More than half of enterprise leaders believe their role has significantly changed due to digital transformation | Cloud industry forum

More than half of enterprise leaders believe their role has significantly changed due to digital transformation

  • Research from Ensono and the Cloud Industry Forum finds that digital transformation is not only changing organisations, it is changing roles, including that of the CIO. Individual skills need to be revisited in the digital era.
  • Over half (56%) of the overall sample base state that their role has changed significantly as a direct result of digital transformation.

Business decision makers state that they need more technical skills and CIOs need softer skills like communications and negotiation.

Ensono, a leading global provider of managed hybrid IT, and the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) today released results from their latest digital transformation study. The survey of 200 UK IT and business decision-makers reveals that more than half of enterprise leaders believe that digital transformation is changing their roles and responsibilities. They also believe it is changing the skills they need to be successful in their positions.

The research found that 56% of people feel their roles have changed significantly as a result of digital transformation, with 51% reporting an increase in their responsibilities and 47% stating they have greater pressure to deliver. However, the burden brought by digital transformation does not appear to be evenly applied and while business decision-makers report they have more freedom to innovate (45% compared to 24% of IT decision-makers), the IT department is more likely to report a faster pace of work and increasing workloads.

92% of respondents stated that their organisation didn’t have all of the skills that they needed to meet the demands posed by digital transformation. 48% stated that they needed additional technical skills, 44% cited a need for improvement of their team working skills and over a third identified deficits in communication (35%) and creative skills (35%).

The research also revealed the skills individuals feel they need for success in digital transformation. Communication and team working skills were found to be the most important for success (cited by 74% and 67% respectively). 51% of business decision-makers believe they need technical skills, compared to just 39% of IT decision-makers. This indicates that digital and technical skills are increasingly important for digital transformation. Additionally, the boundaries between the two spheres are blurring – whether the IT department recognises it or not.

For the IT team, technical skills (75%), problem solving (54%), and creative skills (49%) are among the most important skills for digital transformation. Only around half stated that management (51%), negotiation (46%) and communication skills (45%) were important for CIOs to be successful in their roles. Given that CIOs must bridge the gap between the IT department and the wider business for digital transformation projects to be successful, it is surprising that these numbers are not higher.

Simon Ratcliffe, Principal Consultant at Ensono, said: “The roles and skills required for success are changing in this era of perpetual digital transformation. We see a new IT department emerging - one that must take this opportunity to claim their seat at the boardroom table, or risk becoming obsolete. Today IT departments must extract themselves from a support role and balance their technical know-how with problem solving, creativity and business situational fluency.

“To be successful in their roles and ensure their continued relevance, CIOs must act as ambassadors between the IT department and the business to smooth over these differing perspectives and ensure that all parties are fully aligned in their expectations and visions.

“At a time when IT is still often a reporting line to finance and few CIOs have a seat on the Board, it is critical that they can influence the business in general by displaying a clear and coherent vision for their organisation’s digital transformation. Without this executive sponsorship, they will struggle to secure the budget, support and interdepartmental collaboration they need for successful transformation,” he continued.

Alex Hilton, CEO of Cloud Industry Forum, added: “This apparent shortfall in fundamental skills is troubling. While the technical components of digital transformation are obviously critical, so too are leadership, team working, and creative skills. Unless these skills are in place, the CIO, the IT department and the business will struggle to realise their change ambitions.

“These skills form the necessary foundation that enterprises need in order to work with the third party consultants and IT services providers who are capable of equipping enterprises with the right tools, skills and knowledge to steer their digital transformation programmes.”

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