Over the past two decades, business leaders have come to accept the reality that digital transformation is not a one-time event. Ongoing digital changes are the norm, and companies that don’t get on board are at risk of falling behind more mature competitors. As organizations adopt more digital technologies, processes and business models, their workforce also needs new digital skills. While many companies are already adding disruptive technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to their architecture, they are finding that only when they embrace training and continuous learning will their human workforce have the digital skills they need to take full advantage of their technology investment.
In the digital era – as many routine and repeatable tasks are being automated – employees need digital skills that enable and empower them to focus on higher-value tasks and activities. Some examples of highly desirable and sought-after skills include critical thinking, data gathering and data analytics, as well as soft skills like communication, corporate storytelling, emotional intelligence and negotiation. In addition, workers need to keep learning new software skills as organizations implement nimbler and cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and financial-management ecosystems.
Many clients, business leaders and industry thought leaders have noted the shortage of digital talent and skills as a blocker for transformation. ISG Research indicates not only a continuing, market-wide lack of digital skills, resources and training among enterprises, but also that the lack of these is among the top three obstacles to digital transformation – ranking behind only budget and return-on-investment (ROI) issues – since 2014.
Many companies still need to develop a strategy to deal with this pressing issue. The barrier to digital upskilling should be relatively easy to remove, so leaders can grapple with the more challenging questions about how and when to transform. This ISG white paper shares best practices and examples of how to successfully teach digital skills as a way to overcome this barrier to transformation. Strategic organizational change management (OCM) training programs are the recommended approach. OCM programs can prepare stakeholders’ and end users to be better prepared to make the most out of new digital systems.