Jerry Kane — People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation

Jerry Kane on Scaling Up Business Podcast

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Gerald Kane, Associate Professor, Assistant Chairperson, Information Systems, CSOM.

In today’s day and age, being digital is a big buzzword. It’s true, there is an importance to being digital, but there is also a technology fallacy. The people behind the tech are really the ones that can make and break the technology. So, how can you create a happy blend of technology, people, and scaling up?

Gerald (Jerry) C. Kane, Ph.D., is a Professor of Information Systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. He is also the author of The Technology Fallacy: How People are the Real Key to Digital Transformation, where he surveyed over 20,000 executives worldwide and interviewed over 100 executives and thought leaders to determine the key factors associated with digitally mature companies.

There is a mistaken belief that a lot of the problems companies are coming across in this modern age are due to a fast-paced technology environment. Often, companies fight this problem with more technological solutions, but the reality is, quality people are the real solution behind this.

In the five years of researching The Technology Fallacy, Jerry spoke to countless of leaders in cutting-edge companies like Facebook and Google, some at traditional companies like Walmart and John Hancock, and some at small startups, to get a good range of data.

When interviewing the Chief Human Relations Officer at Walmart, she shared that leadership realized they probably would be out of business in 10 years if they didn’t adapt to new changes. When a giant like Walmart realizes they need to adapt or sink in this environment, every company should pay attention.

In Jerry’s survey, 90% of employees came back to him saying that they felt they had to update their skill set at least yearly to keep up with the demands of their job, but yet less than half of them said their organization was able to provide these resources.

Employees were also 15X more likely to leave their organization within a year if they weren’t getting additional resources to improve their skill sets. This causes a big problem for companies looking to expand and adapt to the marketplace. Keeping and educating talented team members that could grow into new environments was the key to success for companies; not the implementation of new technology.

Interview Links:

Jerry Kane at Boston College

Jerry on LinkedIn


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Scaling Up is the best-selling book by Verne Harnish and our team for Gazelles Coaching, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher, host of the Scaling Up business podcast and a leading Gazelles Coach. Gazelles is the term we use for fast-growing companies.

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