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SAPPHIRE NOW Sneak Preview: Study Reveals Superstar Digital Leaders

Feature Article | May 10, 2016 by Susan Galer

The characteristics of superstar leaders in the digital economy are different. We know this. Yet figuring out what it takes to stand out from the crowd has never been more challenging.

Almost 200 industry experts recently gathered at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley to discuss what sets digital leaders apart from the rest.

The video captures part of the panel discussion with Arlen Shenkman, SAP North America CFO; Heather Hiles, CEO of Pathbrite; Susan Lovegren, Senior Vice President of HR at Juniper Networks; Garvis Toler, Global Head of Capital Markets at NYSE; and Michael Chui, Global Institute Partner at McKinsey.

Their conversation was based on the preliminary findings of a study entitled, “Leaders 2020,” that will feature feedback from more than 4,100 executives and employees in 20 countries across multiple industries. SAP partnered with Oxford Economics on the research to better understand leadership in the digital economy. The results are still being compiled, but a few data points jumped out at me, revealing how work gets done at companies with digital leaders:

  • Over 70 percent of executives from high-performing organizations are more likely to say their company makes data-driven decisions
  • Sixty percent of respondents from fast growth companies say they adapt to decisions made in real-time
  • Executives from firms with strong profit growth are more likely to say that decisions are somewhat or very easy to make quickly (42 percent, vs. 18 percent of companies with slower profit growth).

While full results of the Oxford Economics survey will be announced later this year, a select group of findings will be shared at these sessions scheduled for the annual SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Conference, being held May 17-19, in Orlando, Florida.

  • Leaders 2020 Panel Session – Closing the Skills Gap for the Digital Transformation: Panelists will share insights on what’s driving the digital workforce and the skills gap, including the innovative new partnership between SAP, ASUG, and academic institutions to address this issue.
  • Karie Willyerd, SAP SuccessFactors Workplace Futurist — Explore New Leadership Trends for the Digital Economy: Drawing from Oxford Economics study findings, Willyerd will explain how leaders of small and midsize enterprises are successfully spearheading digital transformation using advanced technologies like digitization, analytics, networks, and artificial intelligence.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Roundtable – Moving the Needle on Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace: How SAP SuccessFactors customers use holistic HR-centric technology solutions to support gender-inclusive policies and practices for sustained workforce gender equity.
  • Simple to Complex: Leading in the Digital Economy: Chris Fussell, Managing Partner and Chief Growth Officer at McChrystal Group, discusses complexity theory, new research from SAP and McChrystal Group, and lessons learned from the battlefield, spotlighting the root causes of many challenges senior executives face and the leadership behavior changes required to overcome them.

Watch for updates on the Oxford Economics survey findings as they are announced. Meantime, every business needs to know that the digital leadership advantage is real. When leadership skills catch up with digital business mandates, stars will no longer be the exception but the rule.

Follow me @smgaler

Top image via Shutterstock

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