May 20, 2020
Deloitte has published its 2020 Global Technology Leadership survey, “The Kinetic Leader: Boldly Reinventing the Enterprise,” which sets out to examine the broader scope and evolution of tech leadership roles. The findings claim to reveal the increased need for agile and kinetic leaders — change instigators adept at driving tech-enabled transformation and organisational change.
Deloitte claims these findings are particularly relevant as organisations face remarkable large-scale transformational change in the wake of current uncertain economic and social conditions. The 2020 Global Technology Leadership survey was conducted through interviews and online surveys with 1,376 technology and business leaders in 69 countries and is an expansion of what was previously Deloitte’s Global CIO survey, last released in 2018.
The study identifies the attributes of market leading Technology Vanguards — although they constitute only 11.6 percent of organisations global , they set a very clear path for others to follow. Technology Vanguards are also more likely to have kinetic leaders spearheading their technology functions.
These leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the organisation’s resilience, recovery and growth strategies and so are best able to drive organisational change. For publicly-traded companies that fit the tech vanguard, stock prices have appreciated 7 percent more than industry average since 2017.
Additional key characteristics of tech vanguards driving the future of business include:
- Agility: 42 percent of tech vanguards use an agile approach to business and technology, compared to 14 percent of baseline organizations. These leaders are better prepared to respond appropriately to changing business circumstances while investing in future solutions.
- Customer-orientation: More tech vanguards view customers (60 percent) and innovation (66 percent) as their top priorities than baseline organizations (53 percent and 44 percent respectively).
- Growth mindset: More than half of tech vanguards (52 percent) center their transformation efforts around implementing new business models, compared to the majority of baseline organizations (52 percent) whose efforts are more likely to focus on revamping existing operating models.
- Tech-led: Tech vanguards appreciate the value of technology across the C-suite and at the board level, and this is reflected in higher investments on technology initiatives.
Evolution of tech leadership from operational to kinetic
The report claims that technology leaders have finally transitioned from operational roles to enterprise partners focused on driving strategy and organisational change. Tech vanguard organisations expect them to drive change throughout the enterprise as “kinetic leaders,” those who have the ability to envision and deliver growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have paused many in-person business operations, but it has sparked an accelerated adoption of digital technologies
These kinetic leaders are responsible for strategies outside of the traditional technology domain. The majority (69 percent) of executives described successful technology leaders as having characters related to “change,” “vision,” and “innovation” over the next three years.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have paused many in-person business operations, but it has sparked an accelerated adoption of digital technologies and capabilities that has helped organizations remain agile and resilient,” said Khalid Kark, U.S. CIO Program research director at Deloitte LLP. “When we started surveying leaders in the summer of 2019, we had no way to know that organizational agility and resilience would be tested in the way it is today. The role and importance of technology leadership has been elevated significantly during the current context.
“Kinetic leaders have an opportunity to recover from the current pandemic while also identifying growth investments and transformational initiatives that will help their organizations thrive in the long term,” said Bill Briggs, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Deloitte’s Global chief technology officer. “In the near future, the ability to collaborate and co-create solutions across larger ecosystems will help enterprises innovate, while balancing the need to reallocate technology budgets and priorities.”
Respondents in both 2020 and 2018 agree that soft skills will continue to play an increasingly important role over the next three years. In this year’s report, respondents recognize creativity (69 percent), emotional intelligence (55 percent) and cognitive flexibility (54 percent) as leading characteristics for the future. Consistently creating opportunities for on-the-job training is paramount with the half-life of a skill at about six years. In today’s hyper-competitive market, companies need a kinetic leader who can apply these skills and translate potential opportunities into a strategic business outcomes, the report concludes.