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The Mckinsey survey – urgent insights for your business


“The future will belong to companies that put technology at the center of their outlook, capabilities, and leadership mandate.” 

That’s the bold opening statement of the latest Mckinsey global survey write up entitled, THE NEW DIGITAL EDGE: Rethinking strategy for the post-pandemic era.On one hand, it sounds like something we’ve been hearing forever, but digging deep into the article it becomes clear that this statement has taken on new and urgent impetus, especially given the huge digital leap forward resulting from the global pandemic.

Their write-up’s not short, so, for the time-poor, here are some key takeaways.

The pandemic sped up digital adoption by several years.

The survey found that the adoption of new technologies sped up by between 3 to 7 years in the span of only a few months. Digital acceleration is also being seen in businesses core practices. What was previously considered a healthy rate of technology adoption back in 2018 is now slow. So even businesses that were patting themselves on their back in these areas may now need to reassess.

Business models themselves are being disrupted faster than ever.

Not only has Covid-19 changed the pace of digital adoption, but some respondents reported that their fundamental business model is becoming obsolete as well. Only 11 percent of respondents believe that their business model will still be economically viable by 2023, whereas 64 percent of people say they know that they need to build a more digital business to be viable into the future. 

Companies missing opportunities are increasingly vulnerable to disruption.

Mckinsey also discovered that many companies are missing opportunities to invest in improving areas of their business that could be vulnerable to digital disruption. It’s worth considering that If the pandemic has accelerated the overall digital landscape more disruptive offerings may be in the pipeline that we even realise now.

Digital investment needs to target emerging risks.

The findings of the survey point to a key problem that may be happening in some companies: not everyone is investing where they should be to minimise their digital vulnerabilities. It is important to look across the whole business, identify potential risks and make sure that investment is targeted to the right areas.


Digital transformation is an increasing career differentiator for senior staff.

There was also a strong indicator that technology is being seen as increasingly important by businesses when hiring. Therefore it has become necessary for senior staff to take a strategic approach to digital transformation and many are seeing it as a way to differentiate themselves.

Tech-savvy leadership and people help set high performers apart.

A key factor in the high performance of digitally savvy companies is how tech-savvy new hires are. Having the right people driving digital and innovation is crucial.  High-performance companies also recognise the importance of tech-savvy leadership teams and the importance of accessing experts in the tech field. It’s also noted that a single savvy leader is not as effective as a high-quality team. The survey found that “the majority of current leaders lack the knowledge or experience to pioneer ways to apply new technologies or consistently identify how new technologies can transform their business.”

Companies already ahead in digital capability are outperforming slower competitors.

Possibly the most important point the article makes is that companies that are already significantly ahead of their competitors in their digital capabilities are economically outperforming the slower ones. “The results suggest a clear link between the technology endowment and economic outperformance.” 

Top performers were bolder innovators

The survey found top performers were more boldly innovative and gained a larger market share of their industry because of it. In some cases, they even invented new markets which they now lead.

Digital disruption in every industry is here to stay.

With the pace of change now even faster than expected companies need to recognise that innovation has become a key ongoing differentiator across most industries.


The good news in all this: As kiwis, we have a great culture of innovation. The bad news: we sometimes fail to invest properly in executing our innovative ideas. Overall the pace of change in the modern business world can seem overwhelming, yet in our experience, many kiwi businesses are embracing innovation as an exciting journey that can open opportunities beyond what we as a small nation often imagined.


At Applicable our mission is to unleash kiwi innovation in the digital space. We specialist in transforming businesses through innovative digital journeys, both at the strategy level and as long-term execution partners building highly intuitive mobile apps, cloud software and custom web experiences.