In my post on Growth Strategy, I mentioned the various stages of digital evolution businesses have been going through. A decade ago, the link between growth and a company’s digital competence was tenuous. Because of that companies could rely on outsourced digital competence and get along fine. That’s changed.

Over the past ten years, the role and prevalence of digital in marketing has made it an integral part of growth. Today, lack of digital skills alone can grind growth to a halt and render an otherwise healthy company vulnerable to more digital savvy competitors. We’ve seen this with large companies like SearsBorders and Blockbuster. But for each one of these high profile digital disaster stories there are 10,000 companies you’ve never heard of struggling to grow with their own digital blind spot.

A recent Harris Poll underscored this problem in the US where only one in ten U.S. workers consider themselves proficient with the digital tools, no less digital strategy. In the UK, a recent survey by Lloyds Bank found that in 2015 around a quarter of all UK small to mid-sized enterprises still lacks basic digital skills like running a website, using e-commerce or maintaining a social media presence. The same report showed that companies with strong digital skills were one third more likely to see growth than their digitally-deficient counterparts. Despite that, 25% of the CEOs surveyed feel digital is irrelevant for their business. A Cap Gemini report cites 77% of companies considered missing digital skills as the key hurdle to their goals. It also reports that companies with strong digital competence are, on average, 26% more profitable than their industry competitors…

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