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Driving Digital Transformation: New Skills for Leaders, New Role for CIO

Most companies lack the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the digital aspects of their business. It’s a matter of converting vision into action. A Harvard Business Review analytic services report provided by The Enterprisers Project reveals the functional skills that organizational leaders possess, and offers advice for how followers and laggards may adopt those skills to execute their digital strategies.

Wanted: Digital Acumen

Digital acumen is desperately needed and in most cases comes up lacking. Laggards are especially weak on execution, while leaders are keenly aware of the need for transformation. Some so-called leader organizations even commit to “growth mindset” training, meaning they believe that their abilities are not exclusively inherent and can be developed with training. In such leader organizations, CIOs themselves are taking a more “mentor” or “coaching-oriented” approach to their jobs.

Learning Barriers

Although IT spend is drifting to other departments (most notably to marketing), the digital knowledge needed to utilize these resources is missing:

The biggest barrier to learning about new technology from IT leaders is the lack of an appropriate forum for this to take place. Almost half of the respondent base agreed (45%). Over a third (34%) said their IT leaders are too busy. While Digital Leaders face the same barriers as their colleagues, they are less likely to lack an appropriate learning forum. A key part of the CIO’s focus on digital leadership should include a drive to create appropriate learning forums for employees across the organization.

To begin with, such forums should focus on data. An overwhelming portion (73%) of 436 business leaders surveyed rated analytics or data mining as the most coveted skill they wished they had.

CIO as Learning Leader

If CIOs want to learn and grow from a digital perspective, there’s no more turning to HR, which is the least informed department on new digital trends. Instead they’ll need to take initiative to access information from outside, and then share and implement a vision for digital learning across the organization.

You can read the original white paper here (email required): https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2015/5/new-hbr-research-urges-cios-lead-digital-transformation

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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