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6 digital transformation myths food and beverage companies must change

Common technology misconceptions and ways to counter them


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How is a comprehensive digital strategy affecting and transforming food and beverage businesses? We wanted to know so we surveyed middle market food and beverage company CFOs. Results from the RSM Digital Transformation Survey uncovered some interesting information, including some facts that counter common misconceptions about technology strategy maturity, roles and focus. We explore the myths and provide some helpful reality-check insights below.

Myth 1: Food and beverage companies feel confident in their current digital maturity.
According to the survey, just 6 percent of food and beverage companies say they’re leading competitors with their digital maturity and 53 percent indicated they are concerned about their food and beverage company’s ability to achieve business goals for digital transformation.

If you’re feeling less than confident about your business’s digital maturity, explore what’s truly holding you back. For instance, is your technology mix (e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, cybersecurity) right for your business? Establish your business objectives, analyze where you have gaps, create a plan, monitor and modify.

Myth 2: Given the changing food marketplace, most companies have a fully developed digital strategy in place.
Just 18 percent of survey respondents have a fully developed strategy in place, but 81 percent are currently taking steps to develop a strategy for digital transformation.

What’s the takeaway? It’s laudable many food and beverage businesses are thinking about developing a digital strategy; however, unfortunately, so are your competitors. Move your digital transformation efforts to the top of your strategy list today and start acting on it.

Myth 3: Only the chief information officer leads the charge for the company’s digital transformation.
Actually, 91 percent of food and beverage company chief financial officers (CFOs) say they share in the responsibility for leading digital transformation, and 75 percent of them see their roles expanding. Further still, 48 percent of CFOs think data science and analysis will be added to their role as their responsibilities expand.

Innovation is forcing company executives to think differently and do differently in their transforming leadership roles. Make sure management in your company is aligned in a strategy and working together.

Myth 4: Supply chain tracking is the most important and implemented technology for middle market food and beverage companies.
While 93 percent of survey respondents say supply chain tracking is important, only 23 percent currently use it. Knowing and doing something about it are two separate things. As food safety concerns rise, supply chain tracking is crucial to your company’s traceability, saving you from future reputational harm and financial loss. It’s imperative that food and beverage companies implement this key technology now.

Myth 5: Middle market food and beverage companies are big into big data.
In reality, only 38 percent of the surveyed food and beverage companies indicate they are currently using big data tools. Forty-two percent say their existing team lacks the needed analytics skills. As the labor market tightens and the skills gap widens, now is the time for companies to invest in employees and provide in-house training.

Myth 6: E-commerce is taking priority in the food and beverage marketplace.
While having an e-commerce platform is of top importance to food and beverage CFOs, according to the survey, only 56 percent currently use an e-commerce platform now.

More companies are using e-commerce technology than supply chain tracking or big data tools, but food and beverage businesses need to leverage all three to support both front-end and back-end operations.

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