GLASGOW/CAMBRIDGE, MA: Companies have been advised to adopt a more integrated and comprehensive approach to their digital strategies after a recent study found a majority of CEOs have failed to set a clear vision for digital.

In a survey of 1,591 senior executives from the UK and US, conducted by research firm Forrester between November 2013 and January 2014, it found only 21% of CEOs in firms with more than 250 employees have set a clear vision for digital.

This fell further to 17% among CEOs in charge of companies with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees, The Drum reported, leading Forrester to warn of "uncertainty" among executives.

It said companies should avoid the temptation to "bolt-on" digital to their existing operations and, rather, to think of digital strategy as going beyond simply adding a new mobile app or using social media.

Instead, Forrester said a company's chief marketing officer (CMO), the lead for the digital customer experience, should be teamed up with its chief information officer (CIO), its head of digital operational excellence, to avoid a "bolt-on" approach.

Furthermore, the State of Digital Business 2014 report urged CIOs to shift their focus towards IT systems that support a company's ability to attract, serve and retain its customers.

Unification of the marketing and technology divisions to improve digital strategy should be embraced by more firms, the report argued, while pointing to Burberry, the British luxury clothing brand, as a good example of a company that placed digital strategy at the heart of its business transformation.

In terms of sectors, perhaps unsurprisingly, executives in telecommunications, media and entertainment reported the highest levels of agreement that digital technology is a major driver of business strategy (at 61% and 59% respectively), but a full 53% of those working in education and social services also agreed.

This prompted Forrester to forecast that education and social services will be the "next big industry" to switch to digital.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff