The Biggest Challenge in 2016

A few years just before the turn of the century, the Internet started to level the playing field for enterprises big and small, old and new. In the last few years, the big four forces of social media, mobile, analytics and cloud (otherwise known as ‘SMAC’) have unleashed a complex game of re-invention and innovation for enterprises. And now, the Internet of Things is poised to change life and business as we know it. By 2025, it is expected to have a global economic impact of about $11 trillion per year, according to a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute. About 70% of this value will come from B2B users.

Consider these changes: The growth of e-commerce across the world, in double digits in the US and Europe and positively exploding in Asia, has put traditional retailers’ business in re-think mode. There are growing demands from patients to have online access to medical services and health records as we move towards a culture of ‘e-health’ through wearable technology. And there is a need for innovation within the public sector as governments embrace agile methodologies and move more of their services online. The Internet of Things will unleash a lot of value for end customers, which enterprises in any domain need to be also ready to deliver. And the sheer amount of data generated has to be put to great use through big data and analytics.

These sweeping changes have forced enterprises in all domains to rethink their businesses and transform themselves into digital enterprises to stay relevant and differentiated, and continue to retain loyal customers. Enterprises now not only have to rethink their business from the ground up, but also find the talent that can make it happen. Today they need talent that is not merely digitally savvy, but digitally ‘smart’. Consider some desirable characteristics of such talent:

DigiTalent Graphic2

Digitally smart talent…
… knows technology, but they also know the intricacies of your business.
… can pore over a working setup, and detect spaces that can yield new revenues, greater margins and new customers.
…can see the widely disparate parts of the business and weave a thread of analytics through them to unearth actionable insights.
… can spot opportunities, create pilots to prove feasibility, and build internal and external teams to make them scale.
… understands lean and agile, and how to combine them to maximum effect.
… understands products and gets the importance of customer engagement.

And so on.

In short, enterprises can’t afford to look purely for experience any more. The focus will be on the right mix of business and technical skills, the right attitude, and fanatical customer focus.

The challenge is that most enterprises, while setting an ‘unreasonably aspirational*’ vision for digital transformation, do not have access to this kind of new talent. In McKinsey’s Global Survey on digitization, the top challenge identified in meeting priorities for digital transformation was ‘difficulty in finding talent (both functional and technical)’. And hence prioritizing talent has been recommended as key to the growth ahead.

How can traditional enterprises accustomed to hiring in a specific way for a certain type of talent, switch their hiring game to now identify the digital talent that their business needs today, and tomorrow? Should digital transformation or IT innovation drive the hiring strategy? Should HR be re-trained to spot, attract and nurture digital talent? Should an expert outsourced team hold your hands through this?

At Arrows Group Global we believe that organizations that are serious about attracting top digital talent need to be brave and change the way they go about attracting them. Digital technology skills have recently been rated as the highest demand skills globally and it is up to the organizations to ensure their employee value propositions are the most attractive they can be. We work with organizations to ensure that their hiring proposition is as appealing as possible to the digital market, and then advise that this be combined with an agile, engaging recruitment process. Gone are the days of traditional 2-3 stage interviews and formal presentations. To really compete, you need to reinvent out how your organization engages with the digital market on their terms – such as the thought leadership events, hackathons, social gatherings and other channels we use to help organizations integrate talent with digital enterprise. Whilst the digital space is all about the technology, it is underpinned by the relationships and engagement of the people and their skills, and that’s the key to building a digital enterprise.

Arrows Group is keen to unearth more of such challenges so that we can create the right talent acquisition solution. I would be happy to hear from you regarding the challenges your enterprise is facing with digital talent today.

*From The seven traits of effective digital enterprises,