The great thing about the massive disruptions brought about by digital technology is this – it brings IT and technology closer to any business more than ever! It makes IT and technology more critical, and more relevant than ever before. It spells tremendous opportunities to make an impact to the business. So, why then do I observe the opposite happening for IT departments and divisions? In my personal opinion, it’s the sudden shift of expectations of IT, and that actually has roots in being comfortable with legacy practices, and shunning the digital wave.

For us here in South East Asia, whether you are a vendor, an end user or in consulting, it’s the right time to take a hard look at rebooting your thinking as technologists. So, here’s my take on the Digital Technologist.

The Digital Technologist …. has a good understanding of why the 4+1 macro trends are taking place, and how the businesses leverage them for outcomes. While these 4+1 trends are a disruptive force by itself, the real digital experience is formed when purposeful interactions are forged between these trends (Gartner’s Nexus of Forces). My observation in South East Asia across industries is that adoption is siloed. That’s not always a bad thing, especially when we are in an economy that is developing and growing. Gotta be outcome-driven, remember? Businesses will naturally take a slightly more cautious approach when the clarity of outcome is sometimes vague, at best. So, the Digital Technologist really needs to know the Social-Mobile-Analytics-Cloud+App Dev impact on businesses today.

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The Digital Technologist… is business-practical. Businesses are at different phases of their very own digital transformation. Some industries like retail and telco has a higher rate of change by virtue of their market space. Some are reacting to the disruptions in their industries. Most enterprises would have to grapple between optimizing their existing services, and at the same time make the right investment choices to be relevant in a digital future (Gartner’s bi-modal IT). The Digital Technologists play a key role here in helping the business adopt technologies that keep things running and preparing the business for the future. With the openness of the technology and IT industry today, interoperability is a given. Look for bi-modal IT technologies. Anything too futuristic for the business might simply be too disruptive. Have a transition architecture, a roadmap.

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The Digital Technologistknows the relevance of the technology to the desired outcome, regardless whether its hardware, software, freeware, firmware etc… One aspect of this is simply the available portfolio. Do I have the right tools at my disposal? This is especially important for technology vendors. Vendors that do not innovate away from their legacy successes and towards the digital future fast enough will eventually be left behind. The shrinking relevance of the legacy technology will invalidate their space in the market. The second aspect depends on the role the Digital Technologist plays – building the relevance. How does PaaS actually contribute to an agile app development? How can the business operationalize the predictive data model? How does an in-place analytics storage platform expedite the data science lifecycle? What about security considerations for mobile services?

The Digital Technologistgets comfortable about new technologies fearlessly. He does not allow himself to be perturbed by the onslaught of new digital techs, buzzwords and products. He incrementally augments the new tech and their use cases into his growing understanding of the digital world. Tough work, but there is Google … or So, it’s key to put effort to understand the hottest buzz in the tech world. One of the best learning experiences that I have had recently was going through the entire data analytics lifecycle in the “Data Science and Big Data Analytics” class by EMC. While the concepts are fundamental to data scientists, it gave me a multi-level depth of appreciation of data science, statistical models, RStudio, etc… But, more on this in my next post… Simply enlightening.

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As usual, please share with me your thoughts on how you think a Digital Technologist should look like.