NTT DATA Research Reveals Organizations Struggling to Overcome Disruption

Despite the cost of employee turnover, only 16% of those surveyed say employee engagement and retention are top priority; US resignation rates at record highs in some industries

Plano, TX – Nov. 11, 2021 – NTT DATA, a digital business and IT services leader, today announced new research with Oxford Economics, which finds 77% of business and IT executives are not prepared to meet the challenges of continued disruption from health crises and natural disasters, and they are not counting on their employees for solutions. Only 16% of respondents ranked employee satisfaction and retention as a priority, and nearly half believe employee skills have no impact on their innovation efforts.

The research, “Innovation Index: Digital Strategies for an Era of Constant Disruption,” reveals how 1,000 business and IT executives across 16 industries are prioritizing digital initiatives in the face of change. In addition, the findings show a small group of leading organizations (6%) report above average performance in nearly all areas from financial performance and productivity to employee and customer satisfaction. This group of leaders demonstrates a focus on data-driven decision making, employee and customer experience and leveraging technologies to drive innovation.

“The continued shockwaves of the global pandemic have left many organizations feeling the impacts of disruption across their workforces, customers and bottom lines,” said Eric Clark, Chief Digital Officer, NTT DATA Services. “When times are uncertain, it is a natural response to tighten budgets and focus on short-term goals that bring revenue, but this comes at the expense of innovation and future goals. Leaders must focus on identifying the effective digital technologies that allow them to quickly scale resources, support remote work and respond to market pressures while prioritizing employee retention.”

Customers Remain a Top Priority; Employees Take a Back Seat

While 66% of executives say customer, patient and constituent satisfaction is a priority, only 16% say employee retention and engagement is one – even though employees have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and other key business drivers like financial performance and cybersecurity. Regarding company culture, one-third believe that culture is not a primary component of employee satisfaction, and only 5% claim employees factor into strategic and operational decision making.

The lack of focus on employees is also highlighted in responses related to flexible work, with 21% of executives rating flexible working options as a top contributor to employee satisfaction – the lowest of any response – conflicting with reports from employees that flexible work is not only important, but something they would consider leaving their job over. In addition, only 42% of organizations have implemented digital workplace technologies, and nearly half say rigid processes do not allow for remote or flexible work.

Leaders that emerged from our survey – the 6% that reported above average growth – also claim a higher productivity rate at 53%, compared to the average of just 34%. As U.S. resignation numbers continue to rise to record numbers, organizations will need to evaluate the connection between customer satisfaction and employee retention and engagement.

Setting the Foundation for Innovation with Technology

In this era of digital disruption, the key to remaining agile and adaptive to changes in the market is investing in technologies that will serve as the foundation for future innovation. The research highlights the clear benefits of innovation and data-driven technologies – including financial performance, customer satisfaction, workforce productivity and employee retention. But, just 43% of executives view innovation as mission-critical, with another 42% saying it’s a nice-to-have. Further data shows that 46% say their innovation is reactive to the market, and 56% believe that employee skills are a detriment or have no impact on innovation efforts.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, driving supply chain and workforce disruptions, one thing is certain: the only constant is change. Disasters, both human-made and natural, have increased in frequency and impact. While negative operational and performance impacts caused by climate change, natural disasters and health crises are top of mind for 61%, only 23% feel prepared to meet the challenges of rapid, constant change. The research shows that most organizations are heavily investing in foundational technologies, and despite expecting significant value from emerging technologies, many are still lacking investment.

The full report highlights how business and IT executives are approaching digital transformation initiatives, from data strategies to technology adoption, to overcome market and industry challenges. Read more on those findings here: Innovation Index: Digital Strategies for an Era of Constant Disruption.

About the Research

NTT DATA, in partnership with Oxford Economics, conducted the survey of 1,000 business and IT executives across 16 industries in North America to find out how organizations are prioritizing digital transformation initiatives. The survey revealed mission-critical organizational priorities: data-driven decision-making, customer and employee loyalty, and leveraging technology to drive efficiencies that lead to positive organizational outcomes, including financial performance, customer satisfaction and productivity.

About NTT DATA Services

NTT DATA Services is a recognized leader in IT and business services including cloud, data and applications. A division of NTT DATA headquartered in Texas, the company leverages consulting and deep industry expertise to help clients accelerate and sustain value throughout their digital journeys.


NTT DATA – part of the NTT Group – is a trusted global innovator of IT and business services, headquartered in Tokyo. We help clients transform through consulting, industry solutions, IT modernisation and managed services. NTT DATA enables clients to move confidently into the digital future. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local expertise to operate in over 50 countries. Visit us at

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