From generative AI to cybersecurity, the digital maturity gap between digital transformation leaders and laggards is only getting bigger.

Digital transformation has transitioned from a value-add to an existential necessity. From cloud-based computing to generative artificial intelligence (AI), digital transformation initiatives are becoming a fact of life, even in traditionally conservative industries. 

However, while a recent report on digital transformation in the financial sector by Broadridge Financial Solutions found that 75% of executives were confident that tech transformation roadmaps were sufficient to meet coming challenges, the Broadridge analysts also uncovered a slightly more worrying trend. 

The digital transformation gap 

Despite universal acceptance of the necessity of digital transformation, a digital maturity gap is emerging between “leaders and non-leaders.” While Broadridge’s report notes that over two-thirds of leaders say they have made meaningful progress on modernising core IT platforms, far fewer have made progress in other areas of tech and talent innovation. 

Far fewer financial sector leaders were confident in their efforts to leverage cutting edge technologies like generative AI. Many were also meeting pain points when meeting rising cybersecurity challenges, as well as the evolving and increasing needs for “seamless digital customer experiences”.

Skills, not technology 

For many, the digital maturity gap is in of itself a symptom of the skills gap and emerging throughout multiple industries. 

In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Rubén Mancha and Salvatore Parise note that “the problem most companies face in executing their digital transformation is not access to technologies but a shortage of workers with digital and data science skills.” 

From rapidly-changing requirements provoked by new technology entering the marketplace, to a perceived talent shortage (which is actually a living wage shortage), and lack of successful investment into upskilling (only 18% of leaders “believe their organisation has made ‘significant progress’ in establishing an upskilling program,” according to a survey by PwC), the very factors driving the need for digital transformation are the ones making it difficult for many companies to meet this rising challenge. 

Mancha and Parise advocate for the proliferation of “digital academies”. This approach “aims to catalyse how employees interact with digital and data science and lead the transformation of processes, products, and services.” 

Digital academies are, they add, not purely focused on technological upskilling, but also serve to reinforce the company’s culture and narrative. Each digital academy needs, then, to be a highly contextual effort. They focus on the application of technology in the context of the organisation and its digital vision. Most importantly, Mancha and Parise stress, they “help create and reinforce a specific culture around tech and innovation in a way that more generalised online trainings simply can’t.”

  • Digital Strategy
  • People & Culture

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