How digital leaders built a foundation for resiliency in the face of disruption

During the past year, digital leaders deployed a remote workforce, engaged customers via contactless delivery and weathered various business disruptions throughout the year. Through investing in digital strategies and expediting transformation efforts, the leaders—defined as those with digital processes and mindsets in place—seized growth opportunities, established new business functions and outlined a future-forward path.

digital leaders

A new report from TEKsystems compiles results from a survey of more than 400 technology and business leaders in late 2020. The survey revealed three key recommendations that will enable successful digital transformation:

  • Mind the gaps: Technology deployed during the pandemic may not be compliant with privacy and security policies or may not be integrated with other systems.
  • Prioritize projects that enable new business models: Implement the right technologies that will achieve the desired outcomes and think about how they can be scaled across the enterprise. Part of this process includes identifying the right metrics and making data-driven decisions to achieve digital transformation success.
  • Invest in inclusion and diversity: Accept and leverage differences to create actionable opportunities for your workforce. This includes building an inclusive environment that allows your employees to flourish, as well as cultivating a culture that embraces change and agility.

“Our findings exemplify digital leaders’ ability to perform and transform in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Jay Alvather, president of TEKsystems. “To address challenges and outline a successful path forward in their digital journeys, companies must be able to pivot quickly in the face of adversity, strengthen the capabilities of their workforce and build an environment that is focused on inclusion and diversity—all while continuing to create great experiences for their customers.”

Insights from the report further emphasize the divide between leaders and laggards—those with limited or tentative digital transformations plans, initiatives and investments. This divide can be seen in how the two groups prioritize growth and new technologies, along with their needs for the future, such as supporting a remote workforce throughout the year.

Leverage the technologies that enable transformation for their business

Digital leaders set themselves apart and create a clear competitive advantage by implementing the right technologies at the right time with specific strategies to enable new business models.

  • Leaders are four times more likely than laggards to be driving projects with technologies that enable new business models, like cloud, data analytics, mobile, IoT and AI.
  • Organizations need to be nimble as they navigate challenges that remain in 2021. Security concerns and compliance constraints have shifted to the No. 2 priority due to a remote workforce.

Digital transformation must support workforce and talent initiatives

Nearly three-quarters of companies expect at least 50% of their workforce to be remote in 2021. With this in mind, organizations need to develop a digital workforce that is well-aligned to succeed with digital initiatives that may not happen overnight.

  • 44% believe extensive talent structure changes are needed for their digital transformation efforts to be successful compared to 37% in 2020.
  • Long-term challenges of remote work include maintaining team culture, connecting with others and building meaningful relationships. Mental health challenges also coincide with a remote workforce, as transformation must support these concerns.

Accept and leverage differences to create growth and opportunities

Inclusion and diversity are a pivotal component of digital transformation leaders. These leaders know that technologies, such as AI, cloud, edge computing or blockchain, are just enablers. The adoption of these technologies lies within culture and people, as 70% of digital leaders have mature diversity, equity and inclusion practices in place compared to 44% of digital laggards.

  • 86% of digital leaders effectively foster an inclusive work environment (41% more effective than digital laggards).
  • 79% of digital leaders effectively develop a diverse and inclusive leadership pipeline (22% more effective than digital laggards).

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