Ramping Up Skills for Digital

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EDITOR’S NOTE: DBizInstitute.org has released it first research report "Digital Business Adoption: Examining the drivers for digital business success around the world". Access this members-only report by logging in (existing members) or join DBizInstitute.org today.

Digital business is a top priority for most corporations. According to Gartner, “eighty-seven percent of senior business leaders say digitalization is a company priority and 79% of corporate strategists say it is reinventing their business - creating new revenue streams in new ways.” However, some analysts believe that “digital change has been slow and disappointing.” There are at least two common challenges that need to be met head on for success with digital business.

The first of these challenges is to formulate an effective digital strategy. Even though it has been known for some time that success with digital requires an integrated view of customer experience, operational processes and business models, far too many companies persist in taking a technology push approach to digital. If individual technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are deployed in isolation, then there is a good chance that the company in question doesn’t have an overarching digital strategy. Even if a digital strategy exists in some document that’s sitting on the top shelf of an executive’s office cabinet, chances are that there is not a shared understanding of what needs to occur to execute strategy.

One of the foundational elements in drafting an effective digital strategy is for the leadership team to take a customer focused, business process based view of performance. A recent survey by DBizInstitute.org found that two of the top four skills needed for digital business success were digital business strategy and business process management (BPM). When organizations emphasize business process performance in creating value for customers, they accelerate digital transformation and simultaneously break down both departmental and technology silos.

The second challenge that must be met head on is to prepare the workforce with digital skills. According to Gartner, up to 95% of HR leaders are making investments to train employees for digital opportunities. It’s important to recognize that a combination of soft and hard skills is needed for success. Employees recognize this skills gap. According to one survey, only 20% of employees have the skills needed for both their current role and their future career. The importance of developing digital skills by upgrading skills of employees was reinforced by the DBizInstitute.org survey which found that internal training and new hiring were reported to be the two most commonly mentioned ways for organizations to bridge the skill gap. Further, the same survey found that the top three enablers of skill development were cross-functional collaboration, integration with customer experience, and change management.

Note that the focus on both customer experience and process management also demands new skills and investing in custom designed training is an effective means of developing the needed critical internal resources. Let’s face it, digital transformation can be challenging, but failing to step up to the plate on digital may be fatal. According to recent research, 85% of enterprise decision-makers say they have a time frame of two years to make significant inroads into digital transformation or they will fall behind their competitors and suffer financially. To increase the odds of succeed, now is time to invest and ramp up the digital skills of employees.

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