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Friday, August 24, 2018

Who you need for your digital journey | INSEAD Knowledge

This is the second article in our special series on the Digital Journey.

Photo: Charles Galunic
"Digitisation has become synonymous with computing technology and data. Smart lifestyle devices such as phones, fitness trackers, refrigerators and cars are packed with unprecedented computing power" argues Charles Galunic, INSEAD Professor of Organisational Behaviour.

Photo: iStock

They also have incredible bandwidth for gathering reams of data. It’s not only “big” data, but “fast” data. In the 1990s, capturing data on consumer or employee behaviour meant conducting surveys, interviews, focus groups and data aggregation. Human beings plugged data into machines that spat out charts and tables for them to analyse.
Now that we have a wealth of real-time, and highly granular, information from the many digital products in our lives, the key is extracting meaning from all of these data. This means some new roles, and some added complications for old ones.

Executives and managers at the forefront of digitisation who we recently interviewed stressed that the focus today is less on “data” and “storage” than on “analysis” and “ideas”. But as these managers explained, this has multiple implications for the way data are mined, the skills and roles organisations need and who takes the lead.

Quants, digital natives and suits 
Our interviewees expressed demand for three different types of people: “quants”, “digital natives” and “suits”. The quants are those with math, deep programming and analytical skills. One advertising manager described this as a shift from “Mad Men” to “Math Men”. In many ways, this is the cornerstone of the digital skillsets that companies need. People with programming and deep analytical skills will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Digital natives are those well versed with our digital world and digital lifestyles. While digital natives are typically young, they can be found across age groups. They are people passionate to learn how things digital are increasingly becoming integrated with all facets of life. They are active users of many platforms from messaging to video streaming, and preferably know a thing or two about coding.

One respondent told us that “you need to have so-called digital natives who have grown up with this and who also constantly follow it and have the open mindset to hopefully anticipate and foresee changes in the future.”

Finally, organisations on the digital journey still need “the suits”, people who understand business plans, marketing, financial structures and operational processes. Suits can monetise opportunities by connecting technological value to customer needs.

But when quants, digital natives and suits work together, things can often get lost in translation.

Related link

Photo: iStock

A 10-Point Framework for the Digital Journey by Charles Galunic, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and the Aviva Chaired Professor of Leadership and Responsibility at INSEAD.
"Digitisation is here to stay so organisations should consider treating it as a long-term investment." 

Source: INSEAD Knowledge