When business leaders talk about going digital, many are uncertain about what that means beyond buying the latest IT system. Companies do need assets like computers, servers, networks, and software, but those purchases are just the start. Digital leaders stand out from their competitors in two ways: how they put digital to work, especially in engaging with clients and suppliers, and how intensively their employees use digital tools in every aspect of their daily activities.
Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference.