Digital strategy leadership varies between public and private sector

The recently published results of a survey into digital transformation have revealed big differences between the private and public sector in terms of who is leading digital strategies within organisations.

The State of the Digital Nation highlights the findings from a survey of over 400 individuals from private and public sector organisations, who shared the progress they are making on their digital transformation journeys.

According to the survey, the chief executive officer is by far most likely to be the lead person responsible for driving digital in the private sector – 54% of companies named their CEO as their digital lead.

However, the picture is dramatically different in the public sector. Just 21% of those surveyed saw their CEO as their digital leader. In the public sector, the Head of ICT is more likely to lead on digital – in 31% of organisations in this case.

According to survey respondents, some organisations have appointed a head of digital, digital director, or chief digital officer to oversee their digital transformation. Others have not assigned the task to one person, instead sharing the responsibility among the board or executive team. In some cases, the entire workforce has been given responsibility in order to secure buy-in at every level of the organisation.


Developing digital leaders

Using the survey results, the authors of the report at Agilisys have drawn up a four-point plan to help organisations develop and embed a digital culture. One of those points focuses on digital leadership.

“To lead in the digital age requires digital literacy and competency,” the report’s authors say. “An understanding of what is possible through the use and deployment of digital technologies is a prerequisite and this can of course be acquired and developed by existing leaders.

“However, in the digital age “change” happens continually and rapidly, and so digital leaders require a number of other key attributes. These include adaptability and agility, the ability to work collaboratively and innovatively, a focus on customers and customer centric design. More importantly the ability to consider the new technologies and services available and make decisions about what to adopt and when to do it.

“Developing and refining these skills, working collaboratively with other leaders and continually investing in one’s own growth have never been more important.”

The report is centred around three themes integral to the delivery of successful transformation:

  • the drivers for change;
  • digital access and literacy;
  • digital skills and leadership.

It also aims to help organisations assess where they are on their digital journey and sets out steps to embed a digital culture.

Click here to download a copy of the report.

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