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How digitally savvy is senior management?

When it comes to the digital revolution, how clued-in is your company’s leadership?

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of IT, security and business professionals think their business leaders are digitally savvy. In a global survey of 4,164 of these digital warriors, just over half (53 percent) consider their organization’s leadership to be digitally literate.

The other 47 percent of the respondents to the 2017 ISACA survey either don’t think their business leaders have a solid understanding of technology and its impacts, or are unsure.

iphone cell phone technology
A customer views an iPhone 7 smartphone at an Apple Inc. in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Shoppers looking to buy Apple Inc.'s new iPhone 7 smartphones on Friday better have ordered ahead. Brisk demand left some stores sold out, leaving those who purchased online with the best chance to get their hands on the latest models -- and some resorting to extreme measures. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

However, when it comes to openness to change, that’s a different story. Despite the general sense of urgency surrounding digital transformation, fewer than one in four of the survey respondents view their senior leadership as ‘very receptive’ to new, emerging technologies. While half of the professionals surveyed think of their leadership as ‘moderately receptive’ to adopting digital tech, one in five (20 percent) don’t consider their managements to be open to digital transformation at all.

Limited digital literacy and reluctance to embrace new technologies are not limited to the C-suite, according to the study. Broader organizational challenges and cultural resistance are also stymieing digital transformation efforts.

But it was the digital literacy of senior management across the industrial and geographic spectrum that the report zeroed-in on.

“The resounding message from our research is clear: Senior leadership needs to invest in increasing its digital fluency,” says ISACA CEO Matt Loeb. “Organizations with digitally fluent leadership are more clearly recognizing the benefits and risks of emerging technologies.”

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