British businesses at risk of disruption


The threat of disruption caused by the pace of technological change originates from the consensus that senior leaders are paying lip service to the need for digital transformation, according to a report from online learning provider AVADO.

The report revealed the views of senior managers responsible for the learning and development (L&D) of staff at Britain’s biggest firms (with turnovers of £100m+).

For 43% of businesses, the chief information officer (CIO) is heading up digital change with just under 24% assigning responsibility to a chief digital officer (CDO).

For 22% of businesses the chief executive officer (CEO) is leading the drive towards digital transformation.

Despite the majority of businesses having a C-suite exec in charge of digital transformation, their commitment is in question. This is highlighted by the 55% of L&D professionals who believe C-suite execs only pay lip service to transformation.

>See also: The next generation of programmers: Singapore’s digital skills drive

A quarter of these L&D professionals said that this lack of boardroom commitment has made them feel powerless to influence change.

This report launched just days after Mark Carney highlighted in a speech, that the world is in the “midst of a technological revolution that is once again changing the nature of work”, with “lifelong learning, ever-greening skills and cooperative training” becoming more important than ever.

In terms of training, the report showed that 25% of businesses fail to benchmark and measure the impact of digital training programmes and almost a fifth (18%) report low levels of employee engagement in these programmes


The need for digital transformation is accepted, almost universally, among the respondents of this survey.

86% said they have assessed the business risk of not taking action and 88% have taken steps to address this.

Yet, despite 93% of L&D professionals saying a digital transformation strategy is in place, the report suggests critical top down buy-in is missing.

Investment in digital training not equal across the business – marketing takes lion’s share

Businesses claim that upskilling workforces is a priority, with 81% of respondents having a digital learning programme in place.

However, investment in digital skills isn’t being shared equally across the business. Just under three in ten businesses (28%) provide digital training across their entire business.

>See also: HP opens UK learning studios to tackle the digital skills gap

For over 40% of businesses, the lion’s share is allocated to the sales and marketing department. Just 19% of overall training budgets is spent on digital.

Current digital training lacks engagement, benchmarking and impact assessment

Delivering effective learning outcomes that are measurable is a concern for L&D professionals.

For 22% of respondents the digital training undertaken to date hasn’t delivered tangible and measurable ROI.

A quarter of L&D managers say their organisation doesn’t benchmark their skill levels and just a quarter of organisations incorporate digital literacy into staff performance reviews.

Lisa Barrett, managing director at AVADO commenting on the report, said: “We’ve learned that for businesses to really grasp the digital opportunity, it takes serious commitment from leadership and the right levels of investment in the right kinds of training programmes – ones that deliver business impact. Put simply, companies need to take their whole organisation on a learning journey. And for the ones that get this right, the results can be transformational.”

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

Related Topics

Digital Skills