The era of digital transformation impacts our lives, from the way that we order a taxi to the way that we consume entertainment. Its reach is so vast that it’s affecting nearly every industry, and it’s here to stay. Analyst firm IDC has forecasted that spending on digital transformation initiatives will surpass $2 trillion by 2020. What’s more, in Deloitte’s 2016 digital business study, 87 percent of the business leaders surveyed believe that digital technologies will disrupt their industry.

How can learning and development professionals prepare their organizations for this transformation? First, let’s take a look at some of the key components to successful digital transformation.

Technology: Only Part of the Equation

When many people think about digital transformation, they think “getting new technology,” whether that technology is a new software application or new infrastructure. And it’s true that technology is a large part of the digital transformation equation. IDC recently reported that spending on digital transformation technologies in 2017 will be more than $1.2 trillion.

It’s important to remember, though, that technology doesn’t integrate on its own and isn’t adopted without the right teams in place. If you have a software application with 5,000 features, but your team only knows how to use five, it’s as if you’ve bought a program with five features. Technology is just a part of the digital transformation equation, and true transformation involves much more coordination.

Teamwork: To Achieve Business Outcomes

Innovative business models contribute to the digital transformation equation. Airbnb, Netflix and Uber are all examples of the application of innovative business models using technology in the real world. We don’t always think about how those innovative business models that use technology require teams that prioritize business outcomes and work together to achieve them.

It’s essential that business and IT professionals collaborate to identify appropriate technology products and match them to solutions that move businesses forward. Teams help organizations optimally integrate new business models and new technologies. And what are teams composed of? Talent.

Talent: The Catalyst for Digital Transformation

Drilling down to the essence of digital transformation and how it’s accomplished, talent is the key. Not just any talent – talent with the skills to innovate and collaborate in a way that fundamentally drives outcomes. Cultivating talent is a challenge for many organizations. According to Forrester, only 16 percent of organizations feel they have the right talent in place for digital transformation. What’s more, a recent report from Cisco rated a lack of skilled talent as a key barrier to digital transformation.

How can learning and development professionals equip their organization’s talent to successfully navigate through digital transformation? Here are three tips.

Teach technical and business skills.

It’s imperative that training and certification programs foster technical skills in technologies like IoT, security and cloud and business skills like in communication and project management. Digital transformation requires digital, business value, customer success and innovation know-how in order to determine priorities, foster internal alignment and reach optimal business outcomes.

Establish a culture of continuous learning.

Since digital transformation requires a host of new and evolving skills, it’s essential that talent is not only supported but sustained over time. As business and technology continue to evolve, a culture of continuous learning provides a way to outpace the rapid lifecycle of skills.

Share tools that encourage development.

Sharing the right tools is crucial to adoption and effectiveness. Learning and development professionals can nurture continuous learning by offering access to learning libraries with consistently updated training content and by encouraging employees to maintain certifications through continuing education programs.

Technology, teamwork and talent must move in tandem to achieve optimal digital outcomes. Learning and development professionals can help their organizations forge ahead to lead successful digital transformation journeys by equipping teams and talent with learning and growth opportunities, now and for the future.

Want to learn more? Come to the Training Industry Conference and Expo in June and attend Tejas’ session, “Talent: The Best Kept Secret in Business Transformation.”