Digital Transformation demands new skills for Tech leaders

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

It’s like Bob Dylan said: “The times, they are a-changin’.” And the times are especially changing for businesses and those leading them. Because what skill set do you look for when recruiting someone to head your digital transformation efforts?

Not so long ago, the job requirements for CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and other tech leaders were quite simple. First and foremost, you needed plenty of experience in the field. And it’s true: looking for experience is a common reflex when recruiting new tech leaders. However, we have come to the conclusion that experience isn’t the most important requirement anymore. When it comes to leaders of the Digital Transformation, past performance is no longer a guarantee for future results.

Instead, a whole new skill set is required. More than experience, it is important to have a deep understanding of new technologies like Machine Learning, Big Data, Analytics and AI. And above all: the ability and creativity to envision what these technologies mean. What do they mean to the world, to your industry, to your customers and to your company? How will chatbots or AI improve your business or change your models? What will be the impact of Customer Data or Customer eXperience Platforms?

A modern tech leader has the skills needed to answer these questions and any other questions that might follow when even newer technologies and inventions arise. Tech leaders need to posses the communicative talent necessary to convey their message to the company and bring everyone on board for the journey at hand. A tech leader also needs to be more agile than ever, because learning and adapting is now a vital part of the job. Indeed, being able to re-invent themselves in order to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances is far more important than being a subject-matter expert. It is even more important than possessing what the OECDE calls digital literacy (the ability to read and navigate digital content) in their research on skills for the digital economy

What kind of tech leader best fits an organization that’s embarking on a digital transformation journey? When recruiting a company’s next tech leader, our Executive Search experts no longer just look for extensive CVs and lots of experience. We also look for creativity and agility. We look for the digitally literate that live and breathe digital. Just as we look for the companies that have the courage to embrace that thought. Because, let’s be frank: though extensive resumes might seem like a very safe bet, and prioritizing creativity and agility might feel like a bit of a gamble, the latter might very soon turn out to be the 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 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.