Digital Illiteracy: Don't let it hamper your business

This is a guest blog from Colin Bannister, vice president and chief technology officer at CA Technologies UKI.


IT skills is a hot topic and one which personally, I am passionate about. Whilst the education process and associated debate is focussed very much on the younger generation, developing the skills required to meet the needs of businesses of the future, we must also not forget about the importance of continuing to educate those already in business, including the c-suite.


One of the newest and most pressing issues facing the boardrooms of today is digital literacy or lack thereof. Focussed on the need for members of the board to know and understand how IT can – and is – impacting businesses, digital literacy is not something that should be ignored. The recently published ‘Future Role of the CIO’ report  highlights the detrimental impact of failing to include technology on the boardroom agenda, and the CIO’s role in communicating the importance of IT to business efficiency and overall success.


The role of the CIO is an ongoing debate, not only with regards to how they fit within the business model but also in how significant their input is to boardroom discussions and ultimately, business decisions.  As CIOs are recognising there is an issue, they are in a strong position to raise the level of digital literacy amongst senior managers. Perhaps more importantly, CIOs are the driver for digital strategic thinking within the organisation.


With many senior leadership team members being digitally illiterate – according to over 80% of CIOs – something needs to be done to drive relevant skills in the boardroom. I see many businesses failing to understand the problems associated when digital literacy is ignored; missed opportunities, poor competitiveness, slower time to market and IT investments that are underachieving. Quite a significant list of attributes for any business seeking to innovate and ultimately grow in a triple dip recession!


One of the major problems is that many business leaders see IT as a cost of doing business, rather than viewing it as a means through which to grow the organisation, make processes more efficient and introduce greater agility and competitiveness – a mind-set that needs to be changed and a call to action for CIOs. Businesses cannot afford to neglect technology and business leaders need to learn to embrace the true value it can bring.

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