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Firms' digital transformation efforts 'suffering from an organizational skills gap'

20/05/2016 by Pascal CALOC


A broad skill set of digital offerings is necessary to implement a successful digital transformation – but businesses are not sufficiently skilled with the qualified personnel to facilitate the transition, according to the executive vice president at SAP SE.

Writing for the Chief Learning Officer website, Bernd Welz points to a 2015 study from Technical University of Munich and SAP SE, in which 57% of respondents stated that business executives need extensive technology skills to be able to develop a successful digital transformation strategy for their company.

That broad range of skills include digital security, business change management, business network, big data analytics and the Internet of Things – all of which respondents said were "highly important" or "rather important" to a success digital transformation.

Yet, that doesn't tally seem to tally with reality – businesses are experiencing a skills gap which is hindering their ability to transform.

Welz suggests a number of strategies organizations can use to ensure they acquire the necessary digital skills and hone their competitive edge.

The first is to shift corporate culture to one that is open to change, where collaboration is fundamental. Welz also recommends employing interdisciplinary training to level the playing field from the top down in an organization.

In addition, businesses should embrace the digital transformation and its complexity, while implementing training programs first, and developing plans later, to best position businesses for success, he argues.

He said they would also see benefit in seeking a trusted partner to support learning, adding that discovery throughout the process is a "definite value add".

"Gone are the days of waiting out the storm; organizations need to make fundamental, cultural shifts across departments, and it starts with learning. Learning programs need to be tailored to how and when people learn best and then customized by industry," he concluded.


Digital, Digital Transformation

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