The 2017 New Rules for the Digital Age report from Deloitte found that only 5 percent of the companies surveyed said they have strong digital leadership development programs and a clear majority (65 percent) said they have no significant program\u00a0to drive digital leadership skills.\nJosh Bersin, a principal at the Bersin by Deloitte research group, says the challenge is that companies don\u2019t realize how much more complicated digital transformation is than simply acquiring new technology.\n[ Related: Does your digital program suffer from an aspiration gap? ]\n\u201cDigital technology is easy to buy, but once you turn it on it changes the way you work and how you deliver products and services,\u201d Bersin told CIO.com. \u201cFrom the CIO\u2019s perspective, it may seem relatively easy to implement artificial intelligence (AI), social media and other new technology, but these things have a disruptive impact on the workplace.\u201d\nSome of the trend lines aren\u2019t encouraging. For example, the study found that companies feel 31 percent \u201cless ready\u201d to redesign their organization around digital business models than they did last year.\nBersin says that even high-flying internet companies have problems adapting. One big internet client he wouldn\u2019t name asked for help because it was being out-innovated by smaller startups.\n\u201cWhat had happened is they had become very hierarchical and weren\u2019t incentivizing digital behavior,\u201d he said. \u201cWe say don\u2019t just go digital, be digital.\u201d\nPart of that change is to embrace failure or at least the idea of experimenting with what he calls \u201cminimal viable products\u201d and other boundary-pushing exercises such as hackathons. \u201cCompanies used to hate to do these kinds of things that require failure, but look at Amazon where CEO Jeff Bezos says they\u2019re the best company in the world at failing, or put another way, they know how to iterate.\u201d\nNew performance management techniques\nDeloitte also asserts that companies in the digital era need to change how they evaluate performance. In the past fiveyears many firms have already set out to experiment with new performance management approaches that emphasize continuous feedback and coaching, and less on annual reviews. Bersin says in 2017 companies are moving beyond experimentation to deploy these new models on a wider scale to increase productivity.\n[ Related: Diversity at the top can help attract tech talent ]\nHe points to the growing use of organizational network analysis (ONA) as a tool to monitor and quickly identify performance issues in the company. ONA monitors the metadata of email and other systems and identifies, for example, how often people email, who they communicate with and how quickly they respond.\n\u201cIt shows you how work gets done that is different than what an org chart shows you,\u201d said Bersin. \u201cONA doesn\u2019t read the emails for content but, when it was sent and to who, what calendar meetings were sent, that kind of stuff. It might show you for example that the highest performing salespeople do less meetings, or get more work done via email.\u201d\n\n\nRelated Video\n\n\nSkills are becoming obsolete faster\nAnother key digital trend in the report is the concept of \u201calways on\u201d lifetime learning.\n\u201cThe concept of a \u2018career\u2019 is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward \u2018always-on\u2019 learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily and on their own terms,\u201d the report states. Of the executives surveyed, 83 percent rated careers and learning \u201cimportant\u201d or \u201cvery important\u201d to their organization.\n[ Related: 5 workforce management trends to watch in 2017 ]\n\u201cSkills are becoming obsolete faster than ever,\u201d says Bersin. \u201cCompanies know they have to build skills internally faster or risk employees changing jobs if they are not challenged.\u201d\nRather than traditional classrooms and set times for instructions, Bersin says the digital era has enabled many more options for short video instruction and \u201cmicro-learning\u201d that\u2019s accessible on demand.\nThe jump in learning as a priority among those surveyed was one of several surprises in this year\u2019s report. \u201cAnother surprise was the use of automation and AI. We\u2019re starting to see companies actively implementing these new cognitive technologies,\u201d said Bersin. \u201cBut only about a quarter of those doing it have the HR department involved, it\u2019s all tech people.\u201d Going forward he says it\u2019s important companies bring HR into the loop to help monitor and manage the impact of new technologies.\n[ Related: The future of AI is humans + machines ]\nThe report also found a change in understanding of diversity in the workplace. A solid majority (78 percent) of respondents said they now believe diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage (39 percent say it is a \u201csignificant\u201d competitive advantage).\nStill, leveraging that advantage remains a challenge as only six percent of companies tie compensation to diversity outcomes. Deloitte calls the diversity issue is \u201cdauntingly difficult,\u201d but notes that companies are experimenting with new approaches such as eliminating names on resumes because candidates with ethnic-sounding names may experience lower hiring rates. It says Australia has been a leader in this area.\nWhile companies have typically considered diversity a reporting goal driven by compliance and brand priorities Deloitte sees a trend of diversity and inclusion now becoming a CEO-level priority that\u2019s considered important throughout all levels of management.\nIn preparing this year\u2019s report Deloitte surveyed over 10,000 HR and business leaders across 140 countries.