How Businesses are Adapting to the Digital Age with IT Skills Transformation

Jessica mitsch By Jessica Mitsch ● December 08, 2020
Momentum businesses adapting digital transformation

Long before the glob­al COVID-19 pan­dem­ic struck the world and forced busi­ness­es in near­ly every indus­try to launch a wide array of tech­nol­o­gy ini­tia­tives en masse, the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion push was already hap­pen­ing across the cor­po­rate landscape.
Sus­tain­able, suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion isn’t just about the right sys­tem or strat­e­gy – it requires the right peo­ple with the right skills to main­tain and ampli­fy the trans­for­ma­tion across the business.

At Momen­tum we are part­ner­ing with com­pa­nies to upskill and train employ­ees, arm­ing them with the opti­mal IT skills to help cre­ate last­ing change. Busi­ness­es such as Clark­ston Con­sult­ing are help­ing com­pa­nies iden­ti­fy upskilling resources and strate­gies to adapt to the dig­i­tal age. I sat down with Clark­ston Con­sult­ing Part­ner Irene Bir­beck to answer her key ques­tions on where Momen­tum is see­ing the great­est oppor­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­es with regards to IT skills, how those skills are being used, and how busi­ness­es can build a suc­cess­ful approach to training.

What are the biggest areas of need in IT skill as clients make a dig­i­tal transformation?

The biggest areas of IT need we see for our clients fall into three categories:

1. Soft­ware devel­op­ment with skills in Python, the fastest grow­ing mul­ti-pur­pose soft­ware lan­guage in the world. More than half of all soft­ware devel­op­ment job open­ings are in indus­tries out­side of tech­nol­o­gy. Indus­tries like finance, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and health­care are all eager to hire and grow soft­ware developers.

2. Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty is crit­i­cal for all orga­ni­za­tions who hold data and pay­ment infor­ma­tion for their cus­tomers and clients and will need to keep that infor­ma­tion safe. The US Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics pre­dicts that we will see a 32% growth in need for Cyber Secu­ri­ty skills over the next decade.

3. Data sci­ence is more impor­tant day-by-day as cor­po­ra­tions pro­duce over 2.5 quin­til­lion bytes of data each day that need to be ana­lyzed in order to make the best busi­ness decisions.

"More than half of all soft­ware devel­op­ment job open­ings are in indus­tries out­side of technology"
Anoth­er trend that we are see­ing as clients make a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is with a blend of front and back office jobs. A career in tech for exam­ple will no longer mean just sit­ting in a sup­port role in the IT depart­ment. Tech tal­ent 4.0 will mean that a basic under­stand­ing of tech­nol­o­gy will become a pre­req­ui­site for any job. For exam­ple, in 2018, Cit­i­group start­ing requir­ing their invest­ment bank­ing ana­lysts to learn Python and many MBA schools across the coun­try are now adding Python to their cur­ricu­lum as well.

Where are IT orga­ni­za­tions using this skill to trans­form their organization?

Retail­ers like Kroger have been pro­pelled into trans­form­ing towards a dig­i­tal enter­prise as a result of the pan­dem­ic. With a web­site and dig­i­tal pres­ence built using Python, Kroger’s strong dig­i­tal sales over the course of this year have led the busi­ness to dou­ble down invest­ing in dig­i­tal oper­a­tions to enhance per­son­al­iza­tion, automa­tion, and dig­i­tal capabilities.

In the life sci­ences space, com­pa­nies are rely­ing more on dig­i­tal tools to engage patients and com­mu­ni­cate with them but it’s also extend­ing to actu­al care. Star­tups like Side­kick are launch­ing dig­i­tal apps and plat­forms that gam­i­fy ther­a­py across mul­ti­ple areas. Lever­ag­ing many of the front-end and back-end skill sets that have been preva­lent in con­sumer-fac­ing indus­tries for some time, life sci­ences com­pa­nies are rapid­ly embrac­ing the con­sumer­iza­tion of health­care through patient apps.

Final­ly, we’re see­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in the CPG space as well. As CPG com­pa­nies go direct-to-con­sumer, the tech­nol­o­gy foun­da­tion sup­port­ing that trans­for­ma­tion relies heav­i­ly on rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple APIs that link the busi­ness with var­i­ous part­ners in the dig­i­tal chain, includ­ing eCom­merce, logis­tics, finance, social media, etc. So as CPG giants like Coca-Cola, InBev, Clorox, and more con­tin­ue to ramp up direct-to-con­sumer ini­tia­tives, the need for effec­tive cod­ing skills link­ing the com­plex dig­i­tal ecosys­tem grows as well.
Momentum businesses adapting digital transformation upskill

How does Momen­tum ensure that train­ing is effec­tive when it’s virtual?

Along with the rest of the world in 2020, Momen­tum made a quick piv­ot from in-per­son class­room learn­ing to vir­tu­al learn­ing. We were able to suc­cess­ful­ly apply the same prin­ci­ples we used to make our train­ing effec­tive in-per­son in a dig­i­tal for­mat. For starters, we nev­er believed in a pas­sive, lec­ture-based learn­ing envi­ron­ment. We’ve always believed that the best way for some­one to learn a new skill is through prac­tice. Our instruc­tors are experts at deliv­er­ing learn­ing objec­tives in a way that require the stu­dents to be active agents in their learn­ing process. We do this through live cod­ing with stu­dents, show­ing real-world exam­ples quick­ly fol­lowed by exer­cis­es, and active dia­log with stu­dents dur­ing class. Stu­dents will not find them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where they will be asked to sit back and lis­ten.” It’s this train­ing tech­nique that makes our cours­es engag­ing and effec­tive in a dig­i­tal environment.
"A career in tech for exam­ple will no longer mean just sit­ting in a sup­port role in the IT department"

Who makes a good can­di­date for upskilling?

Steve Jobs said it best, the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” The first req­ui­site in iden­ti­fy­ing can­di­dates for upskilling is to under­stand who in your orga­ni­za­tion is inter­est­ed in doing the job you hope to upskill them into. We rec­om­mend an inter­nal cam­paign to allow your asso­ciates to opt-in to train­ing. Momen­tum can help sup­port this effort. We will facil­i­tate open hous­es or vir­tu­al crash cours­es to allow your asso­ciates to see what cod­ing is like and get a taste for the learn­ing process. 

In our expe­ri­ence, com­pa­nies have found suc­cess invest­ing in upskilling employ­ees who are 1) ear­ly in their career, 2) who have served in cus­tomer-fac­ing roles and under­stand the busi­ness and see areas for improv­ing the cus­tomer inter­ac­tion and prod­uct with tech­nol­o­gy, and/​or 3) are already doing work with adja­cent skills.

Upskill your team remotely 

Learn more about our vir­tu­al skills training 

How do you cus­tomize cours­es for busi­ness­es to bal­ance keep­ing the cours­es engag­ing with­out monop­o­liz­ing all of a resource’s bandwidth?

Momen­tum rec­og­nizes that your orga­ni­za­tion needs to keep the wheels on the bus as you move for­ward with a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Not every orga­ni­za­tion is able to com­plete­ly remove asso­ciates from their day-to-day oper­a­tions in order to upskill. We will work with your team to under­stand the busi­ness needs of upskilling, includ­ing the speed at which you’re hop­ing to upskill your asso­ciates and the work demands they may need to attend to while train­ing for a new role. Our vir­tu­al train­ing pro­gram allows us to seam­less­ly inte­grate into the dai­ly oper­a­tions for your staff. Whether they are work­ing remote­ly or adopters of a hybrid work­place, we will meet your team where they are so they can seam­less­ly engage in an upskilling program.
"Our vir­tu­al train­ing pro­gram allows us to seam­less­ly inte­grate into the dai­ly oper­a­tions for your staff"

You do appli­ca­tion-based learn­ing as part of your cours­es, can clients use that to advance cur­rent projects in their organization?

Yes! We believe in project-based learn­ing and prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence for new skills to have stick­ing pow­er. We love work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions to iden­ti­fy real busi­ness needs that can be solved through tech­nol­o­gy. We can work with your team to incor­po­rate a real project through­out the learn­ing expe­ri­ence. We will also work with­in the exist­ing tech infra­struc­ture your team has to ensure your invest­ment in upskilling helps your team get ready in a new role immediately.

If these skills aren’t imme­di­ate­ly applied, will they be lost?

No, tech­nol­o­gy skills will not be lost if they aren’t applied imme­di­ate­ly. With that said, it would be hard for asso­ciates to not imme­di­ate­ly apply what they’ve learned. Regard­less if an asso­ciate makes an imme­di­ate tran­si­tion to a new tech­nol­o­gy-cen­tered role after an upskilling train­ing, their new tech skills will make them more effi­cient and pro­duc­tive in any exist­ing role.

If you’re inter­est­ed in pro­vid­ing bridge train­ing or con­tin­ued edu­ca­tion for asso­ciates that may not be ready to move into a new posi­tion after upskilling, our Momen­tum team can work with you on a course of action.

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