Digital transformation has been a hot topic in recent years, and for good reason. More and more, companies are adapting to the ever-changing world. New technologies like the Internet of Things, big data architecture, wearables and more are changing markets and industries, making digital transformation a necessity.

What Is Digital Transformation, and Why Is It Important?

Heide Abelli, senior vice president for content product management at Skillsoft, defines digital transformation as “the realignment of/or investment in technology, business models and processes to drive new value for customers and employees.”

New technology is always disruptive. When the printing press was invented in the 15th century, it allowed books and pamphlets to be reproduced and circulated more quickly than ever before. This invention was a major cause of the spread of the Protestant Reformation, which radically changed Western Europe. Today, new technologies sprout up much more rapidly, increasing efficiencies, creating new markets and redefining customer expectations. Companies need to continually innovate to keep up with competitors, attract and retain the best talent, and grow. One of the most significant ways that companies are innovating is digital transformation.

Executive Support

For any initiative at any organization to succeed, there must be a level of executive support. With digital transformation, it’s especially important to have strong support from the very top. The nature of digital transformation involves the integration of systems and products and increased communication and collaboration across an entire organization. If one or more parts of the organization decide that they don’t want to integrate or change, they will significantly impede the transformation.

Empowering Your People

Tejas Vashi, senior director of product strategy and marketing at Learning@Cisco, recently wrote that talent is the “catalyst for digital transformation.” You must have the right people in your company, and they must be willing to communicate across the organization, use the tools your company offers and collaborate in order to implement strategies, integrate systems and achieve business objectives.

The Role of Learning

Learning and development is an important contributor to successful digital transformation. Offering valuable learning content on an LMS and making it available to employees is one way. When employees find helpful articles and resources, they should have an easy way to share that information with others. A good LMS will support all standard e-learning content (e.g., using SCORM, AICC or xAPI), document storage and instructor-led training events. Learning platforms with tools like peer-to-peer and machine learning recommendations can help employees develop skills that are relevant to them.

Make sure your platform supports asynchronous learning, synchronous learning and blended learning, since instructor-led training (ILT) will never go away. And regardless of the modality, it’s important that that employees are recognized for their accomplishments. Your learning platform should also contain tools to integrate with other systems to reduce data entry. These tools help ensure that all employees, including new hires, will have access to the same content, regardless of their location or device they are accessing it from. This integration allows you to manage of all your learning in one place for easy reporting.

Learning content can be a catalyst for creating a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Encourage all employees to continuously learn, brainstorm with each other and keep up on industry news from day one. If people are exposed to more ideas, they often think of new ideas.

In today’s war for talent, it’s essential that companies give their employees the skills they need for digital transformation. Help your people develop skills that are aligned to clear business goals. Managers in this new age will need to become familiar with new technologies and embrace change.

Nobody knows what the future holds, but with a digital transformation strategy and a culture that embraces it, you’ll be prepared for the next seismic shift in the global economy.