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Digitalization and Productivity: A Crucial Call to Action for Italian CEOs to Drive Transformation and Growth

This article discusses the significance of digital transformation and its impact on productivity in the Italian market.

The Italian market, like many others, is undergoing a significant transformation due to the rapid adoption of digital technologies. In this context, Italian CEOs must adapt to new market dynamics and drive productivity improvement within their organizations to remain competitive.

This article proposes a productivity agenda for Italian CEOs, emphasizing talent management, business reinvention, sustainable energy, and collaboration with external stakeholders.

  1. Preparing for the Future War for Talent in Italy
    1. Rethink hiring by valuing experience and skills over traditional credentials, considering the unique challenges of the Italian labor market.
    1. Invest in on-the-job training and rotation programs to build a talent bench that is familiar with digital technologies and local market conditions.
    1. Expand policies on childcare, elder care, and parental leave to retain top talent in Italy’s aging population.
    1. Collaborate with Italian public- and social-sector organizations to reskill workers at scale, addressing the skills gap in the digital era.
  • Accelerating Business Reinvention in Italy
    • Embrace digital transformation by setting bold goals and fostering shared accountability among Italian business leaders and employees.
    • Invest in technology, R&D, and intangible assets, such as local Italian brands, to reimagine core business operations and drive innovation.
    • Retool the organization to build the capacity and flexibility for reinvention, adapting to Italy’s unique market conditions and regulatory environment.
    • Prioritize technology-ready talent at all levels to lead and deliver change in the Italian market.
  • Balancing Energy Affordability and Productivity in Italy
    • Revisit capital-allocation processes to enable rapid moves as green technology advances, considering Italy’s commitment to sustainability and the European Green Deal.
    • Set long-term plans for net-zero transitions, providing Italian business units and employees with the time to adjust.
    • Leverage Italy’s renewable energy potential and position in the European energy market to drive productivity growth.
  1. Shaping the Economic Context in Italy
    1. Proactively collaborate with Italian private-, public-, and social-sector institutions to address local needs in talent, infrastructure, and digital adoption.
    1. Engage suppliers and customers to form new ecosystems that generate local agglomeration benefits and co-innovation potential, leveraging Italy’s strong industrial clusters and regional specializations.

These four areas of focus are particularly relevant for Italy due to the following reasons:

Preparing for the Future War for Talent in Italy:

Italy has an aging population, which leads to a shrinking workforce and a greater demand for skilled talent. Additionally, the Italian labor market has a relatively high rate of youth unemployment. By focusing on talent management, companies can address these challenges and ensure that they have the right mix of skilled workers to drive productivity and growth.

Reinventing Businesses in Italy:

The Italian economy is traditionally characterized by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-owned businesses. In the context of rapid digital transformation, these businesses need to reinvent themselves to stay competitive, leveraging digital technologies to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and create innovative products and services.

Balancing Energy Affordability and Productivity in Italy:

Italy is strongly committed to sustainability and the European Green Deal, which requires businesses to transition towards greener and more efficient energy solutions. By focusing on balancing energy affordability and productivity, Italian companies can contribute to the country’s sustainable development goals while enhancing their competitiveness in the global market.

Shaping the Economic Context in Italy:

Italy has a diverse economic landscape with strong industrial clusters and regional specializations. By actively collaborating with local stakeholders, Italian companies can leverage these unique regional strengths, create innovative ecosystems, and drive productivity growth. Additionally, such collaborations can also help in addressing local challenges related to infrastructure, digital adoption, and skill development.

Italian CEOs must embrace the digital transformation to drive productivity growth and remain competitive in the global market. This proactive approach will contribute to the overall growth and competitiveness of the Italian economy in the digital era.

Even if, the four areas mentioned above are indeed critical for Italy, given its unique socio-economic landscape, there may be other relevant areas to consider, depending on the specific context and industry. Some of these additional areas might include:

Strengthening the innovation ecosystem:

Italy’s research and development (R&D) spending is relatively low compared to other European countries. Increasing investment in R&D and fostering a strong innovation ecosystem can drive productivity growth across various sectors.

Enhancing access to finance:

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the Italian economy but often face challenges in accessing finance for growth and innovation. Ensuring that SMEs have access to appropriate financial resources can help them invest in new technologies, increase productivity, and create jobs.

Promoting digital infrastructure:

The development and improvement of digital infrastructure are essential for Italy to fully harness the potential of digital technologies. Investing in high-speed internet connectivity, data centers, and other critical digital infrastructure can facilitate the digital transformation of businesses and improve overall productivity.

Reducing bureaucracy and improving the business environment:

Italy is often cited as having a complex regulatory environment, which can hamper productivity and innovation. Streamlining regulations and reducing bureaucratic hurdles can make it easier for businesses to operate, grow, and contribute to the country’s economic development.

While the initial four areas of focus are highly relevant, considering these additional areas can provide a more comprehensive approach to addressing productivity challenges and driving growth in Italy’s economy. The specific priorities may vary depending on the industry, region, and individual company circumstances.

These references provide valuable insights into the broader topics of digital transformation, productivity, and the future of work in Europe and Italy.

McKinsey Global Institute. (2021). The Future of Work After COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/the-future-of-work-after-covid-19

McKinsey & Company. (2019). Digital Europe: Realizing the continent’s potential. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/digital-europe-realizing-the-continents-potential

European Commission. (2020). Italy: Digital Economy and Society Index Report. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=67395

McKinsey & Company. (2019). The Future of Work in Italy: Jobs, Skills and Inequality. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/europe/the-future-of-work-in-italy-jobs-skills-and-inequality

The Italian Government. (2021). Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Retrieved from https://www.governo.it/it/articolo/pnrr-piano-nazionale-di-ripresa-e-resilienza/16368