What “digital” means for businesses has grown more expansive over the years, reports PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in its 10th annual Global Digital IQ Survey. The company gathered information from 2,216 business and technology executives for the study, and found a fundamental shift in the integration of technology with the human experience.

“Digital IQ has a completely different meaning today than it had when we started this research a decade ago,” says Chris Curran, chief technologist at PwC. “Today the spectrum and diversity of technologies available to enterprise leaders is immense, and all members of the C-suite need to understand what technology best fits their strategy and what makes the most sense as an investment. Building a culture of innovation—upping everyone’s digital IQ—is no small feat, but it’s necessary if a company seeks to compete in today’s highly disrupted and challenging market.”

Among PwC’s findings are that the role of customers and employees, and their ability to adapt to and use digital and emerging technology, are critical in advancing businesses’ digital transformation. The survey found that 82 percent of the top-performing companies reported a better understanding of the human experience that surrounds digital technology, and 74 percent were more likely to resource digital projects with cross-functional teams comprised of business, technology and user experience specialists. The best-performing companies also have a more expansive definition of “digital”—only 16 percent of companies the survey defined as “top performers” say that digital and IT are synonymous, while 30 percent of lower performing companies view them as the same.

The C-suite’s investment in digital has grown over the 10 years of the survey, but PwC reports that a large portion of chief executives still lag behind the pace of change. In 2007, one third of companies said their CEO was a champion for digital, compared to 68 percent in 2017. PwC notes “that number remains surprisingly low when CEOs are responsible for staving off disruptors and driving transformation.” While many respondents also said other senior executives remain disengaged from digital transformations, most executives do assume that digital initiatives can have a transformative effect—73 percent cited revenue growth as the top benefit of digital initiatives, followed by increased profits (47 percent) and reduced costs (40 percent).

“It is critical that companies today invest in digital solutions if they want to be successful,” says Tom Puthiyamadam, PwC’s global digital leader. “However, companies are failing at alarming rates in driving business results from digital technology investments. It’s even more important that they think through how their tech investment drives current and new business models and financial results. Having a high digital IQ is really all about integration, and requires fitting together the pieces of the puzzle—the business, the customer and employee experience and the technology—to build one cohesive and transformative solution. That’s what will really give a company a competitive edge.”

For the full results of the survey, click here.