Agents of Transformation - A New Breed of Technologist
December 06, 2018

Ravi Lachhman
AppDynamics

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Today there is an urgent need for Agents of Transformation, a new breed of technologist, primed to drive innovation and enable companies to thrive in the face of rapid technological advancement, according to The Agents of Transformation Report from AppDynamics, a Cisco company.

Organizations almost never understand the connection between the changes they make and the impact these changes have on customer experience and business performance until it is too late

Technological advancements are transforming the world in ways we're only beginning to imagine. The businesses who will thrive are ones investing in building engaging digital experiences to deliver on growing consumer-demands. But this brings to light the dichotomy of modern technology — while the customer experience has never been more simple and elegant, it has never been more complex and difficult for businesses and IT teams to deliver. Organizations almost never understand the connection between the changes they make and the impact these changes have on customer experience and business performance until it is too late.

The report found that only 22 percent of global technologists are very optimistic that their organization is ready for the rapid pace of technological change. To keep up with these increasing demands, businesses will require IT leaders who can build agile technology platforms to meet the ever-changing needs of the business.

According to the research conducted by Insight Avenue, these leaders will be a new breed of technologist — the Agents of Transformation — with the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, improve user engagement and accelerate business outcomes. The report identifies that today only nine percent of global technologists are Agents of Transformation.

Agents of Transformation Needed Now

To remain competitive over the next ten years, organizations need at least 45 percent of their technologists operating as Agents of Transformation.

Enterprises must quickly identify and nurture technologists with the technical, business and communication skills to drive organizational and cultural change. These individuals must also have the hunger, passion and vision to deliver that change positively and sustainably. Without Agents of Transformation, these businesses will face:

■ An inability to drive or complete innovation initiatives (35 percent).

■ Competitive or financial repercussions (33 percent).

■ A detrimental impact on customer experience (30 percent).

■ Difficulties recruiting new talent (35 percent).

■ A lack of positive role models for existing talent to emulate (31 percent).

Huge Opportunity for Technologists

Agents of Transformation possess the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, and they operate within organizations that have the right culture, leadership and tools in place to enable successful digital and business transformation. They find themselves at the forefront of transformation initiatives, but they never stand still. They recognize the need for constant personal development and learning in order to remain relevant and fulfill their ambitions.

While today only nine percent of technologists are Agents of Transformation, the research points to a huge opportunity for other technologists who aspire to make the journey to become Agents of Transformation and accelerate their careers.

The report reveals that 71 percent of technologists care deeply about how technology is changing the world; 76 percent believe that emerging technologies will give them opportunities to develop their skills and their careers; and 69 percent want their career to leave a lasting and positive legacy.

Technologists view digital transformation and innovation as a huge opportunity for them personally, with 96 percent identifying at least one factor that excites them about becoming an Agent of Transformation. These include the chance to work on exciting projects, increased fulfillment and job satisfaction, the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, the possibility to inspire and teach others, and to leave a lasting legacy.

Barriers to Overcome

For those looking to become Agents of Transformation, there are challenges to overcome:

Cultural barriers

■ 86 percent of IT professionals think their organization lags behind the most forward/innovative IT team in their country in terms of skills, qualities and knowledge, and 45 percent see themselves lagging more than five years behind.

■ 55 percent of respondents say their organization does not encourage technology professionals to embrace the creative, future-looking side of technology.

■ 54 percent of technologists' day-to-day activity is having a positive impact on the business or driving innovation.

Leadership and job satisfaction

■ Only 26 percent of IT directors and managers feel their full potential is being achieved in their current role.

■ 60 percent of technologists say too much of their time is spent keeping existing software and systems up and running.

■ 58 percent say that often their work in IT is so reactive, they forget what attracted them to technology in the first place.

Outdated tools and skills

■ 56 percent of technologists say there is a surplus of outdated technology within their IT department.

■ 85 percent do not have access to the software and tools they need to turn data into real-time, context-specific insight.

■ 49 percent do not have access to the data they need to achieve innovation goals.

Methodology: The research included interviews with 1,000 IT professionals in organizations with revenues of at least $500m, conducted across five markets: US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia, and throughout a range of industries, including IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications. All research was conducted by Insight Avenue in March and April 2018.

Ravi Lachhman is a Technical Evangelist at AppDynamics
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