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The Anatomy of A Digital Team
Assembling the right digital team is of utmost importance for an effective IT development strategy such as digital transformation. So, who makes up your digital team?
A digital team can be built in-house or through the help of a trusted technology partner. Still, the rules apply the same when considering the criteria for selecting each member making up the team, including experience, skills and expertise, qualifications, teamwork ability, and so on.
In this article, we examine the anatomy of a digital team including who should be on the team and how to effectively build one.
What Are The Roles Of Digital Team Members?
For any IT-related project, choosing the team members with the relevant skills needed is among the biggest challenges, along with project leadership and management. Here, professional expertise and personalities are equally important in building the right team culture.
A successful digital team requires numerous key positions. Depending on the project size and scope there could be 10 to 50 plus people on each team, or even more, at larger enterprise-scale projects. A typical team would generally consist of the roles described below:
- The digital team lead
A leadership position usually possesses strong soft skills, and proven experience in managing digital and IT-related projects. The team lead (similar to the project lead) will also have a combination of expertise in both tech and business process consulting, to ensure that solid technical solutions, as well as business objectives, are achieved.
- The technical specialists
Any digital transformation project or IT initiatives require technical specialists (for instance Technical Architect, DevOps Specialists, etc.) and software engineering members to implement the technical solutions. These specialists are responsible for the IT architecture for the initiative.
In practice, the technical people could make up the majority of the team members in terms of headcount.
To sufficiently fill in such important roles, not only do technical specialists have a solid understanding of various technical architectures and current technology stacks, but they also have to be able to envision how things would look like in the future. It’s also important that they know about enterprise integration patterns to ensure all systems are interoperable and all data can be accessed from one single source of truth.
- The business process expert
The business process expert (e.g. Business Analyst) can also play the role of subject matter expert (SME) on the specific business area or process being transformed. This person(s) understands the specific operations or decision flow, so they can help to define the needed capabilities, and can quickly assist in the decision-making process on what works and what doesn’t.
The subject matter expert works closely with the software engineering team to ensure business requirements are fulfilled.
For instance, in a scenario where a manufacturing company is looking to optimize its inventory management process, the subject matter experts - responsible for inventory management - possess valuable knowledge that is critical to obtain the desired outcomes. They understand the ins and outs of the current process of inventory management, warehouse facilities, stores demand, and so on. This expertise is highly valuable in helping the company to identify the major problems that need to be addressed.
- The data architect
Digitizing business processes involves using data effectively. This requires the right data architecture as well as efficient data collection, storage, and advanced data analytics solutions implemented across businesses. A data architect can help provide guidance to define data strategy and management framework as well as adding analytics capabilities into the existing IT environment.
- The UI/UX and CX (Customer-Experience) professionals
Nowadays, new systems are built around customer-centric principles, and the best-case user experience is crucial to ensure a good adoption rate. The UI/UX professionals (e.g. UI/UX designers) collaborate with the technical engineering people to ensure that technical solutions are built centering around end-users.
- The QA/QC specialists
Software Quality Assurance is critical to reducing risks in any digital transformation project. The software QA/QC testers provide comprehensive digital testing solutions, making sure that software functions as intended and satisfies the success criteria.
- The digital project sponsor
A successful digital transformation requires not only execution but also sponsorship. The project sponsor will have a positive, significant presence to make it possible for the transformation endeavor to connect with both leadership teams and employees at all levels so that digital capabilities can be implemented across the organization effectively.
The digital project sponsor usually comes from the leadership position, recognizing the new market challenges and can quickly adapting to change, and pivots to the new plans.
In addition to the particular digital member roles listed above, many companies also have other team roles for advisory and to assist in the projects, improving the chance of transformation success.
How to effectively build a digital team?
The core of a digital team is technical staff, alongside business experts as well as leadership influence.
Building an effective digital team requires some extra effort to find the right people and foster a culture matching well with the existing business. Still, many companies do not have a team dedicated solely to digital transformation. Some may be working on transformation initiatives with their day-to-day jobs.
Here are some practices businesses can consider in assembling their digital team:
- Firstly, businesses can redefine some of the individual employees’ roles and responsibilities so that they align with the transformation objectives. This helps to make clear the roles and capabilities the team needs.
- It’s also essential to engage the roles of integrators and technology managers, who can help bridge potential gaps between the legacy systems and digital parts of the business. These senior positions enable and foster stronger digital team capabilities among colleagues.
- Additionally, businesses can also scale up their digital team workforce through internal talents development programs, hiring, and cross-skillings.
Furthermore, when people in the key roles -- for example, C-level executives -- are involved in building a digital team, success becomes more likely.
However, if your business does not have the time to build a digital team from scratch, be sure to look for a technology partner to help put in place a digital team and align them at your enterprise level to be successfully applied at scale.