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Building the digital transformation talent pool

Kenny MacIver — May 2016

Organizations need to actively shape the skillsets and partnerships required to support the age of disruptive innovation, says Dr Joseph Reger, CTO for Fujitsu in EMEIA.

• Watch Dr Joseph Reger in the keynote sessions at Fujitsu’s ActivateNow flagship digital event

Research into attitudes to digital transformation shows that the vast majority of CEOs — between 80% and 90% — believe they must commit their organizations to addressing the new digitally driven market dynamics. But, observes Dr Joseph Reger, CTO for EMEIA at global ICT company Fujitsu, as they embark on such transformations, only 10% of those business leaders think that they currently have the right people in place to implement these changes.

“There is huge skills gap,” says Reger, “so any digital transformation project needs to start with a strong component of skills planning.” However, organizations can’t afford to put such projects on hold while they build up that new digital skills base.

“When the business is disrupted through digital transformation, it requires flexibility because the old rules around skills and organizational structures simply don’t hold.”

“There is no time to wait until all the skills are onboard,” he says. In any case, demand is outstripping supply to such an extent that all the desired skills simply can’t be accessed. “Essentially there is no possibility to acquire them in the market because everybody is after those rare skills.”

However, it would be naïve of senior executives to believe that digital natives exclusively populate this new digital workforce, says Reger. “There is a misconception in the market that digital transformation is essentially a process that requires young people and young people only.”

Business leaders are never going to be able to create the new skills mix if they rely on such thinking, he says. “It is about flexibility and changing skills, not about age. When the business is disrupted through digital transformation, it requires flexibility because the old rules that more experience is more useful than anything else simply doesn’t hold.” New partnership agendaThat means the process of digital transformation will inevitably trigger organizational changes too, with a rethink of how projects are delivered through a matrix of internal and partners with the appropriate digital capabilities.

Reger outlines the scope of the new skills ecosystem: “You need to have the visionary aspect and to know where you’re heading. Naturally, you need to have the technologists who can implement that very quickly. But you also need to have departmental managers who can define the value chain [for the new business models and activities], see how gaps can be filled via strategic partnerships and how a platform can be built that allows everyone to participate.  So a diverse set of skills needs to be represented in the digital transformation team.”

  • Photography: Enno Kapitza
First published
May 2016
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About: Dr. Joseph Reger
A theoretical physicist-turned-technology visionary, Dr Joseph Reger is a Fujitsu Fellow and the CTO for the ICT company in EMEIA. Drawing on business and research expertise from around the globe, he plays a key role in guiding digital strategy for both Fujitsu and its customers.

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