Digital skill gaps revealed: study


Although businesses recognise the increasing importance of digital technologies to overall business strategy, significant digital skills gaps continue to exist at all organisational levels, according to a recent study by SAP and Technical University of Munich (TUM).

‘Skills for Digital Transformation’ revealed that 80 per cent of survey respondents regard digital transformation as being important for their company’s overall business strategy but just 35 per cent had a clearly defined plan for implementing their digital strategies. In addition, only 17 per cent said that their company had enough personnel with the necessary skills to enact the digital transformation.

The study found that nearly 73 per cent of respondents see extensive big data analytics skills as important for corporate digital transformation but only 39 per cent claimed to possess the skills necessary in this area. Survey respondents cited the need for extensive skills in the areas of digital security, business change management and business networks. More than 80 per cent of CIOs surveyed said that change management is the second most important skill for successful digital transformation after digital security.

A full 88 per cent of respondents said that extensive business knowledge on the IT side is critical for developing a digital transformation strategy, while 57 per cent said that business executives need extensive technology skills to be able to develop a successful digital transformation strategy.

While 62 per cent of respondents claim that a digital transformation strategy needs to be defined jointly by the IT and the business side, 25 per cent see IT in the leading role and 13 per cent see business leading the charge.

“As this study shows, there is a significant digital skills gap, and the organisations that bridge that gap quickly and effectively will thrive,” said Dr. Bernd Welz, executive vice president and global head, scale, enablement and transformation, SAP.

Despite the lack of digital skills in the workforce, only 10 per cent of respondents said that their HR division has implemented a recruitment/training program to close the skill gap.

“This study stresses the need to cross-functionally train current executives and employees, as well as recruit new qualified talent,” said Prof. Dr. Krcmar, chair for information systems, department of informatics, Technical University of Munich.

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