Talent [R]evolution

An in-depth guide to the IT skills that drive digital transformation

The concept of digital transformation has been on everyone’s lips and has already propelled many companies towards success. However, many still hesitate as to what exactly is needed to transform a company to make it relevant in the digital era. The Outvise team has undertaken an in-depth analysis of this and found out two things:

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  • Companies need to understand which IT skills are necessary to drive a company towards digitalisation. 
  • Business culture and human talent must transform as well, in order to become more flexible and efficient. Only going through a metamorphosis, the company will be ready to embrace IT skills and apply them.

What are the main IT skills and what they can do for a company

Agile methodology 

Agile software development is the methodology that enables teams to provide solutions faster and more efficiently based on iterative development. 

The Manifesto for Agile Software claims that agile methodology uncovers “better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others to do it.”

This methodology is characterised by providing results for cross-functional teams and establishing flexible paradigms. Furthermore, the agile methodology allows self-organisation to be efficient and promotes team work, while also focuses on individuals and their interactions. 

Product Owners, Scrum and Sprints

Product Owners possess the right skills to bring teams together and make sure they add valuable inputs to the company. 

Product Owners must encompass the vision for a product and make sure it’s implemented. Some other tasks to be carried out by Product Owners include managing feedback from users and ensuring that a product backlog is created (a list of tasks for a specific project).

These professionals should also be in charge of supporting the Sprint planning that will be performed by a Scrum master. This is a planning methodology that ensures efficiency by establishing and prioritising goals and organising team members to accomplish them. A Sprint is typically performed for fast-delivery cycles, where planned tasks should be completed by the team in cycles as short as two weeks or less.

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Business Analysts

A business analyst is one of the key IT skills that a company must develop to improve efficiency.

These professionals’ main task is creating a business analysis that sees the company’s current situation, the risks and its potential for growth or performance improvement. He then generates a plan for the company to accomplish its goals, guiding the organisation towards improved processes, products or software.  

Typically, goals will be defined in line with the objectives of the new processes and will be reflected on a company’s digital KPIs (Digital Key Performance Indicators). These measure the company’s goals in order to monitor how close the organisation is getting to accomplish them. Through this analysis, companies can make efficient decisions and establish their strategy. 

As part of this plan, BAs should also oversee the company’s budget and monitor how it’s spent. It’s also their responsibility to establish a number of communication channels in order to ensure all the company’s departments and teams work towards those goals. 

Business analysts can use a number of digital tools to implement this, including digital dashboards. These allow a company to visualise large amounts of information in a single interface, including historical trends, real-time information and dynamic and actionable data, among other things. 

User Stories

User Stories are key to develop agile software development. They consist of formulating wishes or petitions from the point of view of the user of the new process, feature or software for the development teams to produce. 

Their goal is to simplify communication between developers and clients, using a standard language of a maximum of 2 sentences. 

User stories typically include three things: a short name, a brief description of the demands and the validating criteria for the desired action.

Customer centricity and customer analytics

Customer centricity constitutes a shift in business culture that aims to put clients first in every level of an organisation. This allows companies to make sure they are doing their best to think about users and customers resulting in new customers and better engagement.

One of the key IT skills for a company will be thus to perform customer analytics relating to user feedback, while also being proactive in listening and anticipating their needs. Professionals in this area should also plan and generate test products. 

How companies must change to encompass agile methodology development

Unfortunately, developing the IT skills above doesn’t mean that an organisation is automatically ready to embrace the potential of digital tools. Companies will not benefit from using Agile methodology if they don’t become agile themselves. In other words, business culture must rapidly change as IT skills will be inapplicable if they don’t find the right soil to grow. 

Areas such as product management or customer service must apply a number of transformations, including customer-centricity, ongoing testing and measuring or ongoing feature design. 

In fact, the ultimate test to use IT skills has less to do with technology and more with becoming a human-centered organisation. In other words, digital transformation will only be achieved if the right human talent and resources are established in order to serve IT skills. 

Thus, the gig economy and the concept of liquid talent offer companies the possibility of accessing the right people with the right IT skills that are able to push a company towards their goals. 

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