Technology Not the Most Digitally Sustainable Industry, According to New Korn Ferry Index
- Financial Services Industry Ranks Highest; Consumer, including Retail, Ranks Lowest -
- U.S. and
- Companies that Continually Adapt to Changes in the Digital Economy Are More Profitable -
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The study, called “Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index,” is a measure of a business’s ability to adapt effectively and continuously to keep up with the constant state of flux in the digital economy.
“Being digitally mature today is not enough: the new economy demands
companies that are built to change, forever iterating,” said
As part of the study, researchers analyzed 362 companies in 14 countries and across five industries. The ranking is based on five core leadership and organizational dimensions of digital sustainability: Agility, Connectivity, Discipline & Focus, Openness & Transparency and Empowerment & Alignment.
The Index shows a correlation to profitability. High performers in the Digital Sustainability Index see a 5.6 percentage point increase in profit margin (EBITDA) versus the low performers.
Industry rankings on the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index
Researchers found that the Financial Services Industry ranked highest in the Digital Sustainability Index among the five industries in the study.
“Financial companies have, for some time, had the compelling commercial
drive to shift culture, processes and practices – seeking to protect
customer data and market share while meeting new customer and talent
Surprisingly, the Technology industry did not make the top spot in the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index, coming in at No. 2.
“The Technology sector is not only made up of the high-growth ‘unicorns’ and disruptors of the world, but also decades-old legacy tech giants in need of structural, cultural and work process reform,” said Werner Penk, President, Korn Ferry Global Technology Practice. “The more traditional firms – once pioneers of the industry – now need to overhaul their strategies and work processes to ensure future survival.”
Rounding out the industry rankings for the Index, in order, are: Life Sciences & Healthcare (No. 3), and Industrials (No. 4). Consumer companies, including retail, came in last at No. 5.
“Consumer companies are at a crossroads. Many have one foot in the
digital world and one foot in the traditional storefront,” said
Country rankings on the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index
Based on the dimensions within the Index, researchers found that
However, experts warn that to keep its top spot, U.S. companies must
look beyond pure-play technology to the human side of maintaining
success. “U.S. organizations must focus on improving the people aspect
of their business operations if they are to continue as digital
sustainability leaders and gain the long-term financial advantages
associated with it,” said
“The traditional dominance of the
The three countries that were at the bottom of the list on the Korn
Ferry Digital Sustainability Index were
“Clearly there are vast discrepancies in organizations’ capacity to continuously adapt to the digital economy across industries and regions,” said Swift. “But even for those companies that rank highly in the study, continuous improvement in this area is critical not only for success, but for survival.”
Korn Ferry’s Digital Sustainability Index (DSI) is based on economic
modeling commissioned by
The study combines proprietary
Industries: Consumer, Financial Services, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Industrials, Technology
Dimensions: Agility, Connectivity, Discipline & Focus, Empowerment & Alignment, Openness & Transparency
Tracy Kurschner, 612-309-3957