The focus on the collection, management and manipulation of data is prevalent and so the pressure on IT departments grows. How are you going to survive this data jungle? Will you ride the technical revolution, embrace change and sponsor innovation or will you find yourself surrounded by dusty servers, silent desktops, playing Frisbee with the once all-important recovery discs? As we push into 2013 a rumbling sense of nervous excitement, anticipation and unprecedented challenge faces us. As we periodically sanity check our own career health it is worth taking a moment to ponder these points:
Softly, Softly Catchee Monkey – the importance of soft skills
We are a long way from the days of ‘IT in the basement’ moving on from a place of support and enablement to that of enterprise empowerment. Business change agents understand that without continuous technical innovation; competitive edge, market position and growth flounder. Productive communication and collaboration between IT and ‘The Business’ has become an engine of growth. Critical behaviours for technologists include the ability to actively listen, understand key drivers, identify opportunities, question assumptions and communicate on all levels. This has placed emotional intelligence poll position against the reliance on technical ability. Complimenting your technical skills with soft skills increases your ability to become the conduit between business opportunity and technical enablement – a trusted advisor, a safe harbour for the enterprise.
Automate and Integrate – Big data and the big red button
Everybody wants one, they are not sure how it works but once pressed magic happens. Have you ever had the conversation that started with ‘we just need a button that….”. Every automated process starts with a button. This shiny rectangle used to mask huge amounts of code and processes deserves more gratification that it tends to receive. The expectation to source, manipulate, present and report on large amounts of data is reasonable. To do it within the same time as it takes for a CFO to blink is the challenge. With an array of databases, numerous applications each written in a differing languages and huge amounts of security based hurdles this is no mean task. Being multilingual (.net, Java, PHP, Ruby etc.) is key to effectively integrating numerous applications via open API’s. Getting Apps to talk to each other and moving data between sources are fundamental requirements to achieving seamless end-to-end process automation. No longer do users expect to jump in and out of ‘Stand Alone’ applications. They demand a level of application integration where the need to duplicate data entry is passé. To make life harder they would like this to happen on the 3” smart phone screen whilst out of Wi-Fi range and late for a meeting. To conjure this magic you will need to be highly resourceful, technically agnostic and be prepared to challenge convention.
Stakeholder Management – understanding key drivers and decisions
Meet Kyle, Kyle works in finance and is a key stakeholder, he is not a technologist. A few years ago Kyle understood that the technology afforded to him at work was far better than that of his own. His company had greater storage, complex applications and faster Internet speeds. They even deployed 19” VGA screens for all staff. However, the tables have turned, Kyle now has 20MB Wi-Fi internet connected at home, a mobile 4G dongle, a smart phone, huge amounts of cloud storage, a tablet and a few fully integrated social platforms to boot. He can deploy applications in a heartbeat, has access to his private data wherever he is and he has become a regular online social collaborator. However, much to Kyle’s frustration his company has not moved on so fast. Due to security, governance, policy and change management handbrakes Kyle’s company is struggling to keep up. Kyle now believes without the rapid adoption of technology his company will become less competitive, efficient and more importantly less desirable to him as an employee. Understanding stakeholder decisions and their key drivers is critical to delivering value added solutions to the enterprise. Get into Kyle’s shoes and walk around for a while. Did I mention, Kyle is not a technologist?
Challenging the norm – innovate don’t imitate
Wonderful, you have just replicated a paper based business process using the latest technology and satisfied all of the requirements provided by the business. You are trusted, relied upon and identified by the business as a deliverer, but is that enough? Simply doing as you are asked and giving what is required is like going into a fast food chain and not being asked ‘Would you like to supersize that?’ Commonly stakeholders ask for what they need and forget to think objectively about the solution. Welcome – that’s your job! Challenging the norm, offering innovative solutions to problems and enriching the user experience are great ways to empower your own career and become a hero. Are you a Change Agent?
Change Agent: trusted advisor, technically agnostic, highly resourceful, challenges convention, understands the key drivers of ‘The Business’ and ‘The Stakeholder’, offers value added innovative solutions whilst enriching the end to end user experience.
Speak to Talentforce about a career health check. How are industry games changers such as cloud, mobility, social enterprise and big data shaping your career? Talentforce is dedicated on building cloud talent within Australia. We specialise in finding experienced and adaptable talent within the local and overseas markets. Visit us today at www.talentforce.com.au
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