According to\u00a0IDC, global organizations will spend $1.2 trillion on digital transformation this year.\n\u201cChanging competitive landscapes and consumerism are disrupting businesses and creating an imperative to invest in digital transformation, unleashing the power of information across the enterprise and thereby improving the customer experience, operational efficiencies, and optimizing the workforce,\u201d says Eileen Smith, program director in IDC\u2019s Customer Insights & Analysis Group.\u00a0\nClearly, CIOs are going to be walking a tightrope as digital transformation unfolds, and finding a balance between managing essential legacy systems while shifting funds to digital systems of engagement will be a formidable challenge.\nIt\u2019s one of the reasons why Gartner advocates a \u201cpost-modern ERP\u201d model that optimizes core investments and focuses new investments where they can have the most impact and drive competitive advantage. That\u2019s going to take some effort, though.\nSo what, exactly, are the most important skills and strategies that IT leaders need to tackle digital transformation? That\u2019s the question we posed recently to members of the IDG Influencer Network. Their consensus: Digital transformation will require a lot more than just technology.\n\u201cOverwhelmingly, in an age of unprecedented change, we aren\u2019t struggling with the technical system but the human system, and what IT leadership requires is the ability to unlearn and relearn, to forget what we think we know and learn from what is working,\u201d said Greg Bledsoe (@geek_king), Managing Consultant at Accenture. \u201cWe're still trapped in a 100-year-old legacy management system designed for factory workers and static markets, and most haven't even started questioning whether this is the only way, much less if this is the best way. The ability to move with the times and question our own foundational beliefs about how we manage the work and the people is the most important skill.\u201d\nThat sentiment was echoed by several members of the Influencer Network.\n\u201cDigital transformation isn\u2019t a technology thing,\u201d said Kevin Jackson (@Kevin_Jackson), Director of Cloud Solutions and Technology Fellow at Engility Corp. \u201cIt\u2019s about changing minds, attitudes, perceptions, and vision. That makes the most important skills and strategies centered on communication, education, and change management.\u201d\n\u201cTechnology is important, but focusing too much on technology at the expense of adapting the human behavior and expectations of your personnel is a recipe for disaster,\u201d observed Craig Mullins (@craigmullins), President of Mullins Consulting.\n\u201cIT leaders who seek to address digital transformation should count on the counter-intuitive,\u201d stated David Geer (@geercom), Principal at Geer Communications. \u201cThey should love riding the crest of rapid, positive change. They should put people first and expect an emphasis on transformation, not technology.\u201d\nFlexibility and agility will be key\nAlso high on the list of \u201cmust-have\u201d attributes: flexibility, agility, and a blurring of traditional boundaries.\n\u201cIT leaders . . . have to be driving the [digital strategy] with agile management practices, data and analytics capabilities, collaborative working environments, and nimble technology platforms,\u201d said Isaac Sacolick (@nyike), President of StarCIO and author of Driving Digital.\n\u201cThe most valuable skills are flexibility and awareness,\u201d added Technology Journalist Jeff Cutler (@JeffCutler). \u201cIT leaders need to be aware of the resources available to them and be flexible enough to implement new procedures.\u201d\n\u201cIT leaders need to be flexible and be continuously learning,\u201d said the Brain Blender Strategy Team (@BrainBlenderTec). \u201cThey need to be able to merge and work in tandem with artificial intelligence.\u201d\n\u201cIT leaders must combine operational technology and informational technology teams together to drive value,\u201d said Dan Yarmoluk (@YarmolukDan), Director of Business Development, IoT and Data Science at ATEK Access Technologies. \u201cTechnical people must attend to business problems more beyond the tech features, and business people must understand how to leverage technological changes as well.\u201d \u00a0\nIs hybrid IT here to stay?\nDerek Britton (@DerekBrittonUK), Director of Strategy and Enablement at Micro Focus, thinks a hybrid IT model will be key.\n\u201cRecent industry surveys show only 5% believe they have mastered digital transformation, and the pace of change in the digital era means organizations have to increasingly rely on what already works,\u201d Britton said. \u201cThe blend of skills and strategies will have to embrace systems that keep businesses running today, as well as the right technologies and skills to support digital growth on new IoT devices or platforms such as cloud. This is a hybrid IT model that combines the best new technologies and processes, such as DevOps, with trusted core systems such as COBOL applications and IT operations management.\u201d\nTo harness all that digital transformation offers, the three most important skills IT leaders need are cloud, social, and security, stated Tony Flath (@TmanSpeaks), Principal Lead at TELUS Security.\n\u201cCloud includes apps, virtual desktops, mobile, and IoT,\u201d he said. \u201cSocial includes awareness, involvement, and market opportunity understanding. Security includes understanding the importance of security being the wrapper around everything digital.\u201d\nFinally, Writer and Technologist Steve Prentice (@StevenPrentice) identified four skill sets that will be necessary to embrace digital transformation: time management, critical thinking, project management, and change management.\nThe digital economy is all about fast innovation and getting new products to market more quickly than competitors. Want to learn more? Read Overcoming the #1 Barrier to Digital Transformation.