagement of customers, digital engagement of employees and external partners, automation, and digital innovation. Specifically, we inquired about their companies’ adoption of and focus on each trend, what impact digital technologies can (and do) have on their businesses, and what obstacles companies face in meeting their digital goals. We found that despite the organizational and talent challenges, executives remain optimistic about digital business.

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