Bridging the Digital Gap: Overcoming CEO Reluctance for Successful Digital Transformation


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In the face of rapid technological advancements, the digital revolution has become imperative for companies to remain competitive and thrive. However, a significant challenge lies in the reluctance of senior leaders, including CEOs, to embrace emerging technologies identified in a recent study by EY. This article aims to highlight the critical connection between the findings from the EY study, which reveals the hesitance of senior leaders to adopt emerging tech, and the potential risks this poses for a company’s success and competitiveness in the modern business world.

Senior Leaders’ Reluctance to Embrace Emerging Technologies

The EY study indicates that a considerable portion of friction in digital transformation stems from senior leaders, with nearly two-thirds of managers perceiving them as slow to embrace emerging technologies. This reluctance from top executives to adopt new technologies hampers progress and creates a barrier to successful implementation of digital initiatives within organizations.

CEO’s Role as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

In parallel, CEOs play a pivotal role in driving digital transformation throughout their organizations. While other roles and departments have embraced digital tools and processes, the CEO role often lags behind. This aligns with the findings of the EY study, suggesting that senior leaders exhibit reluctance to adopt emerging technologies.

For companies to successfully navigate the digital revolution, CEOs must take the lead in embracing digitalization and driving the necessary changes. Clear leadership from the CEO is crucial in setting priorities, fostering a digital culture, and ensuring that the entire organization is aligned with the digital transformation vision.

The Risks of CEO Reluctance

The reluctance of senior leaders, including CEOs, to embrace emerging technologies carries significant risks for companies. CEOs often rely on analog tools like Excel to execute their strategic goals and initiatives. This reliance on outdated methods impedes progress and is a contributing factor to the failure of around 90 percent of strategic initiatives, such as digitalization and automation.

In a time of rapid change and intense competition, companies that fail to adapt and embrace digital tools risk falling behind and even facing failure. The study by EY reinforces the notion that senior leaders’ reluctance to adopt emerging technologies hinders the organization’s ability to succeed and remain competitive in a digitized world.

The Need for Digital Transformation Support

Implementation of digital enterprise execution software such as Howwe addresses these risks and bridges the digital gap. The CEO is the only executive role today that lacks an application to accelerate, monitor, and track what the board and they consider as most important. These initiatives are often cross-functional at the executive level and contribute to the highest increase in revenue, profit, and shareholder value, which are the most important aspects and what the CEO is measured on. Is it really unnecessary to be able to track and accelerate these initiatives if they are not meeting the deadlines? Are the CEO’s focus and goals really less important than those of the sales or finance manager, for example? Is it optimal to work analog or through PowerPoint and Excel just because it has always been done that way in the past? When the CEO conducts enterprise execution through talking or communicating via PowerPoint, or tracks progress in Excel, it becomes unclear, unactionable, unmeasurable, and takes too long to achieve the desired financial goals.

For example, in the case of disruptions (war, trade wars, increased inflation, increased interest rates, etc.), it takes a quarter, often years, from the time the CEO shifts focus on the most important initiatives until the organization adjusts its focus. However, with a digital application, it takes a maximum of two weeks. For instance, when the CEO wants to know the progress of the various key initiatives, the information is usually aggregated in Excel from multiple countries and filtered through the various levels of the organization, providing a snapshot of how things were weeks or even months ago. With a digital application, the CEO can see the real-time progress of the initiatives compared to the plan within five seconds, and these can be linked to the top and bottom line. If certain strategic initiatives are delayed compared to the plan, the CEO can proactively ensure that the relevant managers, teams, and employees (cross-functionally) increase the pace to catch up with the original timeline.

By embracing enterprise execution software, CEOs can shape the future of their companies and secure their position in a fast-moving and competitive business landscape.

Original post:–overcoming-ceo-reluctance-for-successful-digital-transformation,c3792609

Katarina Bennich
Katarina Bennich is an experienced communication manager skilled in content production, brand building, corporate communications, and marketing strategy. Currently VP & CMO at Howwe Technologies, she excels in B2B marketing, branding, and campaigns. With a background in investment advising and trade promotion, Katarina brings a unique perspective. She holds a bachelor's degree in Media, Communication, and Journalism and possesses expertise in SaaS, internal communications, crisis communications, and strategic planning.


  1. The rapid advancements in technology have made digital transformation a necessity for companies striving to remain competitive in today’s business landscape. It is concerning to note the reluctance of senior leaders, including CEOs, to embrace emerging technologies, as highlighted in the EY study. This article underscores the critical role of CEOs in driving successful digital transformation and emphasizes the potential risks that organizations face when senior leaders hesitate to adopt new technologies. To secure long-term success and maintain a competitive edge, CEOs must take the lead in embracing digitalization, setting clear priorities, fostering a digital culture, and ensuring organizational alignment with the digital transformation vision. By doing so, they can navigate the challenges and position their companies for growth and innovation in this rapidly evolving digital era.


    Michael Wichkoski

  2. Hi Michael, couldn’t agree more. CEOs and senior leaders lag behind and it has a huge impact on the company’s ability to grow and stay competitive. Feel free to head over to if you want to learn how our solution for growth is changing how companies work with the first solution developed from a CEO and business perspective.


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