13 pivotal players on the digital transformation dream team

By: Molly Anglin, Senior Consultant, Nonlinear Enterprise

Make way for digital transformation with a team that can address all your needs. From the enterprise architect to the futurist, these 13 roles will keep you covered and well-prepared:

If you follow the job boards you might have noticed a fairly steady rise in companies building teams to address digital transformation change efforts.

Jobs like this one:

Or this one

…are increasingly common as companies look to alter their products and operations for the digital era. The stakes are high. Company lifespan is in decline, while technological advancements continue their exponential rate of progress.

Laying the foundation for adaptive culture

The fundamental challenge of digital transformation, of course, is not just to alter the company’s relationship with technology, but to:

  • rework company structure and communication flow
  • broaden tolerance for innovative risk
  • better integrate customer and partner ecosystems
  • enable informed decision-making

Ultimately, this is all to serve the purpose of becoming much more adaptable to the rapid pace of technological change, the hyper-competitive permutations that arise from this change and the fluidity of customer preferences in its wake.

It’s an important mission where the outcomes are (as the CEO of Cisco Systems recently put it) a matter of corporate life-and-death.

To whom do you entrust such a task?

Designing a multifaceted digital transformation team

1. Enterprise user experience (UX) consultant

An enterprise UX consultant expertly blends methods drawn from psychology, management and design disciplines to profile employee (and other stakeholder) needs and behavior. As day-to-day workplace scenarios and actors become increasingly clear through a variety of research methods, the enterprise UX consultant crafts a cohesive plan for interaction within the digital workplace.

2. Enterprise architect

The enterprise architect takes a systems-wide view of digital transformation, working closely with the enterprise UX consultant. Through their work, they explore what systems and business processes effectively support the organization’s operational vision as well as identifying any overlaps or shortcomings.

3. Information architect

A vast amount of structured and informal information is produced within the digital workplace. The information architect helps to define how this information is organized, accessed and governed.

4. Network scientist

The company’s capacity to adapt and innovate in the face of opportunity or threat hinges upon the diversity and strength of relationships inside and out. A network scientist can visualize and explain these relationships, advising on the optimal form of the corporate social network.

5. Agile coach

An agile coach with experience beyond software development is an important member of the digital transformation team. Relying on the Agile playbook, they serve as a guide towards lean, iterative and adaptive styles of work.

6. Economist

An accelerating pace of technological change, the rise of the sharing economy, the effect of the millennial generation, and an ever-growing reliance on contingent workers are factors reshaping the nature of global business. Digital transformation must encompass not only the internal workings of the company but take into account the swirling trends that affect the world of work.

7. Management consultant

Organizational structure will help or hinder digital transformation — a hierarchy may achieve great efficiencies but may be too brittle to adapt to necessary change or too risk-averse to undertake necessary innovation. A customer-centric structure, in certain circumstances, can yield higher profits and greater satisfaction (but not in every case). A management consultant with an eye for organizational design is a strong asset on the digital transformation team.

8. Futurist

A futurist can help explore the disruptive scenarios that might arise out of the foundational digital innovations (social, mobile, cloud, big data). Success in the digital economy — perhaps more than ever — relies on making well-reasoned bets on technology.

9. Mobility specialist

The modern workplace is perhaps a misnomer — it is not really a place at all. Instead, the trend towards telework, the decline of the PC, the shrinking of physical offices, the rise of agile workspaces requires careful consideration of mobility strategy. Can your employees work from a phone? Or embrace the blurry work-life balance favored by millennials? Bearing deep knowledge of devices, operating systems, and apps, a mobility specialist can help shape the evolution of the workforce-on-the-go.

10. Data scientist

Harvard Business Review once named the Data Scientist the sexiest job of the 21st century. As data available to the digital workplace continues to snowball, a senior-level data-scientist is required to identify how to draw insight. The data scientist on the digital transformation team will pinpoint and develop opportunities for data collection and visualization.

11. Human resources consultant

The change that accompanies digital transformation efforts can be aggressive. A human resource consultant can identify how to ready the workforce for this change, advise on building an adaptive culture, develop comprehensive roll-out strategies, and collaborate on training effortsefforts — all while gauging sentiment and uptake.

12. Automation specialist

MIT’s Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson believe that we are on the cusp of a technological revolution: The Second Machine Age. Artificial intelligence, robots and other digital technologies are evolving at an exponential rate. From personal digital assistants — to self-driving cars — to robots on the warehouse floor — the human relationship to work will be forever altered. A holistic digital transformation strategy must account for the manner in which automation will encroach on the workplace.

13. A charismatic (and digitally-aware) leader

Digital transformation requires support from the highest echelons of management. At the helm of the effort must be a leader who has adopted the tenets of open leadership, can offer vision, and foster a healthy culture of learning and critique.

This article was originally published on the Nonlinear blog.