Digital Leadership

Digital Leadership

Digital Leadership: Only 7 percent of German managers are “digital leaders“/ Only one in twelve executives in Germany make the grade in terms of digitalisation.

Dr. Simon Beck, the general manager of the Acadamy for Executives in Economy in Germany (Akademie für Führungskräfte der Wirtschaft), comments on the effect the digital revolution has on the executives' work and explains why leadership continues to stay important VUCA World. (>>>Clip in German)
On behalf of Dimension Data Germany, 503 executives working in companies with more than 500 employees were questioned in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The study “Digital Leaders - Leadership in the digital era” characterizes the digital leader for the first time and answers the question what marks executives and visionaries in the digital era to successfully realize digital transformations in their own company. The study shows that just about seven percent of decision makers have the potential to become a digital leader.

"A digital leader does not only possess very good ditigal skills himself/herself but also tries to achieve qualification and support of the employees' skills in that area. As an important intermediary between the IT department and the rest of the company, he/she shares new information and encourages discussions about important topics. The digital leader combines assertiveness with digital skills and a “digital-first way of thinking”, Dr Carlo Velten, general manager of Crisp Research and co-writer of the study, describes the image of a modern executive.
Four out of ten decision makers claimed that their own digital competence was poorly or very poorly, in grading their team's skills the were even more critical: according to them, 46 percent are completely lacking any digital expertise. Nevertheless, companies do not sufficiently support the development of this competences. According to the study, 42 percent of the people questioned claim more (advanced) training in their companies in order to be able to cope with the future digital transformation.
71 percent of the executives questioned are "Digital Beginners", who lack the technological skills as well as the proper mindset, to realize change im their own company. One out of every five either has the necessary knowledge ("Digital Skills") or the digital-first way of thinking ("Digital Mindset") required.

The study shows that only 7 percent are real “digital leaders” who have the necessary knowledge about the digitalization as well as the required management skills to make the right decisions. According to Sven Heinsen, CEO of Dimension Data Germany, "the study shows clearly that the employees in the important places in Germany, Austria and Switzerland so far have been insufficiently prepared for the digital change.” He also says that “Only a small minority already has the skills of a digital leader who sees digitalization as a chance, tackles strategically new digital business models and critically questions existing IT solutions concerning their value for the enterprise. But that is exactly what the companies need to start innovations and to realize competitive advantages that are made possible by a consequent digital transformation."

50 percent of decision makers are convinced that their company is not or only slightly affected by the digitalisation. Those who are entrusted with building a next-generation IT consider the conversion concerning the cloudification of the IT infrastructure and IT security the most important aspect; this is currently realized in 39 percent of the enterprises. "At the same time surprisingly in only just about a fifth of the companies, certain projects for digital transformation have arrived on the strategic level or management level", comments Sven Heinsen. "By sticking to the outdated opinion that only the IT department is responsible for digital topics, the managerial staff misses the chance to actively create change and to push it on resolutely", Heinsen continues. "There is the danger that the solutions are not matching the business strategy and all the investments in new technologies do not pay out."

An research by MIT Sloan and Cap Gemini shows how important the right mix of digital and management qualification is for a company's success. Companies whose managers know a lot about digitalisation show an above-average growth in turnover. But only companies that have also been properly led show disproportional increases in profits. So, only this combination of digital and management qualification makes the “Digital Masters”.

Source: Study "Digital Leader - Leadership im digitalen Zeitalter" by the Crisp Research AG on behalf of Dimension Data Deutschland, October 2015