Struggling with digital transformation? Here’s how leaders can take the reins

Swedish furniture company IKEA is among the world's global companies that have embraced digital transformation.

By U2B Staff 

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Digital skills have become indispensable in today’s workforce, as echoed by a recent survey by recruitment firm Hays which said many of today’s roles require a high level of digital literacy. 

Digital transformation could entail integrating new technology and overhauling business processes to improve efficiency and growth. 


This is unsurprising, given how technology has radically changed how we connect, collaborate and communicate in the workplace. This has bolstered the need for leaders who can drive digital transformation in the workplace. 

How well digital transformation is implemented, however, is key to success. 

Research and advisory firm Gartner notes that the competitive advantage for 30% of organisations will come from the workforce’s ability to creatively exploit emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented analytics.

Despite the importance of digital transformation, a report by consulting company Capgemini found that on average, 39% of organisations today say they have the digital capabilities required — the same level as in 2012

“The real eye-opener was that only 35% say they have the leadership capabilities required to succeed at digital transformation — a decrease from 45% in 2012,” said the report.

So how do business leaders prepare for this? Executive education — or exec-ed — is one area to turn to. 

Driving digital transformation 

Exec-ed is a graduate-level education that culminates with a certification. They are helpful for professionals who want something more targeted for their professional development.

Depending on the programme, they can be ideal for high potential managers to C-suite executives seeking new skills and knowledge.

While the programme does not culminate with a degree, they help develop leadership talent and equip individuals with new skills in specific areas to stand out from the competition. A good exec-ed programme is relevant to global business trends and challenges.

If you are involved with building strategies within your organisations, a digital transformation programme may come in handy.

Many universities offer exec-ed courses on driving digital transformation. 

The modules covered vary between universities, but you can generally expect to learn various skills, from understanding digital disruption drivers to developing strategies to deal with platform challenges and designing business models.

Cambridge’s Judge Business School’s online course in the field, for instance, is designed for executives who take part in building strategies in their organisations.

Participants will engage with Cambridge Judge’s faculty, who will share their cutting-edge research and allow executives the opportunity to reflect on what disruption means in their industry.

“They will also offer unique frameworks and tools proven to help executives define sound strategies to compete and thrive in this fast-changing landscape,” said its website.

“These new frameworks reflect the realities of modern strategy, introducing concepts that were unknown a decade ago, then challenging executives to use them on case studies that will have relevance to their own circumstances.”

The syllabus includes dealing with disruption, exploring the importance of mapping business ecosystems and mastering the concept of business model innovation, to name a few.


Wharton’s Leading Digital Transformation programme helps participants spot digital opportunities, develop strategies around them, and pitch them persuasively to stakeholders.

It will also help students understand the challenges and opportunities presented by digital disruptions across industries and geographies by networking with a global peer group and engage in a hands-on simulation to deepen their understanding of digital platform strategy.

With the right preparation, business leaders can arm themselves with the right knowledge and tools to drive innovation within their organisations and build an agile workforce.