Achieving true digital transformation is a challenge for many brands and businesses, most of which haven’t figured out that it requires more than adopting modern technologies. New research from software engineering firm EPAM Systems uncovers a major transformation obstacle—the business and tech leaders of laggard companies aren’t on the same page.
The new report, Three Ways Leaders Impede Their Company’s Digital Transformation, just released by EPAM Continuum, the integrated strategy, technology and experience consulting practice of EPAM Systems, explores this breakdown between business and technology in those companies, while detailing key strategies for successful transformation.
“In order to successfully execute digital transformation, business leaders and IT must be aligned—however, our research shows that, for many, this isn’t the case,” said Sandra Loughlin, Ph.D., chief learning scientist and head of Client Learning and Talent Enablement at EPAM, in a news release. “True transformation starts at the top with executives and senior leaders committing wholeheartedly to investing in new capabilities, aligning resources and working together in new ways to achieve shared goals and foster a culture of unity.”
Key findings include:
- Thirty-seven percent of technology executives are educated on critical digital transformation topics, including AI, machine learning and cloud migration—but only 10 percent of business executives have these skills. To drive successful digital transformation, senior leaders must understand the totality of the business, inclusive of technology, and develop technical and professional capabilities to lead their companies forward.
- Seventy-nine percent of leaders surveyed agreed that the business does not speak technology and technology does not speak business. The survey revealed only four in 10 organizations had mandatory training on critical topics underlying digital transformation and business success.
- More than half of business owners and C-suite executives perceive IT as merely a general support function and not a business driver. The disconnect between technology and business goals can result in missed opportunities for innovation and growth and wasted resources, as well as difficulty in retaining skilled talent.
To help organizations bridge the gap between technology and business, the report offers detailed suggestions and resources for improving ongoing digital transformation, including:
Clarifying the role of technology in the business
This involves developing a shared vision and strategic plan to outline how technology is powering business strategy.
Creating mandatory digital and business literacy programs
For senior leaders, courses should be specific to their needs and discuss how to help employees develop new mindsets, behaviors and ways of working.
Connecting learning to implementation
Establish common goals and shared accountability for digital transformation by planning for each area of the organization and aligning operations.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for successful digital transformation since each organization has its own unique culture and goals,” Loughlin said. “Leaders must be well prepared to navigate digital transformation complexities by acquiring necessary skills, staying informed about industry trends and learning from successful companies.”
To understand where business leaders stand with digital transformation across industries worldwide, the study surveyed more than 900 senior executives from technology, digital, data, product, human resources, talent attraction and learning and development roles.