Digital Transformation demands new skills

Digital Transformation is everywhere. New technologies, concepts, and models empower businesses to operate smart and solve problems in new ways. Businesses can harness new technologies and use them in their advantage in order to understand their customers better, really empower employees and work closer together with suppliers, customers, business partners, as well as other parties in the value chain.

It’s just like Bob Dylan said: “The times, they are a changin.” And the times are especially changing for businesses, and the people heading those organizations. Because what skill set do you look for in someone that is going to be heading your digital transformation efforts?

Not so long ago, the job requirements for a CIO or a CTO where quite simple. First and foremost, you had to have a lot of experience in the field. Looking for experience is the common reflex when it comes to recruiting a new CTO or CIO. We have come to the conclusion that the most important requirement for a chief that’s heading the Digital Transformation no longer is experience. Past performance is no longer a guarantee of future results

A whole other set of skills is required. More important than experience, is a deep understanding of new technologies like Machine Learning, Big Data, Analytics and AI. And what’s even more important: you have to have the ability and the creativity to envision what these technologies mean. To the world, to your industry, to your customers and to your company. How do chatbots or AI improve your business or change your models? What will be the impact of Customer Data and Customer eXperience Platforms?

A modern CIO has the skills needed to answer these questions, and all the questions that might follow when other, even newer technologies and inventions arise. The modern CIO also has to have the communication talents to convey this message to the company and take everybody with him on his journey. Furthermore, a modern CIO or CTO has to be more agile than ever. Learning, adapting, it has become a vital part of the job. The ability to re-invent oneself in order to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances is more important than being a subject-matter expert. It’s as important as, like the OECDE calls it in their research on skills for the digital economy: digital literacy (the ability to read and navigate digital content).

What would be the best CIO for an organization that’s embarking on a digital transformation journey? Our Executive Search experts no longer only try to find people with loads of experience and an extensive CV, when looking for the next CIO or CTO of a company. We are also looking for creativity and agility. We are looking for the digitally literate that eat and breathe digital. Just as we are looking for the companies that have the courage to embrace that thought. Because, let’s be frank, going for an extensive resume is a very safe bet. While going for creativity and agility might feel as a gamble, but might very quickly turn out to be a winning strategy.

At Squadra, we have a unique portfolio of potential candidates. We also have a great understanding of our customers’ ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses. This makes us uniquely equipped to create the best fit. A fit that’s based on a deep understanding of the situation instead of a fit that’s based on a profile and a CV.

Do you feel the times they are a-changin and are you in need of a CIO or CTO that can guide your organization through this change?
Feel free to contact Tjibbe van der Zeeuw tjibbe.vanderzeeuw@squadra.nl
or explore our Executive Search services.