Global Report: New Insights into Making Digital Transformation Work

XL Catlin-sponsored study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

New York, NY (June 15, 2017) – According to an XL Catlin-sponsored study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS), Operationalizing Digital Transformation: New Insights into Making Digital Transformation Work, 43 percent of companies surveyed are achieving positive outcomes from digital transformation investments, especially those using digital technology at all levels of operations, from supply chains and distribution networks to compliance activities and analytics. These digital transformation leaders, however, stand in sharp contrast to many other organizations that are finding digital transformation more of a challenge.

The report provides insights into the state of digital transformation worldwide, showing what differentiates digital transformation leaders and looking at the new risks these companies face including those associated with new technologies and the risk of disruption by competitors ahead of the digital curve.

Key findings include:

  • While a minority of companies—43 percent—are achieving positive outcomes from their investments in digital transformation (leaders), they stand in sharp contrast to those achieving only modest benefits (followers) and negligible benefits (laggards).
  • Leaders are considerably outpacing the other two groups in business performance, with 73 percent reporting increased revenues, versus 20 percent of followers and 12 percent of laggards.
  • Among Digital Transformation leaders, 68 percent report improved profitability, versus 25 percent of followers and 14 percent of laggards.
  • Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents say their core business is at risk of digital disruption from other businesses that may be further along the digitization path or quicker on the draw.
  • Nearly 50 percent say they will, at the least, lag behind their competitors if they fail to do a better job of interconnecting the various parts of their businesses digitally.
  • More than 80 percent of companies say the biggest risk associated with digitization is not embracing it.
  • Legacy systems, siloed operations/information systems, and budgetary constraints are the top three challenges that organizations face in leveraging digital capabilities to improve operations.

Greg Hendrick, President Property & Casualty at XL Catlin commented: “As re/insurers, it is imperative that we understand how the use of digital technologies is transforming the way our clients across all industries work and the risks they face. Studies like this will help us gain insights and look ahead so we can help our clients address these risks to achieve the full benefits of digital transformation throughout their entire operation.”

Alex Clemente, Managing Director of HBR-AS noted “It’s somewhat logical that many organizations began their digital transformation at customer touchpoints, being driven by consumer demand. However leading organizations know that back office functions (e.g. general operations, supply chain, and distribution) are equally fundamental to operationalizing digital transformation.”

The HBR-AS study surveyed 335 respondents across a wide variety of industries around the globe and the report includes commentary from digital transformation experts as well as insights from other published research. Survey respondents represent regions in the following percentages: North America 31%, Asia-Pacific 27%, Europe 23%, South America 9%, Africa 7% and other regions 2%. As a result the study offers a global view of the state of digital transformation, which the re/insurance and reinsurance industry must help enable across the wide range of businesses it supports.

Read the full study: Operationalizing Digital Transformation: New Insights into Making Digital Transformation Work.

About XL Catlin’s Insurance Operations

XL Catlin insurance companies offer property, casualty, professional, financial lines and specialty insurance products globally. Businesses that are moving the world forward choose XL Catlin as their partner. To learn more, visit

About XL Catlin

XL Catlin is the global brand used by XL Group Ltd (NYSE:XL) insurance and reinsurance companies which provide property, casualty, professional and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises throughout the world. Clients look to XL Catlin for answers to their most complex risks and to help move their world forward.

About HBR Analytics Services

HBR Analytics Services is an independent commercial research unit within Harvard Business Review Group, conducting research and comparative analysis on important management challenges and emerging business opportunities. Seeking to provide business intelligence and peer-group insight, each report is published based on the findings of original quantitative and/or qualitative research and analysis. To learn more, visit

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