While there’s no doubt that the world today has been completely overturned by digital technologies in many respects, this is not true for many industries.The “digital talent shortage” or “gap” is still a reality: many industries are in need of digitally-savvy professionals, but this demand has outgrown their availability.
Thus, digital talent today is a rare find and many companies are struggling to search for the specialised knowledge they need to access the benefits of digital transformation.
One of the main reasons for this is the scarcity of education opportunities via traditional channels. Although official and traditional institutions are slowly working to improve, universities and other educational organisations are still to catch up with new industry and technological developments. In fact, Upwork claims that 52% of freelancers said they would replace their college education with training according to their current work, if they could go back in time.
In this landscape, freelance collaborations are becoming more and more important, as they allow a company to get in touch with professionals to solve particular situations and even lead the way to their digital transformation. What are the most demanded digital skills nowadays and what type of benefits can they bring to businesses? We analyse it in this article.
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The most demanded digital talent skills
Digital talent consists of a pool of resources and knowledge that applies technological solutions to improve processes, products and services. Digital tools have provided new ways of understanding companies and their procedures, making them more efficient and customer-centered.
Along with new digital tools come new experts. Only by accessing professionals with the right competencies can businesses gain insight into new trends and continue their growth. Some of the key new experts include:
These are software engineers capable of understanding and using the power of data and algorithms. Among their expert skills, they should be able to structure data, have a knowledge of statistics and demonstrate their capacity to work with customer-data managers and engineers for production systems.
These experts are relevant because they put data to work, developing machines and software that are able to learn from data and apply knowledge without being directed. Their digital skills are especially valuable for certain industries applying machine-learning, including healthcare, retail, financial services or government agencies.
Digital transformations also have to do with product management and improvement: product owners are in charge of this. The tasks performed by product owners include defining and designing the product or service’s vision and tracking the project’s KPIs.
These professionals perform a key role in implementing Agile methodology, which rely on fast cycle feedback loops: product owners are the ones in charge of representing the business in the Agile project, making sure both value and return on investment are maximised, among other things.
These are professionals who are experts in many different software areas. Ideally, full-stack architects are able to deal with various platforms: from back-end databases to web/mobile user interfaces. Plus, they would make the perfect candidate if they can link their expertise with the company’s vision.
Experience engineers and designers
Being able to provide satisfactory experiences for their clients is now at the center of many industries. Experience engineers are in charge of this by designing excellent customer experiences.
As web design and development have become more complex, UX engineers combine both UX designer and Front-End engineer roles in order to provide companies with human-centered experiences. Their methodology is based on researching users’ pain points and user behaviours while consuming a service or interacting with an organization. Nowadays there is extensive data collected that can measure effective interactions and faulty ones. Like this, UX experts can propose or validating changes and design ideas by applying test-and-learn cycles.
What digital talent can do for a company
Industry experts, people that have been there before, are in high demand for good reasons. Companies who rely on new digital talent to enforce their digital transformation experience a number of benefits:
Improve business productivity
More than ever, in the digital world, information means power. Digital talent can provide the company with valuable insights in order to improve productivity and boost growth.
This includes, among other things, an analysis of the current situation and the ability to provide data-based predictions.
Companies can also benefit from applying digital tools to their products, services and processes, so that they become more effective and save time and resources.
Get data-based growth with digital talent
Unlike what the term might suggest, digital transformations are all about people. Accessing digital skills allows companies to gather and analyse data in order to know their clients and prospects better and applying it to sell more and more efficiently.
Through talent such as experience engineers or product owners, organisations are able to conduct A/B testing and applying a predictive approach to sales and market responses.
Enhance customer experience
An optimised website or a fluid communication with clients ensures that new customers are satisfied and increases their loyalty. Digital talent will ideally be client-experience focused, so that their skills are put to work in order to improve customer experience.
The right digital talent will apply usability concepts to all segments of a business and customer touch-points, making every interaction easy, quick and efficient.
Digital talent is also able to gather and analyse customer experience KPIs, such as the Net Promoter Score or the Customer Satisfaction metric.
Hiring digital talent has become a goal for many businesses who want to join the digital transformation. While educating on-board employees takes time and resources, hiring freelancers provides instant access to the knowledge and skills necessary to reshape companies.
Thus, freelance specialists provide the required expertise quickly and flexibly without having to set up unnecessary structures or staff.
Besides, while in the past finding the right freelance professionals could become a time-consuming process, platforms such as Outvise provide an effective marketplace for high-end talent and companies to meet and enhance each other.
Alex Collart, CFO & Co-founder at Outvise. Serial entrepreneur and management consultant, with a focus on strategy and marketing. Has co-founded and exited several companies. Former McKinsey&Co associate. Industrial Engineer + MBA (IESE/Kellogg).