Why people are still key to tech transformation

From the mass adoption of ChatGPT to generative AI infiltrating almost every industry (75% of business leaders rank generative AI as the top emerging technology that will impact business over the next 18 months), digital transformation has become inevitable for most organizations.

And while much of the recent conversation surrounding digital transformation has focused on the humans versus robots angle, businesses that ignore their human capital and purely target technology as a means to grow and prosper do so at their peril.

That’s according to Donal Spring, Principal Architect at Red Hat’s Open Innovation Labs. Speaking recently at the Dublin Tech Summit, Spring highlighted that although transformation is inevitable, it needs to be anchored by the people tasked with achieving progression and change, instead of solely focusing on deploying tech at scale to achieve a competitive advantage.

“To be pretty blunt, I’m not a big fan of the big ‘T’ word, the big transformation word. I feel like it means so much to so many people that it can kind of become a little bit toxic,” he said.

“Organizations have been on big underscore transformation projects, whether it’s agile transformation, or DevOps transformation, digital transformations, and really, we need to move it back to what it is we’re actually trying to achieve? And what measures are we setting around those things?”

Spring says that successful transformation is all about the people.

“Adopting some new piece of technology and expecting it to get 10x time to market because it says so on the box is a pretty unrealistic expectation. We need to think about the people and process side of any technology change, because you can’t have one without the other.”

Skills underpin transformation

Cross-functional teams that merge talent from various aspects of the business are also crucial, but arguably, talent is just one piece of the puzzle.

According to a recent report by McKinsey, the ability to develop and deploy a clear strategy instead of being reactionary is key. It highlights that focusing on specific areas, for example customer service or internal processes, is the best way to do this.

Either way, the good news for tech professionals is that their technical expertise and soft skills such as critical thinking and communication underpin the kind of digital transformation that can be quantified in terms of growth, profitability and innovation.

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