Driven by technological advancement, the next three decades will see societies change in ways we cannot begin to imagine, and the way we work is no exception. According to Accenture, businesses are moving toward more intelligent processes that allow for faster and more efficient operations. However, with these advancements come challenges for businesses as demand for technological innovation from customers outpaces many organisations’ ability to deliver it.
For businesses wanting to maximize the value of their digital investments, it is critical to start by identifying and nurturing who is driving their digital programs before diving into how they’re doing so. Without identifying these individuals and enabling them to drive change, organisations run the risk of failing to scale digitally while falling behind faster-moving competitors.
Digital transformation: a joint responsibility
Technologists play a leading role in driving digital transformation initiatives. It is up to these leaders to ensure the organisations they work for are able to keep pace with rapid technological change and harness its ability to fuel future growth. But it’s not just a technology problem. In fact, to make any meaningful progress it’s important to understand that digital transformation starts by having the right people with the right skills and attributes, working in an environment which fosters and encourages innovation.
Unfortunately, the reality is IT has been treated as a cost center for far too long, creating an environment where innovation and change is often seen as a risk not worthy of significant investments in training, experimentation or technology. This mindset creates a major hurdle for organisations in their digital transformation journey. According to a recent AppDynamics study, more than half of technologists (56 percent) say there is a surplus of outdated technology and skills within their IT department, while only a quarter (26 percent) of IT directors and managers feel their full potential is being achieved in their current role. Furthermore less than a third of technologists (27 percent) are confident in their own personal readiness and ability to drive digital transformation.
Enter the Agents of Transformation
Agents of Transformation are a new breed of technologists shaping the future of businesses by creating and maintaining an advanced technology ecosystem. Their skills include driving and supporting business outcomes, pushing the C-suite to embrace out of the box thinking, and leading with a collaborative, flexible and supportive working style. These skills set them up uniquely to drive a successful digital transformation journey for their businesses.
However, a key challenge for businesses to consider is that while some technologists may feel they possess the ability to drive this change, the reality is that only four percent of Australian technologists are actually Agents of Transformation.
Consequently, Australian organisations must quickly identify and nurture technologists with the technical, business and communication skills to become Agents of Transformation. Without these individuals, organisations run the risk of not completing innovation initiatives, suffering competitive or financial repercussions, damaging impacts on customer experiences, and an increased difficulty in attracting new talent due to a lack of positive role models.
How can organisations best enable these technologists to fulfil their role as true Agents of Transformation? It starts with a change in mindset and breaking down barriers.
Organisations can break down these barriers by partnering with forward-looking innovators either within the business or in related fields, and investing in the necessary technologies and training that will empower and support Agents of Transformation. As Agents of Transformation build a leadership position within the business, it becomes critical for business and HR leaders to map career and training programs to individuals’ career aspirations, while developing work environments designed to unleash their full potential.
Training and development shouldn’t be seen as a cost – it’s an investment back into the business. To remain competitive in the global market over the next decade, Australian organisations need to implement organisational and environmental changes that create a culture where continual experimentation and learning is a part of everyone’s daily work. These investments have been put off for far too long, and the longer this mindset of IT as a cost center persists, the wider the gap between digital leaders and laggards grows. The only way for an organisation to move from a digital laggard to a leader is by actively nurturing and investing the people who can drive change in an organisation – the Agents of Transformation.
Simon Horrocks is the Regional Vice President ANZ at AppDynamics.
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