How well is your business supporting digital skills?

November 9, 2015
How well is your business supporting digital skills?

Following on from our initial research into how digital skills are defined, how valuable they are, and how digital talent can impact business, we wanted to share with you the findings of the next phase of our research.

In this latest study, we wanted to discover what companies are missing out on by failing to utilise the digital talent and skills within their business, and whether enterprises who claim to value digital talent are changing or still using restrictive processes and protocols and the impact on employees and the business as a result of this.

To examine this, we asked 5,700 employees across EMEA to examine the importance of digital skills, and found digital skills are a priority for all employees, of all ages. Almost two thirds (64%) were willing to use their own time to learn new digital skills, including learning coding for the creation of online content, how to design and build their own mobile applications, or simple video and image editing or music production.

The impact of these skills transcends personal objectives and can help businesses move along the path to digital transformation. 71% state that the use of digital skills could improve the company’s competitive edge, with two thirds believing this will impact the revenue/profitability for the business over the next five years.

We’re living in a world of disruption, with businesses under constant pressure to change and adapt in order to remain relevant. At the heart of this drive for change is digital talent. There is growing recognition of the business value and future importance of digital talent / skills to provide new thinking and disrupt (and improve) old processes.

Enterprises are investing heavily in this talent – both the millennial generation AND digitally-minded talent of any age – who are unconstrained by what’s gone before and have the appetite and ability to innovate. But they are competing for this talent with smaller competitors and exciting fast-growth businesses offering more autonomy and more flexibility.

Worryingly our research found less than half (48%) of today’s workforce are able to fully use their digital skills within their organisations. A range of challenges are preventing this, including: ‘digital’ not being integrated into personal objectives (51%), lack of budget (43%), lack of adequate support from IT (40%) and company policies being too restrictive (39%)

With too many employees finding themselves working within rigid structures where they can’t collaborate instantly, can’t get access to any application on any device, and can’t move at the speed they need in order to get work done, what can be done to enable more digitally-led organisations?

Greater alignment between IT and senior management is needed, along with both teams playing significant roles in transforming the workplace. The IT department was seen as most responsible for driving change (34%), more so than the MD/CEO (19%) and the board (16%). Senior management was also seen as needing to take a more active role: only half (50%) of employees believed senior management currently encourages new ways of working in the organisation.

Companies need to find a way that brings this multi-generational workforce together, doing some of the ‘old’ things well, such as measuring accountability, performance and outcomes, whilst also making sure that ideas and new ways of working flourish.  Capitalising on all these opportunities will be dependent on an organisation’s culture, people and capabilities and the extent to which the business can transform for today’s digital age.

Over the coming weeks we will be publishing more insights, as well as guest posts from key figures in the skills debate. Follow us on Twitter – @VMware_UK to keep up to date.

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