5 Reasons to Study Digital Leadership

Concept of digitized butterfly in stages from chrysalis to butterfly

Digital leaders have a strong future with unlimited opportunities. It can also help to transform the businesses they lead along the way.

Technology has substantial power to drive positive organizational change when it’s used strategically. Many companies are planning or currently integrating a digital transformation strategy in the near future. Spending on digital transformation technologies and services worldwide is expected to reach $3.4 trillion by 2026. 

Twenty-three of the top 30 Fortune 500 companies are digital focused. The top global businesses are digitally native or have fully incorporated digital into their operations. 

Learn about the role of digital leaders to determine whether this transformational role is right for you and your company.

What Digital Leaders Do

Successful digital leaders typically:

  • Help organizations effectively manage and implement digital transformations
  • Understand how emerging and evolving technologies work
  • Know how to use technologies to enhance business results
  • Unite teams with a shared vision and strategy for digital technology use

Benefits of Gaining a Digital-First Mindset

Digital leadership is important in helping organizations achieve effective digital strategy results. 

One research study of 4,394 global leaders found that less than 10% of executives strongly believed their leadership had the skills to succeed in a digital economy.

With a digital-first mindset, business leaders can:

  • Increase awareness for their brand
  • Use data to inform business strategy and decision-making
  • Create a better customer experience for consumers
  • Expand operations to more global markets
  • Understand how technologies relate to various job functions
  • Establish best practices for adapting and leveraging disruptive digital technologies

Follow along to learn four key ways digital marketing is impacting organizations and how having a digital-first mindset can provide continued opportunity for yours.

1. Become a Positive Agent for Change

Business leaders today need to evaluate how digital can impact their business and be prepared to be positive change agents for their organizations. 

2. Know How to Integrate Technology in Operations

In studying digital leadership, you can understand how digital tools can benefit various departments across an organization. This can help you create a shared vision that enables buy-in from diverse stakeholders.

Eliminate organizational silos

The pitfalls of organizational silos are becoming more commonly known. When business departments operate independently without a unified goal and vision, communication breakdowns and ineffective business operations often occur.

Digital leadership can help eliminate the silo mentality. Digital tools help unite departments by making data more accessible and communication more seamless. Diverse departments can use digital tools for:

  • Customer interaction
  • Internal communication
  • Sales and marketing

Enhance operational efficiency

Digital tools have the potential to enhance operational efficiency throughout an organization. They can help employee performance throughout an organization become more productive and effective. 

Create revenue-generating disruption

Digital leaders use their expertise to anticipate or create revenue-generating disruption. In marketing departments, an omnichannel digital marketing approach can add up to a much higher order rate compared to campaigns that use a single channel. 

3. Effectively Transform a Business and Foster Innovation

Digital leaders also focus on the future and potential technologies that can transform business. That mindset helps foster a culture of innovation

Support organizational Digital Maturation

According to a 2022 Deloitte report, 81% of respondents cited innovation as an organizational strength. 

Workers in companies that are digitally maturing typically have more space to innovate in their jobs compared to competitors. Meanwhile, professionals at digitally mature companies are much more likely to get the resources they need to innovate.

4. Integrate Evolving Technologies Like AI

As the pace of technological development accelerates, it’s important to keep pace with evolving technologies that could be added to the organization. Today, that includes keeping pace with developments in AI.


AI remains a key area to watch as it remains a key area to watch as it grows in business usage.

A Databricks Global CIO survey on expected AI adoption by 2025 found that:

  • 94% of chief information officers (CIOs) already use AI in their business. More than half expect widespread use by 2025.
  • 78% of CIOs cite scaling machine learning and AI use cases for business value creation as their priority enterprise data strategy.
  • 68% of CIOs say consolidating their data platform for analytics and AI is crucial.

5. Overcome Roadblocks to Change

While change can help your organization achieve new milestones, it can be difficult to implement. According to Gartner research, half of change initiatives fail. Only 34% of initiatives are successful.

Develop Digital Leadership Skills by Learning the Latest From the Best

Beginning or increasing your knowledge on effective digital leadership can help you overcome roadblocks to change and increase organizational buy-in. 

Wharton Online’s Digital Leadership courses and Certificate Program uses real-word, recent global case studies to illustrate effective digital transformation. Taught by world-class faculty who are top researchers and authors in the digital leadership field.

Wharton Digital Leadership online courses include:

Learn more about the Digital Leadership Courses and the Certificate program