6 Essential Skills Needed for Digital Transformation

elev8 - 4 min read

skills needed for digital transformation

Digital skills are prerequisite for business growth and in order to reap the full benefits of digital transformation, organizations need to transform the way they upskill their workforce. 87% of senior business leaders still put digital transformation as a company priority in 2023 as businesses that are proactively transforming their talent and digital knowledge will find themselves ahead in the digital transformation race. 

This article explores the essential skills needed for digital transformation that businesses should be implementing to unlock new value for their team, their customers, and more. 

The Current State of Digital Transformation  

Digital transformation is expected to remain a top priority for organizations in all industries over the next few years. Currently, there are numerous challenges faced by digital transformation managers and their employees which can stifle their business growth.  

One common challenge that a lot of businesses face is the lack of expertise and knowledge. Even with strong leadership, without employees with the proper technical skills, you risk slowing down your digital transformation. Ensuring you have a sufficient training plan will lead to employees having the right skill set within your development teams.  

Another challenge is organizational resistance. Many team members are accustomed to their traditional ways of working making it difficult for them to embrace emerging technologies and procedures.  

Common Factors That Hold Organizations Back from Fully Embracing Digital Transformation  

No Overarching Strategy for Digital Transformation  

Zippia carried out research and found that only 7% of organizations have fully implemented digital transformation and are in the maintenance stage, which is a considerably low amount. Having a solid strategy is one of the most important factors relating to digital transformation success as without a strategy or business purpose, you can’t expect to get ahead in the digital transformation race. Let your overarching strategy become a guide that will lead you to the top.  

Lack of Expertise to Lead Digitization  

Leading digitization relies on a combination of talent and technology, and they are mutually inclusive with one another. If you are being held back by your systems, you should investigate technologies that team members can easily work with.  

To fully embrace digital transformation, you should first of all improve digital literacy within your workforce. Being digitally literate will enable you to build the skills needed for innovations and put your business ahead in the digital transformation race.  

Lack of Understanding of How to Access the Required Technical Expertise  

Achieving a successful digital transformation within an organization not only requires a myriad of technical changes to be made, but it also requires a team that is competent in accessing and using the technologies required.  

Without the internal expertise needed to take on a digital transformation, any digital transformation efforts may not be as effective or may even fail, resulting in a waste of time and resources. This may provide an opportunity to find business partners who can help to support the digital skilling within your organization.  

Stakeholder Pushback  

A lot of stakeholders are content with procedures happening a certain way and don’t want to evolve alongside company strategies as it can look daunting. It is important to encompass stakeholders into your digital vision and present them with benefits they can resonate with. This will show them what the future is for your company regarding the business world and encourage them to buy in and adapt with you.  

Limited Budget  

It is likely that you will face budget cuts within your organization, meaning you may not have the same access to digital transformation resources that other businesses do. As a digital transformation manager, it is essential to understand this doesn’t fully stop you from getting ahead. Instead, you must learn to encompass budgets with your strategy and achieve a process that works best for you.  

Why You Need to Invest in Digital Transformation  

Customer Expectations  

Customer expectations are at an all-time high. Customer experiences have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction and within the digital sphere, they expect a high level of personalization, customization and automation. By investing in digital transformation, your company can implement robust digital tools and strategies alongside new technologies which will not only meet but exceed customer expectations, improving customer loyalty and increasing your revenue in the process.  

Missing Out on Revenue to Non-Automated Processes  

In any type of industry, there are a number of repetitive and energy-consuming processes and automation is a strategy used to combat this. If you take the time to incorporate digital technologies to automate processes, you can not only improve employee engagement, but you’ll also become more efficient at creating and delivering value to your clients by reducing waste across the whole organization. Also, by investing in digital transformation and automating your processes, you will begin to save more money over time as these tasks don’t require a human element and can be completed in a timely manner in the background of other tasks. By saving this time, employees can focus on other business goals which will also bring in more revenue.  

Falling Behind Competitors  

With digital transformation becoming an increasingly popular investment, you should expect your competitors to be doing everything they can to get ahead. To combat this, you must communicate with your tech workforce and find ways that you can implement digital transformation. If you miss the mark on digital transformation and aren’t aware of the impact it can have on your organization, you can risk falling behind and it will become more difficult to catch up or overtake competitors.  

The Growing Demand for Digital Skills  

According to Statista, in 2022, investment into digital transformation reached 1.6 trillion dollars and is predicted to reach 3.4 trillion by 2026. This clearly outlines the growing demand for digital skills as they are key to your progress in the digital transformation race.  

However, finding the right skills is not an easy task. Deloitte found that 53% of people in the workforce need to update their skills relating to digital transformation. Because of this, it is essential to invest in correct digital skills training to get ahead.  

Skills Needed for Digital Transformation  

Tech Skills  

A study carried out by Baker McKenzie shows that cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are the current top 3 priorities in digital transformation investment areas. Insights on these key skills and additional skills recommended for digital transformation, including power skills, have been provided below.  

  • Cloud Computing  

Cloud computing can help free up the use of IT resources and infrastructure by providing access to the required computing platforms, resources and infrastructure. This can help increase organizational flexibility, by reducing the number of resources that would otherwise be shared manually, increasing the efficiency of processes.  

  • Artificial Intelligence  

Artificial Intelligence plays a key role in digital transformation, as it is currently helping companies become more innovative, more flexible, and more adaptive than ever. AI Training enables employees to leverage AI technologies to better complete their daily work. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence can be leveraged by your workforce to build predictive models, which can be used to predict business opportunities, risks and to carry out proactive planning.  

  • Cyber Security  

When an organization invests in digital transformation, a lot of new data and connections are likely to be created. Although the abundance of new information provides new opportunities for innovation and process development, it also increases the company’s vulnerability to data breaches and cyber threats.  

Therefore, Cyber Security should be a crucial skill in your digital transformation, as the correct digital security systems will need to be identified and implemented to ensure your organizations data is protected post-digital transformation.  

  • Data Science  

Alongside the three key focal digital transformational skills discussed, a workforce proficiency in data science and, more specifically, data analytics can help to support a successful digital transformation.  

For example, big data analytics enables businesses to analyze customer group data at a granular level, which can help to better align your offerings with your customers, improving customer satisfaction. Additionally, an organizational proficiency in data analysis can help to improve decision-making and drive innovation within processes, which can help support the progression of digital transformation.  

Power Skills 

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report found that analytical thinking and creative thinking will be top in-demand skills by 2027. The implementation of power skills alongside the skills provided above will help to further accelerate your organization in the digital transformation race.  

  • Creative Thinking  

A workforce able to apply creative thinking to the workplace encourages employees to look at things differently and consider alternative approaches, which can lead to finding new digital opportunities or opportunities to improve processes. This can help drive digital innovation within the organization, which can help support its digital transformation efforts. 

  • Analytical Thinking  

Analytical thinking compliments creative thinking as the next stage in the process of innovation. This power skill can help to enable innovation by effectively gathering, analyzing and making rational decisions based on the data available. This level of strategic thinking provides opportunities and decisions backed by data, increasing the chances of innovation efforts being effective.  

  • Complex Problem Solving  

Digital transformation often involves tackling complex challenges related to technology, processes, and organizational change. Common issues that arise can be data integration issues and resistance to change. Complex problem solving can help organizations to analyze and understand these challenges thoroughly, identify root causes and develop effective strategies to overcome them.  

Furthermore, complex problem-solving skills can help organizations navigate uncertainty within the process of digital transformation, by developing risk assessments and contingency plans. This allows organizations to anticipate and proactively address potential challenges, ensuring smoother execution and implementation of digital transformation efforts.  

  • Active Learning  

Active learning is a type of learning that specifically focuses on the learners and involves gaining new skills through active participation, critical thinking and problem-solving. Active learning can help build an organizational culture that is receptive to digital transformation, as it encourages employees to actively engage and collaborate with new processes and technology that have been implemented because of digital transformation.  

This power skill encourages employees to actively work on their self-learning, which will help support the organization’s ongoing digital transformation.  

How Companies Can Progress Digital Transformation Skills  

Embrace the Change  

To develop your skills in digital transformation, you must understand that your company will change, and your decision-making procedures will have a whole new structure. By embracing any changes that come your way and incorporating technology, your skillset should be able to progress alongside your business with minimal obstacles.  

Listen to Employee Needs  

Your employees are the heart of your organization, so it is important to listen and cater to their needs. You could delegate tasks to the digital transformation managers for them to implement technology or procedure changes based on what employees require to work more efficiently. With your entire workforce on board, you should soar to the front of the digital transformation race.  

Reach Out for Advice  

Whilst you may be leading experts in your business sector, there may be other areas that you feel less confident in. Don’t hesitate to reach out to external consultants or agencies for advice on how to improve your digital transformation skills in areas where you may lack them.  

Do Things Step by Step  

Everybody wants success and to be the leaders in the digital transformation race, however, it is important to ensure this is approached in the correct way. By racing ahead and missing vital steps, you will most likely encounter skill gaps which can become detrimental in the future. It might take a bit longer, but doing things step by step will help you achieve more in the long-term future.  

Benefits of Digital Transformation for Managers  

Increased Efficiency & Productivity  

Managers should invest in digital transformation as they can use this in their training programs for employees. This will free both them and their team from tasks that would usually take a long time and lead them to feel unsatisfied, meaning other goals or technological advancements can be focused on.  

If employees and their managers could work in an environment where their most time-consuming tasks can be completed by another means, it would allow them to work more efficiently and productively.  

More Streamlined and Automated Processes  

There are a lot of processes within an organization that take up a lot of time and could easily be streamlined using machine learning. Digital transformation skills can be utilized within any kind of workforce to automate those processes. This allows businesses to better meet the needs of their customers and allow them to continue developing the digital transformation skills of their entire workforce, which will in hand get them ahead in the digital transformation race.  

Increased Customer Satisfaction  

A digital transformation manager should invest in developing their skills in digital transformation to create software products that offer users a personalized experience based on their preferences and customer data. Implementing cutting-edge solutions like AI-powered customer support will help to improve the customer experience, increase their loyalty and, in turn, contribute to higher revenue.  

Accelerated Growth & Revenue Increase  

Adopting new technologies including AI software or analytics allows businesses to get more insight into their target market and current trends, which can be used to create systems that meet the needs of customers more efficiently. With proper digital transformation skills, managers can incorporate this directly into their growth plans which can also create a streamlined journey to reach their business goals faster than competitors.  

A Competitive Edge on the Market  

By investing in the development of digital leadership skills, organizations can give themselves a competitive edge in the market by remaining agile and adaptive based on the needs of their customers. By adapting to the changes in digital transformation and ensuring all leadership within an organization are able to adjust based on this, it allows your workforce to come up with unique ideas, giving you the edge against your competitors.  

Attracting and Retaining Better Talent  

Organizations that are up to date in AI technologies or machine learning can use this to analyze potential candidates based on their skills and training opportunities, which will then better outline if they offer suitable skills for your business. As well as this, managers that utilize updated digital processes and platforms allow greater collaboration between employees, which in hand leads to better performance and retention within the workforce moving forward. 

Elev8 Digital Transformation Solutions 

At Elev8, we offer a variety of customized training to organizations that are looking to further incorporate digital transformation including leadership programs, digital acceleration programs, technology adoption programs and new hire and onboarding programs.  

The future is digital, and at Elev8 we have the future in mind. Get in touch today for more information on how we can help your business transform through our customized training plans.