Skills For Digital Transformation: Start Your Learning Journey Now

Bernd Welz

Digital transformation opens the door to a new world of opportunities and challenges. Technological developments – such as Big Data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and social and business networks – are driving innovation to enable new processes, new products and services, and entirely new business models.

Most companies are well aware of this transformation and know that they will need to research and invest in this topic. The digital economy is a new market reality that is redefining everything, providing infinite opportunities for value creation but also challenges for many.

So what must you do to ensure that you and your company’s workforce are well prepared to cope with future requirements?

Prepare for a successful transformation

While the topic of digitalization is firmly on the agenda for most companies, preparation in terms of learning and enablement has just started. Skills are a key enabler and foundation for digital transformation. However, a skills gap is among the top barriers to companies achieving their transformation goals.

A recent study carried out by SAP and the Technical University of Munich revealed that gaps in cross-functional knowledge may become a major obstacle for digital transformation. Of those companies that responded to the survey, 83% stated that they are lacking the required skills to drive a successful transformation. In addition, 72% said that their business executives are lacking the technology skills necessary to enable it.

To reinvent business models and create innovative products and services, IT and business personnel need to understand each other’s tasks. Knowledge is a key tool for empowering the entire organization, whether you are defining a digital vision or executing tasks along a transformation journey.

Act now and start your learning journey today

You need relevant skills if you are to identify new opportunities that will help your company become a leader in the digital age. The following strategies will help you to nurture effective skills for digital transformation in your organization:

1. Assess skills gaps

Find out what skills are needed by your IT and business experts, and the leadership team. This assessment will ensure that you plan your learning journey upfront in order to focus on the right target groups and respective learning content, as well as define the best way of learning and adequate timeline. A learning needs analysis is offered by a number of vendors, including SAP.

2. Define and develop training plans

Create effective training plans for each target group using a mix of digital learning and classroom training.

With technology evolving, the ability to share knowledge is itself being transformed. With the widespread availability of the Internet and social media, knowledge and experiences can be shared at a faster, almost instant speed. In recent years, massive open online courses for enterprises (Enterprise MOOCs) have emerged and are significantly gaining traction (MOOCs) . Enterprise MOOCs allow you and your employees to learn anytime, anywhere. Training is tailored to individual needs and delivered on any chosen device. At the same time, MOOCs allow you to scale learning across your entire workforce according to your business needs, while saving travel costs and time.

I recommend that you look at a recent online course, “Leadership in Digital Transformation”, by Professor Helmut Krcmar of the Technical University of Munich. This course was the first in a series of courses on the openSAP Thought Leaders Platform.

3. Share your experiences

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” This quote by Benjamin Franklin is still very much valid today: Constant learning can be achieved by sharing information and engaging people with same interest: “Two brains are always better than one.” We at SAP believe that communities such as SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation can provide IT and business professional a much-needed platform and network to build new skills in order to be successful in this digital age.

Stay tuned

During the next couple of weeks, I very much look forward to sharing with you my perspective on skills that are essential for digital transformation. Let me know your thoughts around this topic and the best way to embrace this challenge by leaving a comment below, or reaching out to me on Twitter: @BerndWelz

Want more insight on digital transformation? See Embrace Technology To Grow.


Bernd Welz

About Bernd Welz

Bernd Welz is executive vice president and Chief Knowledge Officer of Products & Innovation at SAP SE. In his role, he is responsible for user assistance content and services in the SAP products, and product learning offerings, as well as the leading cloud learning services openSAP and SAP Learning Hub for SAP professionals, end-users, and other external communities.