Digital IQ is a moving target
Define digital through powerful perspectives
Conduct a strategy session with functional and business unit leaders to define and expand your organization’s view of digital. Ensure you involve executives from disciplines across your organization, including business strategy, creative and design, and innovation and technology. Bringing together individuals who have different perspectives at the outset of digital transformation initiatives is one of the hallmarks of PwC’s BXT method. Together you will develop a shared perspective on digital priorities, backed up by the leadership and organizational roles needed to drive the effort.
Take stock of your digital technology investments
With the bulk of technology spending occurring outside of IT, you need to understand what and where other functions are investing and how each investment ties back to your digital roadmap. Getting a handle on the full scope of investments again requires bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders.
Sustain the digital dialogue
Once leaders are committed to your strategy, ensure the rest of the organization is too. People in each function should understand how technology will be used to change the way they work or deliver value. That conversation about how digital is changing your business also extends to your customers and partners. And think about how to use technology— video, social media, and mobile—to engage in this ongoing conversation.
Create an environment conducive to learning and collaboration
Rather than encourage people to work in isolation or with only their peer groups, enable a cross-section of specialists to be in close virtual or physical proximity to one another. This approach helps you develop a common working language that facilitates the seamless collaboration and increased efficiency vital to moving at the speed of technology. When they speak a common working language, deep specialists across the organization— lawyers, marketers, designers, programmers—can harness the power of perspective to get a firmer grasp on what their colleagues are saying and on what the business is asking for. Cohesive teams of big thinkers and solution drivers address business issues that are no longer isolated to one discipline but intertwined across many.
Commit to executive education
Addressing the skills gap starts at the top. Company leaders must understand and engage with digital technology to see how it could help or hurt the business, including how it affects the employee and customer experiences. Three easy ways to get started: Get hands-on with technology, become a maker or a mentor to those who are building and experimenting with emerging technology, and keep learning through online offerings.
Train your workforce
Now, more than ever, upskilling is needed. This training includes teaching employees the skills to harness technology, whether that’s a new customer platform or a new breed of collaborative robot. It also means cross-training workers to be comfortable and conversant in disciplines outside their own, as well as in skills that can support innovation and collaboration, such as agile approaches or design thinking.
Emerging technology: Next-generation digital
Make emerging tech a priority
Your leadership team should view emerging tech as a core competency of the organization. If emerging technology is considered a side project, it is unlikely ever to have any lasting impact on the organization as a whole.
Get your C-suite and your board excited about the potential for emerging technology by showing demos at your next board meeting or encouraging hands-on homework to experiment with consumer technology like home automation systems or AI assistants.
Appoint an emerging tech evangelist
While emerging technology needs broad support, it also needs a single individual who has ownership over your emerging tech initiatives. At the same time, the emerging tech leader can’t go it alone. He or she will need to rely on the expertise of other executives, as your organization thinks about applying emerging technology to solve business problems. Identify those at all levels and in all functions who are passionate about different technologies, and create a team responsible for emerging tech scouting and experimenting.
Focus on the human experience
As you experiment with emerging technology, don’t shortchange the customer or employee experience. You can develop a digital product that leverages AI, for example, but have you sufficiently thought through issues like whether you’ve created the necessary trust and transparency your customers and employees need, so your innovation becomes indispensable?
Develop a scouting plan
Most organizations don’t look broadly enough to identify how and where emerging technology can make a difference. Beyond analyst reports, white papers, and technology publications, a proper plan should go much deeper. Look to underutilized sources, such as engaging with the startup ecosystem, participating in open source development projects, and joining the maker community.