New SAP Study Shows Growth Depends on Digital Skills Investment

LAS VEGAS — According to new survey results released by SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), business leaders who have completed digital transformation projects across their entire organization report significant increases in employee engagement compared to those with more limited initiatives.

Sixty-four percent of executives with broad-ranging digital initiatives say their employees are more engaged, compared with 20 percent among organizations that have completed transformation projects in single business areas. Successful transformation depends on people, highlighting the importance of workforce investments in driving digital business performance. The announcement was made at the SuccessConnect event taking place in Las Vegas Aug. 29–31 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Four Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” a digital transformation executive study by the SAP Center for Business Insight group and Oxford Economics, surveyed over 3,100 global business decision makers to examine the priorities driving digital transformation projects. The results show stark differences between organizations that have completed transformation projects and those that have yet to adopt digital strategies:

  • Eighty-three percent of digital transformation leaders expect digitalization to change talent management over the next two years. That figure compared with only 37 percent of organizations that have yet to begin digital transformation.
  • Respondents who completed digital transformation projects across their business have a more crystalized vision of the potential benefit across their HR processes, with 71 percent saying digitalization will make it easier to attract and retain the best talent, compared with 54 percent of other respondents.
  • About 52 percent of the businesses that have undergone digital transformation projects said they planned over the next two years to create new roles to reflect technological imperatives, compared with only 32 percent of companies that have yet to undertake digital transformation.

“Today’s leading businesses are putting their employees at the heart of their digital transformation strategies,” said Greg Tomb, president, SAP SuccessFactors*. “This research shows successful digitalization depends on people, with the most innovative and forward-looking companies committed to investing in their workforce to ensure they are properly equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Over a third of global companies believe that talent management and development are key drivers of digital growth. Some 31 percent agree that investment in employees’ digital skills would be the most important factor in increasing revenue in the coming years.
  • The banking sector showed the greatest commitment to increasing investment in digital skills over the next two years. Forty-eight percent listed it as the most important factor to driving profit growth, while 45 percent of the professional services sector rated improving employee engagement as the most important profit-driving factor.
  • Digital transformation has had a greater positive impact on talent retention and development on U.S.-based organizations than on those of many of their global counterparts. About 19 percent of American businesses surveyed said technology updates have completely or somewhat transformed their talent management processes, compared with only eight percent of UK businesses, seven percent of German organizations and five percent of Mexican businesses.

The study shows that a commitment to digital transformation pays off. Compared to other companies surveyed, digital leaders have stronger revenue growth and profitability today – and expect that advantage to continue over the next two years. In fact, digital leaders expect 23 percent higher revenue growth than all others in the next two years, and 80 percent of leaders say transformation efforts have increased profitability versus 53 percent of all others.

“Digital transformation is about more than investing in the latest technology,” says Edward Cone, technology practice lead, Oxford Economics. “People matter most – how they work, what they know, which skills they need in a changing workplace. Most companies have only begun to address these human factors, and those that fall behind may never catch up.”

HR professionals around the globe can join key sessions virtually at this year’s SuccessConnect in Las Vegas by registering at here.

For more information, visit the SAP SuccessFactors website and the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SuccessFactors and @sapnews.

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 355,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit

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*SAP SuccessFactors is a brand name launched in January 2016 and is used here to mean the offerings, employees, and business of acquired company SuccessFactors, which continues to be our legal entity until integration with SAP is complete.
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