Press Release

Couchbase Research Reveals a Majority of Organizations Expect to Fail in Four Years if Digital Transformation Approach Is Unsuccessful

New research reveals 80 percent of companies at risk of being left behind as most digital innovation projects fail to meet expectations

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – July 26, 2017 – Despite spending millions of dollars on digital transformation in the past year, enterprises still feel they are at significant risk of being left behind by their industries, research from Couchbase shows. In the survey of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises across the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany, 80 percent are at risk of being left behind by digital transformation while 54 percent believe organizations that don’t keep up with digital transformation will go out of business or be absorbed by a competitor within four years. And IT leaders are also at risk, with 73 percent believing they could be fired as the result of a poorly implemented or failing digital project.

Other findings include:

  • 89 percent of enterprises say their industry is either being disrupted by digital technology, or such disruption is only a matter of time, even after spending an average of $5.7 million on digital transformation in the past year

  • Respondents overwhelmingly agree on the ultimate goal of digital transformation – 95 percent say that it should be giving customers and end-users a truly unique experience

  • While 80 percent of IT leaders are under pressure to be constantly improving their organization’s customer experience through digital innovation, 90 percent of digital projects fail to meet expectations and only deliver incremental improvements

  • Databases are currently a clear handicap to this improvement – 84 percent have had digital projects cancelled, delayed, or reduced in scope because of the limitations of their legacy database

“Our study puts a spotlight on the harsh reality that despite allocating millions of dollars towards digital transformation projects, most companies are only seeing marginal returns and realizing this trajectory won’t enable them to compete effectively in the future,” said Matt Cain, CEO of Couchbase. “With 87 percent of IT leaders concerned that their revenue will drop if they don’t significantly improve their customers’ experiences, it’s critical that they focus on projects designed to increase customer engagement. Key to succeeding here is selecting the right underlying database technology that can leverage dynamic data to its full potential across any platform and deliver the personal, highly responsive experiences that customers are demanding today.”

Factors Affecting Digital Transformation

Ninety percent of IT leaders said their plans to use data for new digital services were limited by factors such as the complexity of using multiple technologies or a lack of resources, as well as reliance on legacy database technology.

Survey respondents identified specific issues with legacy databases that could lead to digital projects underperforming:

  • 86 percent cited a lack of agility when developing new applications

  • 61 percent were unable to scale applications to suit demand

  • Enterprises have to wait an average of 28 hours before their databases could take advantage of data, which makes real-time data use an unattainable goal

  • Only 19 percent believe their current database would be up to the task of supporting modern technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and Internet of Things

“Historically, some enterprises haven’t done well at using data to improve customer experience, which is why digitally native companies have made some giant inroads in traditionally brick & mortar businesses,” said John A. De Goes, CTO of SlamData Inc. “If all enterprises want to thrive, they need the confidence, ability, and technology to reinvigorate the customer experience. They need a revolution in the way they use data, to transform the customer experience and provide a data-driven way of truly engaging with end-users.”

Enter the Engagement Database

Legacy databases cannot keep pace with customers’ increasing demand for real-time services and content, and the growth of technology such as virtual and augmented reality or the Internet of Things. The Engagement Database, part of the open source Couchbase Data Platform, is a new category of database that enables enterprises to continually create and reinvent the customer experience. Unlike traditional databases, the Engagement Database taps into dynamic data to liberate its full potential at a time when the strategic use of data to create exceptional customer experiences has become a key competitive differentiator for businesses. For more information, visit the executive summary and view the infographic.

About the Study

Couchbase commissioned an online survey from Vanson Bourne, an independent market research organization, of 450 heads of digital transformation, including CIOs, CTOs, and Chief Digital Officers, in organizations with 1,000 employees or more in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany. The study was conducted in May and June 2017.

About Couchbase

At Couchbase, we believe data is at the heart of the enterprise. We empower developers and architects to build, deploy, and run their most mission-critical applications. Couchbase delivers a high-performance, flexible, and scalable modern database that runs across the data center and any cloud. Many of the world’s largest enterprises rely on Couchbase to power the core applications their businesses depend on. For more information, visit

Media Contact

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Couchbase Communications

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