By including your team in the decision-making, investing in the future of your workforce, being willing to try out new ideas, clear communication, and a bit of tech-savviness you, as a leader, will be ready to navigate in the tech revolution!

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, leaders need to embrace a mindset of continuous adaptation. We’re in an era of ‘The Digital Age’ where new transformative tech and trends are reshaping everything, forcing us to revisit what effective leadership really means. There is however no doubt that it involves staying informed about emerging technologies relevant to their industry, understanding their potential impact, and proactively integrating them into their business strategies.

The leaders that successfully explore and leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics are to gain major competitive advantages. However, if leaders resist adopting these new technologies, their companies might face challenges and fall behind in the market.

The question emerges: How does one navigate this rapidly changing landscape and stay ahead?

Well, digital transformation, which is a big term for a big change, is more than just incorporating new tools. It’s about changing the way your organization works, its culture, and how people think about their work. Hereby, the leaders play a crucial role in driving and managing this transformation, ensuring that it aligns with the overall business strategy. We have the pleasure of presenting five ideas on how you as a leader can successfully embrace and manage the digital transformation ahead to make it a success.

Inclusive Decision-Making:

By including the employees, the employees should have a say on where digitization could and should be adopted. When employees generate their own ideas about where digitization supports business, it is more likely to become a success. Include your employees!

Investment in Your Team’s Skills:

Developing talent and skills throughout the organization is a fundamental action for transformation and one of the most important in digital change efforts. This covers, defining roles and responsibilities, hiring digital talent and engaging integrators. The integrators are employees who understand both the business side and technical aspects and can translate and integrate the new digital methods and processes into the existing ways of working. Invest in your team!

Digital upgrade for day-to-day tools:

Give your daily tools and processes a digital makeover. With a strategic digital upgrade of the daily tools, you ensure to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Be willing to try out new things!

Communicate the Change:

Clear communication is critical during a digital transformation. Telling the employees, the when, how and why it is changing and why the changes are important, helps the employees understand where the organization is headed. Explain the when, how and why!

Tech-Savvy Leadership:

You don’t have to be a tech expert, but possessing a basic understanding of key technologies is essential. Tech-savvy leaders can effectively communicate with their technical teams, make informed decisions, and lead their organizations into the future. Invest in yourself!

To summarize how to navigate in the tech revolution, leadership in the digital age is all about having a clear vision, being adaptable, and being open to new technologies. Bringing together these qualities is crucial for steady growth and lasting success in today’s tech-driven business world. These steps might seem simple at first but can be very effective for leaders to steer their organizations not just through digital changes but toward a future filled with innovation and prosperity.

Is your organization facing a larger tech transformation and looking to broaden your tech-savvy talent pool?

Feel free to reach out to your local Friisberg office

We spoke with Jan Skvaril, who as a Czech, has lived in Bulgaria for the last 17 years, and acts in NEXT Consult as a Client Success Partner.

His experience is a blend of consulting, technology, and hands-on managerial experience. He has spent 17 years in business & IT consulting, 10 of which were in Deloitte across Central and Eastern Europe. Jan has also 8 years of experience in managing leading distribution, logistics, and manufacturing businesses in Bulgaria.

NEXT Consult is an international business consulting and digital transformation firm, operating primarily in SouthEast Europe. It was established in 2010 by former senior executives from Deloitte, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. They are a client-obsessed team of diverse talent with 100 professionals from 6 nationalities, and it represents the world’s leading technology vendors - Salesforce, SAP and UiPath.

The IT industry has been developing rapidly for many years. What have been the major growth drivers for your business?

2020 and 2021 were golden years for technology companies. The Covid pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and transition to the cloud, it has also driven the development of new products and services. Financial institutions which were relying heavily on customers visiting their branches had to react very quickly and fully digitalized their marketing, sales and customer service processes. Many sectors were pushed to online sales and cashless payments. That is why our company has experienced 40% growth year over year.

HR professionals sometimes see technologies as an enemy, which reduces people's interactions and spoils a company's culture. What is your opinion about the balance between people and technology?

Around half of all existing work activities could be automated in the next few decades using Robotic process automation (RPA) technology. Just like people, software robots communicate with systems and applications to speed up processes and reduce the workload on humans.

One HR professional may find this technology invasive, as it could lead to headcount reduction. The truth is the opposite. RPA enables organizations to shift employees' attention from low-value tasks to higher-value ones that deliver better customer experience and ultimately support revenue growth.

For example, customer service representatives once spent a significant amount of time gathering data for different customers’ requests. This limited the time they had to directly engage with customers in consultative conversations. But, now, software robots handle that gathering work, giving employees more time to engage directly with customers about meeting their needs. In addition, the shift to more valuable work makes employees more engaged.

What major technology trends do you expect for the forthcoming years?

By 2025, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. Robots, automation, 3D printing, and more will generate around 79.4 zettabytes of data per year. Far-greater network availability, powered by 5G, will drive broad shifts in the business landscape towards digitalization.

At the same time, the enormous digitalization creates challenges for data security. Even before the Covid pandemic, more than 8.5 billion data records were compromised. Despite advances in cybersecurity, criminals continue to redouble their efforts.

I predict we’ll see huge growth in the area of security technology and high demand for security experts.

It is a general observation that the Covid pandemic affected the staff turnover. What has been the situation in the IT industry?

For a decade now, the IT sector has not only been one of the fastest-growing business segments in our region, but also the industry that provides its employees with opportunities for a high standard of living, and steady income growth.

We introduced the home office long before the pandemic so we did not have many challenges to keep working under any new business conditions.

Like in other industries we observed a sharp reduction in staff turnover due to uncertainty. Currently, we experience industry dynamics that makes us innovate people management every day to stay competitive in the industry.

CEOs face new and very specific challenges in supporting their organisations through, and then managing the lasting implications of, this current crisis.

According to recent work by Gartner, sixty-nine percent of boards accelerated digital business initiatives because of COVID-19, with almost half now actively looking for fresh technology expertise. Digital business models are now being pursued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic - business strategy is changing.

Board members that are not themselves Digital Natives might lack the insights and expertise required to make informed decisions and reasoned judgements regarding, for example, AI, UCaaS, Digital Marketing, IoT, 5G - which are needed to ensure their business will survive.

We have talked with many companies over recent months that have made significant investments in the analysis of Big Data, automation and new forms of online collaboration. These moves, originally forced by the need for business continuity, are now finding permanence as processes change forever across all industries.

Technology enterprise leaders and industry analysts with whom we have spoken have confirmed that such shifts would be near impossible without a digital strategy and effective technology leadership. Long before the pandemic, strategic decisions by CEOs and boards, on behalf of shareholders, including the setting of company goals and assessment of the top teams’ performance were increasingly linked with investment and hiring decisions related to technology. That has simply been fast-forwarded by the virus.

Yet, despite the rapid and widespread adoption of digital business tools all around them, there are still many large companies that try to continue to function without the technology expertise of a CIO at the board table.

"As a CIO, the CEO and the board expect from me, not only to fix the WiFi... They also expect me to put the right priorities on the right strategies.... "

Rene Deist, CIO Faurecia

Technology is reshaping business models in almost every sector but securing the best technology leaders can be problematic...  However, Friisberg's Partners and Consultants are fully familiar with every dimension of the issue. Your business may not even know what it really needs, but we can help you shape your thinking and then identify and attract the right leadership, for your business as it will be - and needs to be - to thrive.

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