News: Research Report on Skills for Digital Transformation


IDT research shows that companies fall short in the skills necessary for digital transformation

One of the critical resources for successfully designing and implementing a digital transformation strategy are tech-savvy organizational leaders and employees. However, with a view to the wide range of innovative digital technologies that may constitute the technological basis for a company’s transformation, understanding what skill set is needed for successful digital transformation is critical for organizations.

As a response to this challenge, the Chair for Information Systems at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in collaboration with SAP SE launched a survey on skills for digital transformation among executives in the SAP user groups worldwide.

In total, 81 executives from companies all over the world participated in the study. 65% of participants are working as a CIO or in an equivalent position. The study was conducted from July 2015 to mid-October 2015. The key findings of the survey are:

  • Digital transformation has found its way into companies’ business agendas: 80% of respondents regard digital transformation as being important for their company’s overall business strategy. The driver for this finding is on the dice: 38% of executives report their company’s business model to be threatened by digitization.
  • Companies are just starting to prepare for digital transformation: According to 42% of respondents, the companies they work for have at least established a vision of the digital future at their company. 35% of respondents claim to have developed a clearly defined digital transformation strategy.
  • Gaps in cross-functional knowledge may become a major obstacle for digital transformation: 88% of respondents state that extensive business related knowledge on the IT side is crucial for developing a digital transformation strategy. In turn, 57% state that business executives need extensive technology skills to be able to develop a successful digital transformation strategy for their company. Despite these numbers, most companies seem to be lacking the relevant cross-functional knowledge necessary for doing so. While 58% of respondents claim that their IT executives actually possess the business-related knowledge necessary to enable the successful digital transformation of their company, only 27% said that their business executives possess the technology skills necessary for digital transformation.
  • Substantial lack in digital talent: Across all skill domains, respondents note substantial gaps in digital skills. For example, nearly 73% of respondents claim that extensive big data analytics skills are important for the digital transformation of the company. But, only 39% claim to possess the skills necessary in this domain.

Targeted skill development is a rarity: Despite an apparent lack of digitally-skilled personnel, targeted skill development is rare. Only 10% of the respondents claim that their HR division has implemented a recruitment/training program to close the skill gap.  

The full survey report can be downloaded here.