New Thinking is Required for Digital Transformation – Part 1: Giving People the Right Skills


Digital transformation is without a doubt one of the most used buzzed about phrases in the business world today, but it’s evident that it’s more than just a buzzword. Most companies, in any sector, agree that to grow, remain competitive and relevant, they need to pay attention to the rapid technological changes taking place in the world today. However, digital transformation is perhaps the most daunting challenge facing most enterprises – in fact, research shows that only 26% of major organizational transformations succeed.

It’s all about the people

Hearing the words “digital transformation,” most people think about technology. It is often defined as “the integration of digital technology into all areas of business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.” A successful strategy recognizes that digital transformation goes far beyond data and devices – it’s about company culture and giving people the skills they need to get across the digital divide.

Essentially, digital transformation can only happen when employees understand new technologies and know how to use them effectively. Companies need to develop a detailed people strategy: cultivating digital talent, building the skills necessary for today and the future, and clearly define roles.

Following are three steps every company should take to develop the skills of current and future employees in order to tackle the challenges of rapid digital transformation.

Training and retaining digital talent

Research show that 77% of companies considered missing digital skills as the key hurdle to their digital transformation, yet only 46% of companies are investing in developing digital skills. No doubt it’s time for businesses to start aligning their training efforts with their digital strategy. Establishing and continuously reviewing skill-requirements and role profiles is crucial so that companies can develop the right talent in-house and recruit top talent from the outside.


Ideas get stronger when shared – that’s why having a collaboration strategy in place is vital for any business. After all, company culture is about how people get tasks done together. For transformation to occur, people, information, and knowledge must connect in real time. This  facilitates collaboration by giving employees access to software and tools that make it easier to communicate and work together, and as such, real time collaboration should be on top of any business agenda.

Clearly define roles

To get through the digital divide and help employees meet transformation-stage and post-transformation goals, it’s crucial to define clear roles and responsibilities. Connecting the change strategy to daily work is important here because it helps people understand how their work supports the company’s higher purpose and vision. Further, enabling employees to make a difference and listening to them will create a sense of logical cohesiveness, and change resistance will be less profound.

At the core, technology doesn’t drive change – people do. And in the end, only companies who recognize this and have a deep understanding and commitment to developing, identifying and celebrating their employees’ skills and expertise, will succeed at digital transformation.