A new research study from CSC’s Leading Edge Forum (LEF) finds that senior management at most firms lacks the ability to make critical decisions on technology strategy and implementation, at a time when, according to the study, “leadership and digital leadership are becoming one and the same."

“Global business leaders see the game-changing potential of emerging technologies, but many are unsure their firms possess the digital leadership necessary for these increasingly disruptive times,” said David C Moschella, research director, CSC LEF.

The CSC LEF study identifies what senior business executives see as the biggest barriers to realizing their firms’ full digital potential:
  • 32 percent say lack of intra-company cooperation across organizational silos and fiefdoms;
  • 28 percent say employee and/or customer resistance to new ways of working;
  • 24 percent say lack of agility and responsiveness; and
  • 16 percent say lack of executive engagement/leadership in new technology initiatives.

The report recommends that information-intensive enterprises create a digital leadership development plan based on four main components:
  • Executive engagement—Companies need senior executives who believe that IT matters, and accept that they need to take responsibility for their firm’s major digital initiatives;
  • Tech-savvy partners—Digital leadership must be seen in the context of the wider business ecosystem, and the need to leverage new innovation and infrastructure possibilities;
  • Double-deep employees—Companies need a culture that effectively adopts new ways of working, and rewards employees who embrace the use of IT to better do their jobs; and
  • Revitalized Enterprise IT—Central IT must become more outside-in, increasing the time spent working directly with customers and suppliers to help drive business and ecosystem change.

Closing the Leadership/Digital Leadership Gap

While leadership and digital leadership are converging, they have very different origins that require firms to adopt new skills and behaviors. The CSC LEF study cites ten examples of how digital leadership is different from traditional leadership, including the four below:
  • Silo busting—As major digital initiatives almost always cut across existing company silos, fiefdoms and P&Ls, one of the most important requirements of a digital leader is the ability to get things done across company boundaries;
  • Data-driven decisions—Only about half of the executives surveyed said that their firm is truly data-driven, with many executives still skeptical of the concept;
  • Community building—Leadership in areas such as ecosystem collaboration, social media, open innovation, crowd-sourcing and customer engagement is typically a matter of influence, not control; and
  • Strategic/openness—The principles behind the open source software movement are spreading to other economic sectors including 3D printing, robotics, electric cars, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and government, yet many executives still prefer more traditional intellectual property approaches.

The LEF report is based on a survey of 300 C-level executives and 300 IT professionals based in the U.K. and U.S., and was conducted on behalf of CSC by IDG.

Report Summary, Online Self-Assessment Exercise, and Digital Leadership Conference

To view or download CSC’s LEF “ Leadership and Digital Leadership are Becoming One and the Same” executive summary, go to: http://www.lef.csc.com/publications/digital-leadership.

A twenty-question self-assessment exercise is available that reveals the quality of digital leadership in an organization. http://www.lef.csc.com/leads/digital-leadership-assessment.

The “Leadership and Digital Leadership are Becoming One and the Same” study will be a topic of discussion at the CSC LEF Executive Forum in London, 18 Sept 2014. For more information, go to: www.lef.csc.com/events/theforum.

About CSC Leading Edge Forum

CSC’s Leading Edge Forum (LEF) is a global research and thought-leadership community dedicated to helping large organizations identify and adopt Next Practices at the growing intersection between business and information technology. Through an annual membership programme of research, events, workshops and advisory services, CSC LEF supports CIOS and other senior Business/IT leaders in areas such as visioning, strategy, organizational change, executive education, staff development and the future of the Central IT function. Members enjoy personalized access to a global network of thought leaders, clients and leading practitioners. For more information, please visit lef.csc.com.

About CSC

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is a global leader of next generation information technology (IT) services and solutions. The Company's mission is to enable superior returns on our client's technology investments through best-in-class industry solutions, domain expertise and global scale. CSC has approximately 76,000 employees and reported revenue of $13.0 billion for the 12 months ended July 4, 2014. For more information, visit the company's website at www.csc.com.

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