Market dynamics, including transformative technologies and tools like digital, cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence, are changing our clients’ focus, needs, and behaviors. That’s why many organizations are focused on executing a full digital transformation. Bolt-on solutions often do not begin to provide the depth and scope commensurate with the current rate of change. After all, digital transformation isn’t driven by just the mastery of technologies but also by the ability to articulate the value of digital technologies to an organization’s future.
How We Lead
An integrated approach to digital transformation combines a keen understanding of market trends and client needs, investment in the right technologies and platforms, and appropriate learning experiences. To capitalize on the opportunities created by digitalization, both for their clients and for themselves, professionals need to become highly conversant in technology as it relates to their service offering. They also need to integrate that knowledge into what the company offers, how it delivers and how it operates. In other words, each of them needs to be tech savvy.
Being tech savvy requires going beyond passive knowledge to a level where professionals can engage with disruptive technologies and put that knowledge to use in client engagements. As with all knowledge, there are different levels of acquisition for different areas. At Deloitte, for example, we would expect a consultant to be “fluent” in those areas in which they serve clients but “savvy” in other areas.
At the outset, we anticipate that new hires will be curious but lack the foundation upon which to build their knowledge. Therefore, they are hesitant to discuss disruptive technologies with clients. Tech savvy professionals, in contrast, have acquired a level of competence and comfort with the business implications of disruptive technologies. Consequently, they’re ready to discuss matters with clients; refer them to relevant players, including those with whom we have alliances; and help them frame the right questions about how their business might benefit from these technologies. In this sense, being tech savvy approximates the notion of being a generalist in technology matters: They’re well informed but not an expert or fluent in every domain. We hope that all of our professionals reach that level.
When they reach the level of tech fluency – and at any time, they are at different stages in their knowledge of each disruptive technology – they can comfortably discuss these technologies with clients in strategic terms. That conversation involves connecting the dots between the technical side of the problem and its corresponding business opportunity. In each of our businesses, our professionals have the opportunity to acquire fluency in the technologies and solutions most applicable to their clients.
For all professionals, becoming tech savvy – and tech-fluent in pertinent areas – requires several distinct steps:
- Embracing a culture of continuous learning, demonstrating curiosity and building tech savvy skills over time.
- Engaging client peers in meaningful conversations about disruptive technologies.
- Identifying opportunities and bringing them forward to engagement leaders when appropriate.
- Being able to articulate the role they play in delivering projects with technology components.
For our partners, principals and managing directors, being tech savvy and tech-fluent requires reaching a somewhat higher bar and includes being able to:
- Articulate the concepts underlying the digital, analytics, data and technology capabilities that matter to our clients.
- Engage clients in meaningful conversations about the impact of disruptive technologies on their businesses.
- Absorb information to build tech-savviness, now and in an ongoing fashion.
- Steer clients to the right internal resources through informed discussion.
- Promote a culture with junior staff that embraces tech-savviness and emphasizes continuous learning.
While the notion of being tech savvy may reach across the organization, the specifics vary from business to business and from service offering to service offering. Each business or function has defined how it is engaging practitioners and embedding tech-savviness into the DNA of its business and its specific digital transformation efforts. The business leaders are also driving communications, learning solutions and engagement initiatives to implement their business-specific tech savvy strategy based on client needs.
Similarly, each business has defined and prioritized relevant disruptive technologies either through in-house efforts or in conjunction with the teams working with Deloitte’s Catalyst Fund (startup network). By enabling the businesses to define their initial scope, each can test its tech savvy infrastructure and processes for future disrupters and ongoing sustainability.
We are supporting our tech savvy efforts with resources that help practitioners informally assess their savviness, and we identify and curate resources that will help them increase their technology understanding. Those resources include existing internal and external resources (e.g., tech-focused newsletters, blogs, introductory e-learning and podcasts) that cover these topics.
What Impact Can Tech Savvy Professionals Have on Your Clients?
Based on our experience, we believe that developing tech savvy professionals at your organization can mean:
- Greater attention to the broader performance and operations implications of an engagement.
- More focused and value-added solutions, thanks to the deployment of analytics, cloud, robotics, cognitive and other pertinent technologies.
It will also mean professionals who can:
- Better leverage technology to work smarter and faster.
- Develop and deploy their analytical and business skills sooner and faster.
- Understand the broader implications of their work to their clients’ overall performance and operations.
Like all learning endeavors, becoming tech savvy represents a commitment to learning – a commitment that is a lifelong effort.
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