Leaders in defence are charged with making sure that they can anticipate, plan, execute and successfully carry out operations in complex, multi-domain environments. They must develop, deliver, and generate mission-ready forces for these purposes. And they must envision, lead, and manage defence programs with and for their governments. And in today’s operational environment, they must also lead in the digital domain.
Why is this so critical now? Because digital is central to enabling defence organisations to perform. And defence leaders are beginning to understand that their organisations’ drive to digital will only succeed if leaders are at the helm.
of defence leaders confirmed their organisations need to fast forward digital transformation, with cloud at its core to be agile and resilient.
of defence leaders believe trust is crucial to transforming the relationship between people and emerging technologies, and must be built into design and experiences.
The promise of digital is to fundamentally change how people and organisations operate through the integration of technologies, behaviour and new ways of working to deliver the defence mission in all areas. It’s more than simply ‘doing’ digital. It’s all about 'being' digital.
And to get there, defence leaders need to assess their organisation’s current level of digital maturity. Making that determination means looking at the organisation holistically, considering a range of components that combine to create digital readiness.
Leading a digital movement within defence
Knowing what digital is, why it matters and what it includes are the most important steps for leaders as they prepare to embrace the drive for digital. But leaders who understand the importance of moving forward often face challenges in getting started within the context of their own organisation. To generate momentum for change, we recommend three key steps that can help create a grass-roots movement:
Start and develop a conversation – ask leaders about where the organisation is going and how it can take advantage of digital to equip itself for the uncertain future ahead.
Educate leaders – a strategy for digital education at all levels of the organisation is essential, with leaders encouraged to frame the urgency and potential of digital change, and the value that it can generate.
Create, sustain and evolve a coalition – establishing a broad group of educated and motivated leaders will drive advocacy for digital change. This should be a broad coalition, taking in key government agencies as well as ecosystem partners.
Time to move out
For defence, the importance and urgency to move out with digital – and the risks and consequences of not doing so – are real, present, and potentially existential. In a hostile world and competitive environment, all defence’s responsibilities and duties will be enabled or frustrated by the degree to which digital becomes and evolves as core and, crucially, championed by leaders.