In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, companies must prioritize the adoption of technology to stay competitive. According to a survey by Harvey Nash Group and CIONET, 52% of companies plan to transform their organizations’ technology within two to three years. But who is responsible for this transformation? In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore the role of digital leaders and the importance of technology in modern business.
Embracing Change: The Rise of Digital Leaders
Digital leaders are responsible for driving technological change within their organizations. They must be agile, driven by data insights, and able to manage projects at the executive level. In the past, CIOs were the primary gatekeepers of digitization, but this responsibility is becoming more distributed and ego-less, with the role shifting to the person most positioned to make decisions.
In fact, nearly eighty percent of companies have appointed chief digital officers to their boards or executive committees to assist with their digital transformation. To oversee these efforts, 77% of companies have increased the number of chief technology officers, while about 65% of these companies have appointed chief information officers.
Digital leaders who create an environment that is agile and driven by data insights are the most valuable. They are breaking down hierarchies that have hindered productivity for decades and allowing tech teams to expand their skill sets.
The Challenge of the Digital Age
The most difficult challenge of the digital age is technical skills. A shortage of talent means that more than two-thirds of executives (69%) are unable to keep up with the pace of change. While cybersecurity (43%), DevOps (39%), and big data/analytics (38%) are in high demand, four out of ten companies are facing shortages in developers.
Digital leaders must address the shortage of skills by expanding their tech teams’ skill sets. Over half (51%) of respondents plan to cross-train employees in other areas of their company. A preferred option is to use niche consultancies to fill in gaps in expertise, which was also mentioned by 45%. Another 44% plan to increase their employee hiring, while nearly 40% plan to increase their outsourced expertise.
However, with so many solutions available now that are cloud-based or packaged in commercial off-the-shelf products, it raises the question of what future outsourcing options will exist. Another 35% plan to increase the number of contract employees.
Building a Strong Workforce in the Next Age
Retaining employees in the post-pandemic age is becoming more challenging due to the “Great Resignation.” Eighty percent of executives say that this mindset shift makes it more difficult to retain employees. Only four percent admit that they are able to keep employees on board for a longer period of time.
To make the environment more attractive to employees, digital leaders should adapt their environment to accommodate more flexible and hybrid arrangements. The survey shows promising increases in diversity, with 21% of digital leaders identifying themselves as female this year, compared to 13% in 2020. Women now comprise 28% of the tech team.
Six out of 10 respondents think their approach to diversity is improving the quality and quantity of their employees. They also note that creating the right culture is more important than mandating shortlists and quotas.
Organizations today are loose associations of contract, remote, and on-site workers. Workers are linked by technology. They work together as needed to accomplish tasks. Small business owners should always be on the lookout for those who have been trained in the vocational system. These can become the backbone of your small business.
The Importance of Investing in Technology
Investing in technology is no longer an option for companies looking to remain competitive. Digital leaders must be agile and able to manage projects at the executive level to drive technological change within their organizations. To address the skills shortage and retain employees in the post-pandemic age, digital leaders should cross-train employees, hire more people, and use niche consultancies to fill gaps in expertise.
Creating a culture that is inclusive, flexible, and accommodating will attract and retain the best talent. Vocational training can also be a valuable resource for small business owners looking to build a strong workforce.
In conclusion, the rise of technology has changed the face of modern business. By investing in technology and prioritizing digital leadership, companies can stay competitive and prepare for the challenges of the next age.