Gartner: Digital business incompetence will lose firms their competitive edge

A quarter of businesses will lose competitive ranking in next four years unless skills problems are addressed.

Skills gap

A quarter of businesses stand to lose their competitive edge by 2017 due to digital business incompetence, Gartner has warned.

The analyst house conducted a survey of 151 people "intimately involved in making digital business strategy decisions or in locating, developing and acquiring talent for those digital business strategy endeavours".

Demand is growing for insight into digital business

According to the report, 90 per cent of them thought competition for talent will make or break digital business success.

Furthermore, 50 per cent of those questioned said their digital operations accounts for all or part of their wider business strategy.

Diane Morello, managing vice president at Gartner and author of the Talent on the Digital Frontier: The Stakes Rise in Digital Businessreport generated from the survey, said: "The next decade will move beyond the notion of using technology to automate businesses and toward positioning technology as revenue builder, market maker and customer finder."

Guest editor Ken Deeks says:

"Gartner claims we are heading for a digital skills shortage. This is nothing new for the IT industry.

"At a recent event hosted by Outsystems, a number of CIOs claimed skills shortages were holding back the UK as a competitive force.

"The problem is no-one is taking ownership of this challenge, with industry, education, training and the Government all talking the good talk but without necessarily taking action to back the words.

"There are exceptions - Cisco is one of them - but if the lack of digital skills isn't addressed then, yet again, the UK could be left behind."

In order to be successful in making this transformation, Gartner claims organisations must build up a talent pool of experts both inside and outside the business to drive the digital strategy.

"Demand is growing for insight into digital business, particularly among CEOs and CIOs who fear that their companies may be falling behind new business models and competitive opportunities," said Morello.

"Their concern is justified. Digital business will concentrate almost exclusively on new sources of revenue derived from new products, services, channels and information for new customers and constituencies."

As a result, CIOs and HR executives must be on the look out for talent in this area, regardless of their location and employment arrangements, Morello continued.

"Relying solely on tactics of yesterday to find, acquire and develop digital business knowledge, skills and competencies will cause many businesses to fall behind as other businesses advance," she concluded.

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