Innovative technologies are the building blocks of a Digital Transformation. That’s for sure. But for these technological blocks to be planned out and put together, you need a Digital Team—a group of people who lays the foundation for your Digital Transformation.
This is why, times and again, businesses are reported to consider “people” as the most influential factor to their Digital Journey—not technologies per se.
Thus, assembling the Digital Team should be the top box in your digitization checklist.
What is a Digital Team?
A Digital Team is a group of cross-functional individuals who take full ownership of a Digital Transformation project: strategizing, initiation, implementation, optimization, and maintenance.
The keyword here is cross-functional. Digital Team is not merely a team of developers and testers. Cross-functionality means that they come from different stripes of your businesses. It's the C-level who sets the vision for the entire Digital Transformation; the project manager who facilitates the processes; the solutions architects who turn ideas into functional lines of code; the designers who augment user experience; or the business analysts who decide what's best for the users.
Though their jobs may differ, members of a Digital Team work in high synergy towards a single goal: making Digital Transformation happen.
A few aspects of the Digital Team you need to take into account:
- People: there needs to be a leader to lubricate and motivate the project. Cross-functionality, as was discussed, and synergy are the pillars of a Digital Team.
- Technology: not everything needs replacement, only the bottlenecks. Old technologies can be modernized or exposed to APIs for advanced integration.
- Information: Data must be streamlined across the team and be turned into insights to support decision-making.
- Process: key stakeholders in the Digital Team should identify the most impactful processes and make appropriate updates to them. The goal is to achieve more efficient processes.
What does a Digital Team look like?
Now we have the definition of Digital Team. But still, it’s quite abstract. Let’s now discuss what a Digital Team looks like. If a Digital Team is a framework, there will be three layers to it: Executive Leadership, Core Digital Team, and Extended Transformation Team.
Digital Transformation requires support and advocacy from top management. It’s the C-levels and top managers who have the big picture of the business. In other words, they understand the business more than anyone else. Thus, no one other than these leaders can articulate the mission of the Digital Team, and build consensus across the organization.
As they are held responsible for leading the Digital Team, some prime candidates for this layer include Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO), Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), or Chief Information Officer (CIO), even Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
It’s usually taken for granted that Digital Transformation is the job of CDTO or CDO. However, this misconception should be dispelled. Digital Transformation requires the collaboration of the entire C-Suite; or else all efforts could result in superficial changes in operations and culture.
If you lack the roles needed, another way is to hire an external senior consultant who has the appropriate expertise and experience.
Skills required of the executive leadership:
A deep understanding of the business is an essential requirement to these leaders of Digital Transformation. As they know the business the most thoroughly, they understand which areas to focus on.
The second requirement is general knowledge of modern technologies, including Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics. These skills help them leverage the right talents for the Digital Team.
The last, but most important skill is people management. In the Digital Team, executive leaders must have the ability to get buy-in from the board members, influence people, drive cultural shifts, and get the entire organization on board with Digital Transformation.
Core Digital Team
This layer consists of the practitioners who are well-versed with various technologies and business verticals. When considering talents for your Core Digital Team, you should turn to the Product Managers, Program Manager, Solution Architects, and Industry Consultants.
When it comes to this layer, most businesses would find themselves lacking one or a few designations. Therefore, hiring new professionals or reskilling current employees is always necessary at this stage.
In addition, employees must be given opportunities to get used to new initiatives and even change their career paths. Businesses would need to organize extensive training programs and workshops depending on the technologies and skills required.
Skills required of the Core Digital Team:
Depending on the tools and technologies that will be applied within the scope of your Digital Transformation, the skill requirements can vary from project to project.
An example may help. If your company is planning to migrate to the cloud, you certainly will need cloud experts with expertise in cloud technologies such as Microservices, Containers, or Serverless architecture. Based on these technologies, you will need to engage cloud architects, cloud engineers, data center operations, … Or if you ever want to get into Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning specialists, Data Scientists, Data Engineers are the prime candidate for your Digital Team.
It’s true that not every organization has these roles available in place, so reaching out to an external digital team partner can be a long-term solution.
Extended Digital Team
As an extension to your core team, this add-on team can involve developers, designers, visualizers, AI/ML engineers, business intelligence analysts, etc.
Skills required of the extended Digital Team
Software development, designing, data science are some areas of expertise you need to consider for your extended digital team. Depending on the size of your business and the scope of your Digital Transformation, an extended digital team can be very large.
Usually, it would require businesses to re-skill their existing employees or hire more talents who have experience with the technologies in need. Again, digital team service is on the rise. Providers of this service have a large pool of talents with expertise in diverse technologies, where you can easily make up for the experts you need to get your Digital Transformation up and running.
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