News & Events

Join the network

Helping organisations to create change that matters

‘Every organisation should be thinking about digital transformation, and not in a way that sees it as just the adoption of new technologies’

KatherSkillnet Ireland’s award-winning Transform programme is helping organisations to prepare for successful digital transformation and giving employees the skills they need to prosper in the future world of work. Transform provides organisations with the playbook needed to harness new technologies, accelerate business transformation and deliver innovation, according to programme director Kathryn Cullen.

“Every organisation should be thinking about digital transformation, and not in a way that sees it as just the adoption of new technologies,” says Mark Jordan, chief technologist with Skillnet Ireland.

He explains that digital transformation involves a combination of a number of different things. These include having a digital strategy in place, having the right culture in the organisation that makes it ready for change, the right people in place to execute the change, and the right technologies.

The change must also align with existing customer expectations so that those relationships are not disrupted.
“From a Skillnet Ireland perspective we look at what organisations need in order to be prepared for successful digital transformation,” says Jordan. “A lot of organisations look at it from technology point of view but it’s balance of technology, skills, and business change.”

Transform is Ireland’s first educationally-accredited programme in digital transformation. Participants in the part-time, part-funded programme receive professional diplomas in business innovation and digital transformation, accredited by Technological University Dublin.

"Transform is aimed at developing people to compete for new roles in the future"

The Level 9 programme is aimed at those in a leadership or influencer role who have the responsibility for setting the direction of the business and helping to navigate it through a period of change and digital transformation.

Level 8 is for professionals from any business area who want to evolve and develop with the pace of digital change, to understand new technologies, and hone the uniquely human capabilities needed for the work of the future.

Workforce skills

“It’s a fundamental programme for all businesses in all sectors to empower their workforce and understand the technologies and capabilities in terms of workforce skills and culture that they must adapt in order to thrive in this digital economy,” says Cullen.

The programme content helps organisations to understand what digital transformation is, and what it means for individuals and various sizes of company, she adds. “It also helps participants to understand the digital mindset, and how it is critical for strategy and the empowerment of an organisation.”

Modules on the Level 9 programme include: becoming a digital organisation; understanding foundational technologies; adopting future technologies; and empowering a digital organisation.

The Level 8 programme features modules on the digital mindset and customer-centric innovation.

Both programmes include a capstone project where participants apply the learnings to create a data-driven innovation project for their organisation.

The Transform programme has its genesis in a collaboration between the Technology Ireland DIGITAL Skillnet and Dell Technologies. “Dell was looking at the future skills requirements of the organisation, and we worked with them to design the programme,” says Cullen.

That resulted in more than 900 people commencing the CPD Diploma in Digital Transformation and Innovation and undertaking194 separate innovation projects in 2020.

“Organisations like Dell are changing rapidly, and they need to prepare the workforce for it,” Cullen adds. “Digital transformation is about change. Change management courses can teach us how to change and adapt successfully but it’s different with digital.”

The programme focuses on the human skills needed for organisations to change successfully and prepares employees for the impact of transformation, says Jordan. “Ireland is recognised as a country where complex customer interactions take place. It is also known as a place where technology is utilised by business.

“Historically we have a huge cohort of people working in the customer experience industry and those jobs being disrupted by technology, “he says. “Transform is geared towards taking people with those customer experience skills and great business knowledge and helping them move up the value chain.

"Businesses must act now"

“Dell’s focus was on bringing their customer experience teams into core activities for the future. Transform is aimed at developing people to compete for new roles in the future. It can be adapted for organisations of any size, for SMEs or for very large multinational corporations like Dell.”

The programme has already notched up one industry accolade, taking the Irish Institute for Training and Development Best Organisational Development award in July. The award recognises excellence in empowering organisations to guide their teams towards innovative solutions around digital transformation.

“Businesses must act now,” says Cullen. “Transform is customisable for in company development programmes, and we have open courses as well. It has been very successful, and is open now for companies in all sectors.”