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Research by Valtech and Copperberg finds current market conditions are shifting manufacturers’ focus on early value creation for digital investments

March 28, 2023

Annual global survey of manufacturing industry leaders finds digital investments are shifting towards short term value creation. Many see opportunities in offering eCommerce and digital services in an integrated way through customer portals. This can only be achieved by solving the organizational challenges facing large manufacturers, like bridging gaps between siloed departments.

March 28, 2023 – Global business transformation agency Valtech, in collaboration with Copperberg, has released its second annual global research report titled the Voice of Digital Leaders in Manufacturing 2023, which surveyed global B2B digital leaders and decision makers from large industrial manufacturers.

Compared to the results from last year’s report, this year’s findings indicate a shift in manufacturers’ priorities towards digital investment against a backdrop of business disruptions, organizational change challenges, and customer demand for digital transactions. As a result of business strategies evolving, digital maturity and ambition levels have been impacted:

  • Almost half of the respondents (47%) said they will increase their digital investment budgets by up to 20% in 2023 – a decrease from last year’s 63%.
  • The number of respondents who increased their digital investment budgets by more than 20% in 2022 has dropped from 20% to 3% in 2023.
  • When asked about their organization’s digital maturity in building resiliency and improving foundational services, 63% of manufacturers state their digital maturity is on par with their competitors.
  • While the majority of respondents (59%) described themselves as ambitious regarding digital, just 3% would call themselves a market leader – a significant decline from last year’s 24%.

“Amid market uncertainty influenced by supply chain issues, global crises, and perpetual cycles of inflation and recession, manufacturers have been prompted to build resilience. 60% of survey respondents cited inflation and rising costs of operations as the biggest threat to their organization’s success.” said Mascha Tamarinof, Global Vertical Lead, B2B at Valtech. “Ambition levels have tempered, however, investment in digital remains strong. We also see a shift towards a composable approach regarding IT infrastructure. This drives a more agile setup that allows manufacturers to respond to changing customer expectations and market conditions faster.”

According to this year’s survey respondents, internal collaboration and communication is key when maximizing digital investments. However, the majority (63%) of respondents report that despite their organization sharing digital agendas across the entire company, there is no cross regional or cross departmental alignment. The need to address the organizational agenda is supported by the following survey findings:

  • Almost a third (31%) of respondents said cultural transformation is the biggest hurdle when it comes to implementing digital strategies.
  • 27% of respondents said they lack a clear plan when it comes to their digital initiatives and operations because they are executed in isolation based on region, business unit, or project. · 1 in 10 (9%) respondents are not getting the C-level support they need to execute their digital transformation projects.

“The days of casual digital experimentation and innovation with an uncertain time to market are over. Boardrooms and executives will prioritize digital initiatives based on their expected business value contribution and the speed at which this can be unlocked,” said Herbert Pesch, Managing Director, B2B at Valtech. “Many see opportunities in generating concrete business value by offering eCommerce and digital services in an integrated way. This includes bringing together different services through a customer portal and offering a unified, seamless experience to their clients. But to be able to do so, manufacturers must first solve their organizational challenges like getting 100% C-level support and bridging the multiple large gaps between their siloed departments.”

As they look to maximize the ROI of their existing digital investments in 2023, manufacturers report being motivated by cost efficiency when it comes to harnessing the power of digital (27%). Securing customer loyalty and satisfaction through better experiences and delivery of services and products (25%) is a runner up. The survey also records there is a shift towards a composable or headless approach, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, and industrial servitization. 43% of respondents choose composable, best-of-breed solutions supported by custom-built microservices for their digital strategy. By adopting flexible solutions that can adapt to change, manufacturers can better respond to customer demand through their eCommerce platforms, customer portals, and digital services – an area 52% of manufacturers say they will focus on in the year ahead.

“Manufacturers are relying on digital tools to make complex business processes easier and facilitate aftermarket transactions with their customers,” said Lisa Hellqvist, Managing Director at Copperberg. “The preference of B2B customers to use digital channels for their transactions is growing, highlighting the need for easy and frictionless user experiences. Once internal alignment is achieved, manufacturers can leverage the full potential of digital investments to become more customer-centric and expand their eCommerce and data analytics capabilities in the most cost-efficient way possible. It’s great to read so many tips and pieces of advice in this report from leaders on their digital transformation.”

About The Voice of Digital Leaders Survey

Valtech’s annual survey of manufacturing leaders focuses on the current state of their digital transformation investments, progress, and focus. It aims to better understand the challenges of the industry, giving manufacturers a resource to share goals, business strategies, and challenges with industry peers as they navigate the year’s challenges. As manufacturers enter the next phase of their digital transformation, the results and recommendations will empower them to make more informed decisions as they bring their digital ambitions to life.

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit:

About Valtech

Valtech is a global business transformation agency that delivers innovation with purpose. We enable our clients to anticipate tomorrow's trends and connect more directly with consumers in their digital and physical spaces, optimising time to market and return on investment.

Valtech is the preferred strategic business transformation partner for many of the world's best-known brands, including Atlas Copco, Wavin, Grundfos, Henkel, Dolby, L'Oréal, Philips, P&G, Volkswagen, and many others.

Established in 1993, we currently employ more than 6,000 professionals, including experienced designers, marketers, data scientists, creatives, and software engineers across five continents, with more than 60 offices in over 20 countries.

With strong experience in design, technology and marketing, our passion is to address our clients' transformational business challenges. We reimagine the customer journey and build new connected experiences, put data to work for businesses in this new era, and help our clients transform their operations.

Our services include strategic consulting, service design, technology services and optimisation of essential digital platforms for omni-channel marketing and merchandising.

Find out more about Valtech here.

About Copperberg

Copperberg creates original content, on physical and digital platforms, bringing together the manufacturing community in order to grow and build relationships globally.

Copperberg was founded in 2012 with the dream of becoming the leading community for aftermarket, service & manufacturing professionals across Europe.

On a daily basis, we work hard to improve, develop and innovate our concepts and original content in order to ensure the best hands-on, real-life strategies for all our community members. Our ambition is to provide ideas, networking, and industry exchange between industry peers that inspires and leads to action.

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