What does it take for a business to succeed in a competitive market? Continuous innovation. And what drives continuous innovation? Empowered IT teams working in a collaborative environment, writes James Harvey, EMEA CTO, AppDynamics.
This should be held as the gold standard for the way businesses work, but unfortunately, not all organisations are doing this right.
AppDynamics’ Agents of Transformation research revealed there is an elite breed of technologist who are leading on digital transformation initiatives and ensuring their business is at the forefront of the technology revolution. Such technologists are vital for forming and retaining that competitive edge which is necessary to succeeding in today’s business landscape.
A major concern for CIOs building their IT team, however, is that 45% of teams need to be performing as Agents of Transformation in the next five to 10 years to remain competitive. Retaining and nurturing this talent should therefore be treated as a priority for CIOs to ensure they don’t fall behind the curve.
The research shows 71% of technologists recognise the urgency of true innovation within their organisation, and 72% are passionate about the opportunity technology brings. How then can we steer our business away from a Transformation Timebomb?
Role of the Agent of Transformation
Advances in computing power, automation and AI are set to transform everything. But these changes will also present challenges. For the CIO, a business’ prosperity then falls in the hands of this new breed of technologist with the vision and tools to effect positive change – the Agent of Transformation.
These technologists play a crucial role in ensuring that an organisation, alongside the wider community, are able to keep pace with rapid innovation. The role of the Agent of Transformation is clear: they possess the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, and they push this forwards.
What is less clear is how CIOs can engage and retain these key players, to ensure continued innovation. Agents of Transformation are concerned about their skills and experience becoming irrelevant. CIOs need to ensure IT teams – and potential Agents of Transformation – are challenged and working on exciting, innovative projects to keep them engaged.
Collaborative Working Environments
Businesses must embrace a more collaborative working environment to retain top talent for the long term. If CIOs and their businesses bury their heads in the sand and don’t act quickly, the impact of missing out on such an environment is significant for both innovation and competitiveness. Collaborative working environments foster innovation, and this is crucial for remaining at the front of the pack.
Implementing organisational changes can be challenging, but the benefits on offer for those who master this are great, and besides, inaction is not an option: working environments need to meet staff expectations to engage and retain staff.
One simple step that CIOs can take toward a collaborative culture is embracing a DevOps way of working. All parts of a business now run off software, so having DevOps teams across the whole enterprise is crucial. The DevOps mindset is to integrate teams so that they can work towards the same goals, and in turn, focus on the right measurements to increase the quality of the digital services.
In essence, DevOps is collaboration. It’s a culture that all businesses should now be mastering. For organisations yet to grasp this it needs to filter down from the top – and it probably hasn’t happened yet. When one part of the business employs DevOps successfully, it should then be showcased to the rest of the business. Change takes time but eventually, it will click. It’s not just the technology and tools you need, it’s buy-in from the people within your organisation who are imperative to this collaborative culture we crave. And DevOps is just one way to keep your Agents of Transformation happy – it’s all about engagement, continuous improvement and challenging ourselves to think differently to solve complex problems.
Growing and Retaining Top Talent
Now is the time to identify and nurture your Agents of Transformation. Research shows that to remain competitive over the next 10 years, UK organisations need to have at least 44 per cent of their technologists operating as Agents of Transformation. For CIOs this poses a huge opportunity: while today in the UK only six percent of technologists fit this category, there is the space and the need for other technologists to accelerate their careers.
When it comes to software and systems, enterprises have to change their approach in line with the speed of innovation. This can be championed through their leading technologists, who focus on driving positive technology, innovation and improve how teams can work together collaboratively to improve the way the business serves its customers.
The organisations that are innovating best are the ones that will succeed in the digital age. The organisations that empower and then crucially retain their Agents of Transformation are the ones that will really thrive.