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Digital Transformation

When taking a road trip with children, it’s a given that at some point one of them will ask “Are we there yet?”—regardless of whether the destination is a few towns over or a half-dozen states away. The answer is usually “no,” and the kids almost always ask again five minutes later.

Perhaps if we provided a comprehensive explanation the children would ask less often—which route we intend to take; why we generally avoid certain roads; how time of day, weather, traffic, construction or accidents might affect our choices; and why we sometimes take back roads even if the highway appears to be a more direct route.

Whether it’s a physical trip or an abstract journey like digital transformation, getting from point A to point B is not always straightforward.

Consider these digital transformation figures, which Harvard Business Review cites in a recent article: According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 85 percent of companies have undertaken a transformation during the past decade. The same research found that almost 75 percent of those transformations fail to improve business performance, either short-term or long-term.

So where are organizations now on their digital transformation road trip? According to CIO magazine’s annual State of the CIO report, many are not there yet, but they are well on their way. Among the report’s key findings:

  • As tech investments continue to increase, IT has held onto control of the total tech budget.
  • Collaboration between heads of IT and line of business (LOB) leaders continues to increase.
  • Among responding CIOs, 60 percent say they are facing a skills shortage, which is up from 49 percent last year. Talent is especially tight in data science and analytics, security and risk management, and enterprise software.
  • Many of the strategic initiatives that kept CIOs busy last year have shifted to activities with an increased focus on implementing digital transformation.

Two issues stand out among the findings—the ongoing skills shortage and the increased focus on implementation. Addressing both challenges is critical to digital transformation success. For CIOs and other business leaders, that means devising solid strategies for employee recruiting and retention, reskilling and upskilling, and communication.

To jump back to the road trip analogy, that means providing employees with a comprehensive explanation of the journey. Perhaps it would encourage workers to become active participants, and might even make them ask “Are we there yet?” less often.

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