The Technology Talent You Have Versus The Talent You Need. Do You Know Where Your Talent Is? (Part I)

The Technology Talent You Have Versus The Talent You Need. Do You Know Where Your Talent Is? (Part I)

  • Technology
  • June 1, 2022
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  • 10 minutes read

Strategic technology talent is more important than operational technology talent. Competitiveness depends on strategic technology, not if trains on time. Cloud delivery, and other trends, have fully commercialized the operating technology. Today it is a matter of strategic technology. But companies have very few strategic technologists, especially those who understand the innovative intersection of business and technology. This is the first part of a 3-part series on strategic technology talent.

5 questions about talent

You need to answer five simple questions about your computer:

  1. Do I have the right people?
  2. How many of the wrong ones do I have?
  3. How to close the gaps as soon as possible?
  4. How do I store them?
  5. How do I reward them?

A process of assessing poor or dishonest talent is a break from the game. If you are not willing to make difficult decisions about who is on the field, you will lose every game you play; and if you’re not willing to invest in talent, you should stop playing altogether.

Let’s take a look at the essential talent you need to strategically leverage digital technology. Keep in mind that there are countless lists of the kind of talent you need to keep your infrastructure up and running. The focus here is on strategic technology talent, not operational technology talent, which is easier to find than strategic talent.

The operating technology is bottled water

Ignore your vendors, consultants, friends, and family who want to convince you that there are huge differences between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, that SAP is completely different from Oracle, and that Tableau is great compared to Qlik and MicroStrategy. None of this is true.

Operating technology is now fully commercialized.

There’s no real difference between cloud vendors, laptop makers, BI software vendors, video conferencing applications (Zoom, WebEx, RingCentral, Teams, etc.), ERP applications, or network configurations, and all the sale or rental of your preferred supplier. too willing to accept your order. Just pick one, standardize it, and move on.

Operating technology is like bottled water – you can find it anywhere.

The real leverage, the only competitive differentiator, is strategic technology. How to play the strategic game is the skill and talent that few companies have.

Strategic talent

Business technologists should talk about technology only in the context of business strategy, models, and processes. 20th the technologists of the century spoke of operating technology as painkillers that had to be managed rigorously. These were discontented discussions that everyone feared, and often ended in complaints about the cost of technology, how technology was broken, and not what technology could do for the business.

Digital technology is a business opportunity, not a problem, and it should be taken advantage of in this way. Digital technologies falling into the trap of painkillers versus vitamin pills will quickly discover how skeptical some executives can be about the cost versus the benefit of digital technology, even today. Ignore the headwinds.

Everyone should want information about disruptive technologies, especially those that are deploying their main rivals. Digital technologists should be corporate spies. They should be in-house business consultants with extensive experience in the industry. They should displace external consultants who sit in your long talented banks and are willing to jump into the game, for a fee, of course.

Perhaps surprisingly, and unlike operational “IT”, Strategic technology requires less precision. Because we’ve switched to cloud delivery, we no longer need to know who made the servers that host our applications or how often they need to be replaced. These details don’t make sense today. 20th century-old operating technologists were obsessed with server vendors, maintenance, backup, and recovery; No one cares about these things when the business goal is competitive performance – now your contracted team is responsible for all hardware and software delivery issues.

Fortunately, this means that deploying a new application no longer requires lengthy discussions about software development methodologies or whether offshore programmers can handle the requirements. Discussions about cloud security are appropriate, but they should be more about industry compliance than security technology. Delivery to the cloud has forever changed the nature and level of technology conversations, as the cloud itself provides all the technological plumbing needed to enable and optimize business processes. While we were dying at 20th century on plumbing, today we can focus on architects and strategists without the distraction of leaking pipes.

Digital technologists should focus on new business models and processes, new technology delivery platforms, and the strategic role that technology can play in competitiveness and profitability. Although the list will change over time, there is a set of technology opportunities that should be on the list of all digital technologists. Think of them as strategic, objective points of conversation i talent requirements.

There are five:

  1. Business strategy, models and processes
  2. Disruptive technologies
  3. Pilots
  4. Cloud delivery
  5. Strategic management

These five areas describe your strategic world of business technology and the talent you need to win. Let’s describe them:

Business strategy, models and processes

You need people who understand your business domain, the “as is” and “be” competing strategies in your industry, and especially current and future business models and processes; these people must also understand the delivery platforms that enable the search for business strategies, models and processes and technologies “as it is” and invented “to be”.

Existing and disruptive technologies

Talent here assumes a basic awareness and understanding of current and emerging digital technologies, as well as “combining” technologies with “as is” and “being” processes. This is a collaborative talent that works closely with your strategists, modelers, and process miners / managers.


This talent requires your team to design and implement Phase 1 (demonstration) prototypes with tools that allow for the presentation of “demos”. It also requires the team to understand (brief) business cases and steps to measure progress along the continuum toward minimum viable products (MVPs). This talent greatly appreciates innovation, but marketing much more.

Cloud delivery

This talent requires teams to understand all things cloud, especially the ability of the cloud to deliver emerging technologies suitable for prototyping, as well as market-scaling applications.

Strategic management

Talent here requires a broad and deep understanding of the brain versus brawn, and the ability to create and manage the global business technology delivery strategy.

These five areas are the ones you send to your recruiters for talent acquisition. They are also the filter through which you make continuous talent assessments.

While it is tempting to assign equal weights to the five areas described above, the areas should be sorted by rank. The first and second areas (1) strategy / business models / processes and (2) disruptive technologies – should be ranked above the rest for two reasons: there is a relatively poor understanding of the relationship between competitiveness, profitability, strategy / models / processes and technology; and because there is a shortage of talent in these areas.

A little different: you need them and they are hard to find.

Next time I’ll talk about the “expanded talent” you need.

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