Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Machine Learning , @CloudExpo

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Digital Transformation: Leading a Learning Organization

Enabling Ongoing Digital Knowledge Transfer

Forward-thinking CEOs ensure that their organization has access to the latest digital business technologies. But in today’s global networked economy, that’s not enough. If you believe that digital transformation knowledge is power, then fully mastering the ability to apply your IT capabilities into actionable wisdom is infinitely more potent.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) market research team recently completed a global study of the path that several organizations have taken to develop and deliver the digital learning support resources that their key internal stakeholders both need and want.

In a prior editorial, I described how Digital Leaders are better prepared to cross the skills chasm. In this follow-on editorial, I’ll share the typical roadblocks on the path to digital transformation progress. Plus, I’ll also share some useful recommendations.

Enabling Ongoing Digital Knowledge Transfer

According to the HBR study findings, the biggest barrier to learning about new technology from IT leaders is the lack of an appropriate forum for this knowledge transfer to take place. Forty-five percent of the survey respondent base agreed. In addition, 34 percent said their IT leaders are clearly too busy.

While Digital Leaders face the same barriers as their Follower and Laggard colleagues, they are less likely to lack an appropriate learning forum. HBR says that a key part of the CIO’s focus on digital leadership should include appropriate learning forums for employees across the whole organization.


Furthermore, while social, mobile, and cloud computing tend to get the most attention, when it comes to gaps in digital acumen, it’s all about finding the value in data. Seventy-three percent of survey respondents rated analytics as extremely important to their area of the business. But only 20 percent highly rated their own knowledge and skills of Big Data analytics methodology.


The preferred method of learning about new digital technology -- self-study and independent research -- is a good starting point. That being said, 23 percent of respondents at the Digital Leaders are much more likely than their peers to engage with outside subject-matter experts, while in search of guidance.

Known Best Practices to Increase Digital Acumen

Digital Leaders do a number of things that other companies can emulate. Given that more than 80 percent of the survey respondents are either Followers or Laggards, there’s plenty of room for improvement. HBR believes that all CEOs should personally lead this charge -- from a vision and strategy perspective. And there’s a lot that proactive CIOs, in partnership with others, can do as well.

Proactive Actions for CIOs:

  • Create a digital business advisory board with both internal and outside experts to advise the executive leadership team.
  • Learn to paint a picture of the digital transformation future, and use examples from companies in similar industries to make that real.
  • Embed IT staff in the Lines of Business so that learning happens during the course of work, not just in special meetings or IT training sessions.
  • Create a common lexicon to increase understanding, communicating in language that makes sense from the perspective of business activities and outcomes, not from the IT perspective.
  • Partner closely with key business leaders -- especially the CMO and the head of product development -- to bring together the best from both domains.
  • Identify and make clear which digital transformation knowledge and skills need to reside in the Lines of Business and which should reside in IT.
  • Work with the internal training and development organization to establish both formal and informal learning forums for employees.
  • Embrace a mentoring and coaching framework across the organization, with KPIs built into individual manager performance reviews.
  • Identify and bring in recognized outside subject-matter experts to address specific digital business trends for different parts of the organization.


In summary, HBR says that understanding new technology capabilities is no longer the exclusive purview of the traditional IT organization. Leaders from across the business must learn about and stay abreast of digital business trends, the implications of those trends for their organization, and how to leverage the new technologies.

They don’t have to know how the technology works, just why it’s important and how to use it. Based upon HBR’s assessment, the functional areas that typically have the most need for this type of guidance are R&D, marketing, customer service, and sales organizations.

The payoff for a knowledge transfer effort is compelling: Digital Leaders are expanding into more new markets, growing faster, and increasing their profit margins over their less progressive competitors. Essentially, these are worthwhile business outcomes that every CEO would crave.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David H Deans

David H. Deans is the Managing Director at the GeoActive Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...