Jun 2, 2022

9 Skills Your Business Needs to Drive Digital Transformation

by Digital Marketing Institute

Digital transformation is a development that businesses have been aware of for many years. Since computers started making their way into offices, enterprises have been the first to appreciate the primary benefit of digital technology: speed.

But in the 21st century, the benefits of digital transformation are staggering. Speed is no longer the only benefit, as everything from interactivity to accessibility is affected by the convenience, power and versatility of digital technology.

Digital transformation is propelling businesses forward as technologies advance at an incredible pace. It will be the workforce with the knowledge and digital talent that will drive success and exploit these developments to gain a competitive edge.

In this article, we explore what businesses should be doing and the digital transformation skills required to improve performance, customer engagement, and profits.

1. Digital Literacy

This should go without saying, but businesses should never take the fundamentals of digital for granted. 

A recent study ‘The New Landscape of Digital Literacy: How workers’ uneven digital skills affect economic mobility and business competitiveness, and what policymakers can do about it’ found that 1 in 3 workers in the United States lacks foundational digital skills. In particular, 13 percent have no digital skills and 18 percent have very limited skills. 

With that in mind, it's not a stretch to assume that some potential employees are not digitally literate. Most people may be familiar with using social media for basic posts, but many may not know how to perform advanced tasks on those channels such as creating a paid ad or analyzing performance.

Your business also needs people that can use online tools like the business communications hub, Slack or video conferencing platform, Zoom or master content creation programs like Photoshop or Illustrator or analytics software such as Google Analytics. It's not wise to take it for granted that everyone in your company can interchangeably use these programs with little or no difficulty.

There's always new software, algorithms, computing languages, online standards, and protocols being developed. Make sure that your staff stays on top of the next big digital marketing trends so they know what to keep an eye on.

Your business should also find ways to reward and promote advancements in digital literacy within your company. This could be as simple as providing short courses in areas such as digital marketing that earn employees a professional certification on completion. Ignoring technology can lead to falling behind and irrelevance in a competitive business environment.

2. Data and Digital Security

Last year data breaches rose by 68 percent last year, the highest on record according to The Identity Theft Resource Center's annual report. This rise is due to high-profile cyberattacks that targeted everything from America’s largest oil pipelines to companies like T-Mobile, risking the personal information of millions of consumers. While physical security is a simple task of ‘hardening’ a facility with security cameras, good locks, and, of course, security guards. But how do you protect your data, or, more importantly, customer data? 

Do you know what to do if your information is seized and you're the victim of a data hostage threat? Do you know whether people have broken into your system and are monitoring your activity or even copying sensitive research material or private data?

Cybersecurity or cyber resilience is a huge concern for organizations across the globe. It requires technical proficiency, specialized talent, prioritization in business plans, and strong leadership to anticipate incoming attacks and prepare defenses to counteract them. 

For industries that handle sensitive data or customer information such as healthcare and financial services, this is a top priority. Always make sure that someone in your business understands and is responsible for digital security, or you risk leaving your customers—and your business—vulnerable to a severe data breach and theft. Your business stores a lot of information online or in digital databases, and you need to protect this data to ensure customer trust and maintain the reputation and future of your business.

3. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an important skill to have in any modern business. While we still live in a world that responds to traditional media like billboards, displays on the sides of buildings, radio commercials, and television commercials, we also have a digital world to contend with. 

In this modern society, we engage just as much with social media and digital content on our phones and desktop or laptop computers as we do with materials in the real world. According to Statista data, the number of social media users worldwide will rise to 4.4 billion by 2025. That’s a huge number of people active across social networks to engage and convert which requires the right skills in-house.  

Number of social media users 2025
Number of social media users 2025

Marketing departments must now be willing to explore the interactive and analytic possibilities that derive from using digital media to inform and engage with the market. Digital transformation has overhauled the one-way, passive experience that marketing used to be for an audience.

Digitally savvy marketers that can understand and exploit the level of engagement afforded by digital marketing, stand the best chance of making an impact with consumers. Effective digital formats and channels include: 

Digital marketing is a fundamental component of a digital transformation skillset, so make sure your business takes the time to hire or upskill your workforce in this area. 

4. Data Analysis

As the old saying goes, 'knowledge is power' and one of the biggest gifts that digital technology brings to business is huge amounts of actionable data. But that's only if your business can recognize and use that data for better insights.

After all, if your organization isn't sure who your target demographic is or where they like to shop or the devices used to research and browse, how will you know where to direct your marketing and creative dollars? If your teams can't find the analytics tools or read the data they output, how will your business know that your campaign is worth funding?

Data can be an invaluable tool to help businesses spot areas of weakness or capitalize on strengths, but only if a company has the personnel with skills to find software, interpret data, and formulate useful insights to act on. Every business needs to be open to looking at the vast amounts of data available from customers and clients, as well as internally, through normal operations.

This is particularly important as Google phases out third-party cookies in 2023 and companies will need to look for other ways to gather customer data. First-party data and zero-party data offer effective ways to access data that is unique to their business and is given with consent. 

Businesses will benefit from the expertise of employees who can analyze crucial data, draw meaningful conclusions, and put that data into action through new policies and strategies. Data and web analytics may not be seen as a glamorous task, but it is valuable to any organization’s digital transformation skillset.

5. Metaverse

When Mark Zuckerberg announced the change of Facebook’s name to Meta, public awareness of the metaverse exploded. But what is the metaverse?

Put simply it is a network of 3D worlds where people can interact immersively. This usually means using virtual headsets and games like Minecraft and Roblox already exist in this domain. It’s set to become a new marketplace to sell, buy and mint products on digital platforms and research by tech company Wildbytes estimates that in the next five years, 70 percent of major brands will have a presence there.

Roblox avatars
Roblox avatars

For businesses, the metaverse offers an opportunity to engage with customers differently and makes digital products, avatars and virtual reality more important. This will require specialized skills in AI and an adaptation of your marketing and sales strategy to include more than social media and paid ads.

How the technology and platform will unfold is still up for debate, but with brands like Nike and Gucci active in the space, your employees will need skills to make the most of this new metaverse reality.  

6. DevOps

A skillset or corporate philosophy that has gained traction in the last ten years is DevOps or software development that focuses on collaboration, rather than isolation.

It’s a combination of development and operations. Traditionally in software development, the people who were responsible for creating the software, the coders and programmers, were functionally isolated from the rest of the company.

People came up with ideas for what they wanted the software to do, with no idea of whether it was feasible or not. The job of executing that vision went to the coding team, with no real interaction between the operations team and the technical staff.

DevOps requires a skill set of collaboration so that a whole team can work together to envision and design the software that helps a company operate effectively. In other words, marketing, concept, and programming are no longer isolated zones.

They are invested in working together, to understand how each department can lift the other, rather than use them as competitive stepping stones to reap management rewards in their departments.

7. Enterprise Mobility Management

As businesses are transformed by digital technology and processes, they are affected by information storage and access as well as human resource management. This was especially true since the pandemic as offices closed and businesses needed to source and rely on digital technologies (think Dropbox or WhatsApp etc.) to stay connected and work effectively.  

So do you need to open a call center, when you can rely on a combination of automation or chatbots for low-level customer support and a remote team for the remaining human-level technical support? Check out our 'Guide to Chatbots' to find out more. 

We now live in an age where remote work and collaboration with new vendors, clients, and partners no longer require being in the same city or even country. To get the most efficient, cost-effective solutions, businesses must now think outside of the conventional means, such as physical facilities and full-time staff.

Businesses need leaders who can find and manage digital solutions. For example, your company may benefit from storing files in a hybrid cloud system for security, or from implementing a tool that HR or team managers can use to increase employee engagement. Develop an understanding of the digital solutions that could improve communications and efficiencies within your company.

8. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Robotics

Automation is vital to a business as it helps to reduce time, effort and cost along with mitigating the possibility of human and manual errors. This gives your company more time to focus on key objectives and business outcomes. And automation is having an impact across industries. 

  • Manufacturing - Robotics and remote operations can help increase production while reducing their workforce
  • Retail - Self-checkout terminals, self-scanning robots, inventory checking and backroom unloading can be automated so staff can focus on other tasks
  • Customer service - Companies can now respond to customers through platforms such as WhatsApp using bots and the route requests to the relevant department 
  • Administration - Often bogged down with repetitive tasks, the cloud can be used for storage while software can create invoices, send emails and schedule appointments
  • Automotive - While automation is common in this industry, 3D printing can be used to make parts, collaborative robots are used by BMW and self-driving vehicles are already a reality 
BMW cobots
BMW cobots

All of this is made possible by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Understanding the processes behind each or even identifying ways automation could improve your company's operations is an excellent place to start.

Businesses should focus on cultivating the skills to develop AI, ML, and RPA software, acquire the staff who can, or partner with companies that specialize in this rapidly growing sector of the business world.

9. Blockchain

Digital currencies are becoming more important in the commercial world. The recent rise in Non-Fungible Tokens as currency (based on blockchain technology) for digital assets saw the sale of artwork ‘The Merge’ for nearly $92 million. And brands are catching onto this NFT trend by using tech platforms to create assets that can be sold online or in virtual worlds. 

But blockchain is not just about NFTs, the technology is used in industries like healthcare, banking, real estate, and insurance. These sectors use blockchain as it helps verify and trace multi-step transactions, increases transparency, and ensures security. It also reduces compliance costs and speeds up data transfer. 

This has caused a demand for skilled professionals in this area  - blockchain architects, blockchain software engineers and blockchain developers. It is changing the way organizations work and may benefit your business, particularly concerning security and data transfer. 

Read our blog to find out more about how leading brands are navigating their digital transformation journeys

Drive the Digital Transformation of Your Business

We know that it can be a challenge to equip your workforce with the digital knowledge and tools they need. Our tailored digital transformation courses will upskill your entire workforce to ensure your business can compete and thrive in today’s digital age. Download our corporate brochure today to see how our digital transformation specialists can help your business. 


Updated 2022

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