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Digital Transformation: Here Are 11 Skills You Need To Succeed

Digital transformation is the future of business. A study conducted in 2020 by Mordor Intelligence valued digital transformation at $263 billion and is projected to reach $767 billion by 2026.

Digital transformation can involve several things:

  • Process automation
  • A new website
  • An improved user experience
  • Migration to the cloud

But one should understand what skills are needed to achieve successful, company-wide change.

The proper Chief Information Officer (CIO) can make or break an organization’s digital transformation. It does not mean that the CIO does everything. It takes several disciplines to become a digital organization, and organizations require a leader who can pull them all together.

The most successful digital transformations are driven from the very top of the company with CEO-level leadership. However, CIOs stand just behind them as main players. Matthew Garthwait, CIO of healthcare technology management company Capital I, says that a CIO with the right blend of skills and approach can facilitate or, in ideal cases, accelerate digital transformation throughout an organization. In many situations, the opinion of the CIO is the most heavily weighted voice in a technology discussion.

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11 Digital Transformation Skills That Matter

The person involved in digital transformation efforts must have a specific set of skills. The most critical capabilities for IT leaders driving digitization today include the following:

1. Self-assurance

It would be best if you had confidence in your abilities to pitch your enhanced role to the leadership. Many enterprises ended up creating roles such as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Transformation Officer because the CIOs were too timid and unsure of their roles. Hence, strengthening the emotional intelligence skill of self-belief is job number one.”

2. Digital Transformation Fluency

You do not do digital, but you become digital. You need to have a product management mindset and be fluent in digital behaviors and culture. It is a mindset shift toward becoming digitally fluent, failing fast, and instituting new working ways.

Workers must possess a basic level of digital fluency to implement digital transformation successfully. Digital fluency can range from a basic knowledge of Microsoft Suite to an understanding of cloud computing depending on the industry.

The necessity of this skill is company-wide. The need of digital fluency only raises at executive levels. The power lies with company leaders to possess and encourage digital fluency.

Digitally literate leaders will be better equipped to address the gap between executives and employees, be it regarding the perception of digital changes or simply the reality of data architecture caliber, which usually contributes to the failure of digital transformation.

3. Collaboration And Orchestration

In today’s world, the most successful IT leaders appreciate the value other business disciplines and functions bring to the digital table. They will have a hard time if they are not accustomed to collaborating on that level across their organization.

There is a need for a robust digital culture where leaders remain key actors and champions. It is highly essential than ever to bring multiple and even often dispersed stakeholders together for enhanced alignment and collaboration.

Collaborative processes will have to be skillfully facilitated while leaders also address and cope with critical ethical concerns.

4. Financial Strategy

While many companies view the IT function as a tactical cost center, digital transformation demands a deeper understanding of business objectives and IT ROI to advance. One of the most vital new skills is calculating ROI for strategic IT.

5. A Growth Mindset

A risk-averse one is a poor match for ongoing digital evolution. It must be adept at change and continual learning to serve as a leader and exemplar of continuous improvement. One who embraces and thrives on the change that digital transformation brings will positively affect the process.

6. Deep Domain & Business Process Knowledge

One who oversees digitization must understand the key drivers of the business. IT leaders must identify continuous improvement in processes, evaluate new operating models, and many more activities needed for fundamental business shifts.

IT leaders also need a comprehensive understanding of the business ecosystem of their organization since a full-scale disruption may impact partners.

7. Technology Translation Skills

IT leaders must also be able to translate technical jargon into business terms that matter to the C-Suite, board, and other essential stakeholders. In addition to technical experience, digital leaders must have robust business knowledge to drive strategy and align key stakeholders on shared objectives.

8. Strategic Vision

A digital transformation leader needs the foresight to architect a technology-enabled direction for the business. They need that vision to foresee where the business is/should be headed and how technology can help in this journey. With this, they can make a stronger case for getting involved in these business strategy decisions.

9. Customer Experience Expertise

Robinson says that the explosion of consumer technology has drastically changed expectations around tech capabilities and user experience. One must consider these expectations while also managing the more stringent requirements of enterprise technology.

10. Comprehensive Change Management

Never before have employees needed to change their work lives so drastically and rapidly. Digital transformation is an upheaval that can lead to fear, conflict, and turnover without the correct approach.

While change management skills have actually fallen to other functions and disciplines in the past, it is now important that senior IT leaders be well-versed and comfortable with change frameworks, communication, and management.

It is not a secondary workstream on the project plan or an HR-only responsibility. The success of the program depends on a leader’s ability to manage the change process positively.

Leaders need to facilitate this to instill a positive attitude in employees. Amplify your existing support structures of the organization, such as learning, training, coaching, and mentoring systems, and ask if you need new ones. It will also mitigate the employee frustration levels that usually come with the pressures of technological, process, and behavioral change happening at once.

11. Adaptability and An Eye For Alignment

One has to deeply understand the strategic necessity of digital transformation for their organization, and one must be able to use strategic management skills to adapt the transformation efforts based on feedback loops. Given the degree of uncertainty, feedback loops and adaptation are a must.

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