Skills gap prevents businesses becoming digitally mature, finds study

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Global brands are seeing a new business culture develop as digital technology is incorporated into the workplace, with six out of 10 directors (57%) reporting that their organisation has an increasingly mature attitude to risk and the need to change ahead of disruption, according to new research.

The survey from development consultancy Brand Learning and global executive search firm Boyden also found that 14 percent believe that theirs is an organisation based on learning and development, evolving and adapting while remaining true to the company mission and customer values.

Paul Randle, digital capability director at Brand Learning, believes that, although the survey demonstrates a growing digital maturity, that many companies are reliant on “a small number of individuals” to implement digital skills and behaviours. He said:

“The real challenge is to embed digital skills and behaviours across the organisation. Senior managers such as CMOs, CDOs and HR directors play a key role in identifying digital capability gaps and implementing solutions to address them.

“Unfortunately many feel frustrated as to how to embed digital change in the organisation. They feel too much focus is put on the technology or the exciting front end, rather than on the people-based capabilities required to enable real change.”

Over a third (35%) of respondents said that their digital change is dependent on hobbyists and passionate individuals and that they have no digital natives capable of combining the processes of digital with traditional methods.

In addition, it found that many organisational processes still aren’t fully aligned with digital: nearly half (43%) of organisations still rely on ad hoc processes, individuals and external agencies to provide basic digital services – and a similar percentage are only slightly better with established but still siloed digital processes.

Randle added:

“Many global companies are still struggling to become digitally mature. Their processes and cultures are slowly shifting, but they need to expand their pool of digitally-adept people, build skills across the organisation and to fully align their business objectives with their digital ones.”

The survey of over 40 senior managers at some of the world’s biggest brands was carried out at an event hosted by Brand Learning and Boyden.

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