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Digital Transformation: About Training, Not Marketing

Posted on December 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM

The reports are coming flying out, one after the other - Britain's biggest businesses risk being disrupted by the pace of technological change because their senior leaders are paying lip service to the need for digital transformation.

This one is from online learning provider AVADO. It commissioned independent market research company Censuswide to survey 242 UK learning and development (L&D) professionals, each working in companies with turnovers of £100m+.

What did it find? No one appears to be denying a need for digital transformation - but there is limited buy in at the top (possibly, I am guessing, because no one has a clue. That is entirely credible. Just look at the Brexit plan.

Over half (55%) of L&D professionals believe C-suite execs only pay lip service to such a transformation.


For 43% of businesses, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is heading up digital change with just under a quarter (24%) assigning responsibility to a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). For a fifth (22%) of businesses the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is leading the drive towards digital transformation.


This lack of commitment from the top has repercussions further down the organisation, AVADO suggests, with a fifth (21%) of L&D respondents feeling powerless to influence change. This is its ranking of preparedness by UK industry sector:

Source: The Digital Readiness Report, AVADO, London December 14, 2016

And here's what seems like a major reason for this state of play: investment in digital training is not equal across the business - marketing takes the lion's share.

"Businesses claim that upskilling workforces is a priority, with 81% of respondents having a digital learning programme in place. However.... just under three in ten businesses (28%) provide digital training across their entire business. For over 40% of businesses, the lion’s share is allocated to the sales and marketing department" says the report.

A tragic one-fifth (19%) of overall training budgets is spent on digital.


"Put simply, companies need to take their whole organisation on a learning journey. And for the ones that get this right, the results can be transformational" said Lisa Barrett, managing director at AVADO.

This blog might be in danger of overquoting Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England - but no regrets on that front.

As he said just the other day, the world is in the “midst of a technological revolution that is once again changing the nature of work”, with “lifelong learning, ever-greening skills and cooperative training” becoming more important than ever.


That idea of a 'Digital Quotient' To Better Measure Good Corporate Governance wasn't a bad one, back in 2015.... Time is flying past, but are we learning fast enough?




Categories: Governance, Culture, Technology