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Driving Digital Transformation: What Does It Take to Lead?

What does “going digital” mean in practical terms for a company? For a workforce? What are the most critical skills and capabilities needed to enable digital transformation?

Going digital—leveraging digital technologies to connect organizations, people, and processes—leads to changes in strategy that can reshape a company or disrupt an industry. In this report, we describe the skills a digital leader needs (think digital and business knowledge, start-up mentality) and examine the relative merits of positioning various functional heads as your company’s digital leader.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Roughly two-thirds of executives believe that digital transformation is a top priority for their companies, yet even more say that their organizations will need to find new leaders to succeed in the digital economy, according to one 2018 survey.

“Lack of digital leadership” is the number one barrier identified by companies that have just started out in digital transformation, a 2015 study by Harvard Business Review found.

So, what does it take to close the gap between the talent companies have and the talent they think they need?

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AUTHORS

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Mary B. Young, D.B.A.

Principal Researcher, Human Capital
The Conference Board

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Sherlin Nair

Research Associate, Human Capital
The Conference Board

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Our Experts

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Bart van Ark

Managing Director and Principal Investigator

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Mary B. Young, D.B.A.

Principal Researcher, Human Capital

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Gad Levanon, PhD

Vice President, Labor Markets

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Carol Corrado

Senior Advisor and Research Director, Economics Program

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Abdul Erumban

Senior Research Fellow

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