The performance uplift was largely independent of the transformation focus, indicating that companies are doing a good job on one of the key components of an integrated strategy: focusing transformation programs on where they can drive most value. And while there appears to be a minimum threshold of investment for a digital transformation to succeed, our research has found that success is not characterized by the amount spent on the transformation but rather by comprehensively addressing the six key success factors.

Companies that have been successful in the first wave of a digital transformation report much greater success in scaling those capabilities to create broader, sustainable change. “Win zone” companies—those where the transformation’s target value was met or exceeded and sustainable change created—on average report a 1.5 times greater achieved success in scaling digital capabilities across the entire organization compared with companies in the “woe zone,” which achieved less than half of their target value and created no sustainable change. This is a huge advantage—as many executives tell us, it’s one thing to deliver a “point-solution success” but quite another to drive the adoption of new technologies and ways of working at scale across divisions and regions.

Leaders’ Focus

For companies that have already scaled an initial wave of transformation initiatives, the emphasis is clearly shifting from digital reengineering to innovation. (See the exhibit, “Companies Shift from Reengineering to Innovation as They Successfully Scale Their First Wave of Digital Transformation.”) These companies used the first wave of digital transformation to address the all-important basics of their core businesses, digitally reengineering customer journeys as well as sales and marketing channels and using digital solutions to improve productivity. Now, companies that have successfully scaled their transformations are shifting their focus to innovation—both in the core and with new ventures. Successful digital transformers are upping the ante, and as they leverage their digital skills to innovate faster and better, the gap will widen between winning digital transformers and their laggard competitors.