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Former Member
For many businesses digital transformation is on top of their priority list. However, many still need to define a strategy to equip their employees with the right digital skills to be successful on this journey.

This is also a key finding from research by Technical University of Munich (TUM). Published in June this year, TUM’s study “Skills for Digital Transformation” reveals that awareness of the importance of digital skills is greater than ever. However, targeted skill development is still rather the exception. In fact, digital talent is threatening to become the major bottleneck of digitization in the industry.

Businesses Stuck in Orientation Phase of Digital Transformation

An overwhelming 90 percent of the study respondents perceive digital transformation as being important for their company’s overall business strategy, and half of them have established a vision for the digital future of their company accordingly.

Although digital transformation impacts all industries and nearly all areas of a business – from the design of technology-enabled business models to efficient, highly automated operations –  most companies are still lacking a clearly defined Digital Transformation strategy: only 37 percent of respondents claim to have a strategy and 26 percent of respondents claim to have a clearly defined execution plan.

Percentage of visionaries, strategy makers, and actual implementers among respondents

Training Programs Not Keeping Up

Perhaps the most striking finding of the study is that despite the growing awareness and enthusiasm for digital transformation, companies may be missing out on building the right digital skills. In 2015, 53 percent of the respondents claimed that their company does not have the personnel with the skills necessary for digital transformation. In 2017, this number even increased to 64 percent. Possible explanations are the increasing speed of technological innovation and the growing awareness of the importance of digital skills. Despite this awareness, little more than the early adopters (16%) of the companies in this study however invests into dedicated programs to build up the skill base needed for its digital future.

The respondents in the survey seem to have a clear perception of which skills they need. The top runners among the 14 key skills are digital security, mobile technologies, business change management, and big data analytics. Respondents considered most of these required skills for successful digital transformation to be even more important now than two years ago. The respondents however reported a substantial skill gap in all skill domains.


As of today, companies experience a substantial lack in personnel with the skills necessary for digital transformation.


Further Research Offers Skill Development Best Practices

In collaboration with the European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS), SAP SE is currently identifying best practices as part of a maturity model for how companies can develop the skills for digital transformation. Details on this maturity model and identified best practices will be available later this year.

More information about the two studies will be shared in a webinar on September 14, 2017. To read the complete IDT study and learn more about its findings, visit the website of the Technical University of Munich.


Start Building up Essential Skills NOW

As a starting point, you may want to explore SAP’s digital learning offerings and build up essential skills. Feel free to explore how SAP Learning Hub and openSAP can help you and your organization:

  • You may want to register for SAP Learning Hub for free - simply register with SAP Learning Hub, discovery edition, the trial environment for our on-demand learning solution. This edition provides for free access to several materials to build skills relevant for the digital era. Registration is free and easy: all you need is a valid email address.

  • Participate in openSAP courses focusing on Digital Transformation:

What are your challenges with regards to building up skills for digital transformation? Feel free to join this discussion and share your point of view.