Overcoming Roadblocks to Digital Transformation

Like a driver dropping a lead brick on the throttle, the pandemic has accelerated every industry’s need to automate and digitize its processes. A combination of supply chain disruptions, an increasingly disparate workforce, and pressure to integrate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving companies to ramp up digital transformation efforts to maintain their competitive edge.

However, as I’ve spoken with business owners and CFOs across industries from manufacturing to food technology, they repeatedly point out that they face significant hurdles in implementing digital transformation projects, whether in scaling up internal efforts or procuring external resources. These challenges are reflected in alliantgroup’s latest C-suite Trends Report, which shows that while nearly half (46%) of C-suite executives understood that digital transformation was a necessity for their company for long-term survival, nearly 1 Out of 3 said the pandemic had already hampered their organization’s ability to do so.

Companies know that innovation can no longer be sidelined – now is the time to seek out the technical infrastructure, resources, and people to move beyond digital restrictions. Digging into the report to identify the main barriers to digital transformation can help companies overcome them.

lack of artistic talent

One of the most persistent problems that companies face is not finding the right people to see their digital transformation efforts through. Our data shows that nearly a third of C Suite executives said not hiring the right talent was one of the biggest mistakes they made while undergoing a digital transformation project. However, it is no longer a market for employers, and tech candidates can now be made more of a choice as more companies require their expertise to digitize quickly.

With 42% of C Suite executives surveyed saying accessing more talent was the better action their organization would take to innovate, it’s no surprise that many companies were left high and dry; Simply put, there are not enough workers with the skills to fill every technical and technical role. In response, C-suite CEOs are investing in community education and/or STEM programs to fill their technical talent pipeline, but growing that talent is a long-term investment that still leaves companies short-term in the meantime.

With the demand for technical talent at an all-time high, employers must embrace the paradigm shifts that have occurred to stimulate the hiring of technical talent. One of the major shifts has been the departure of IT workers from major cities for mid-level cities like Seattle and Charlotte, as remote work makes these locations more accessible. In response, employers should expand talent recruitment beyond typical high-tech fields and even open offices in these new tech hubs to support their initiatives. Several CEOs surveyed said they already engage in these practices.

Employers can also offer more flexibility in both the interview process and blended work arrangements to attract talent, take advantage of the global independent economy, and implement reskilling and reskilling initiatives to bridge the technical skills gap. Retaining the best talent is also key, so CEOs would be wise to continually invest in their employees by constantly making themselves available to individual employees and challenging the best employees to break out of their comfort zones by taking ownership of initiatives and thinking about the big picture.

opposition from within

What may be even more surprising than the external talent hurdle is that a third of C Suite executives say their organizations have too much bureaucracy to successfully innovate. Even if digital transformation projects are proposed, efforts to implement them come to a standstill when internal bureaucracies are too burdensome to react. In addition to reforming company structures to foster innovation, C-suite executives note that an internal cultural shift is needed, with a large proportion (41%) citing employee resistance as one of the biggest obstacles to digital transformation.

Choosing the right team to pursue jobs is critical, and executives surveyed noted that often assigning the wrong team/department responsible for initiatives hinders the success of digital transformation. Even with the right group handling of an initiative, all employees must be on the job to implement successful company-wide digital or automation efforts. To this end, hiring talented IT and change management consultants can help facilitate a process of digital transformation that often can be met with resistance. In fact, we’re starting to see many CEOs adopting this strategy, with more than a third of the priority investment in vendors/third parties to adopt new technologies over the next two years.

open the way to success

The pandemic has not only highlighted the advantages of digital transformation but has also made it a must for companies looking to succeed as we emerge into a new technology-driven landscape. Factors from technical talent wars to employee and corporate resistance threaten to halt innovation in its tracks, so changing hiring tactics, reinvesting in top performers, and looking to third-party IT consultants will help companies stay ahead of the curve. While companies now have to move at the speed of light when it comes to innovation, these strategies will help leaders seize the proverbial wheel to propel their workforce into the future.


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