The Human Faces of Your Company’s Digital Evolution
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Unfortunately in most fields, half-truths and outright untruths are being spread around that create confusion and if bought into, decreases the chances of success. It's no different in the business automation field.
But we believe in serving you the full picture of what it takes to digitally transform your organisation because without getting the full picture you cannot make effective decisions.
One of the untruths lots of companies are telling their prospects and customers is that to deliver digital transformation you just need one solution… one tool. The fact is you cannot build a house with just a screwdriver and neither can you make a successful digital transformation with just one tool.
Your business's digital evolution can take many months and years to succeed and it’s not a simple process.
We believe that one of the areas that are not talked about enough is hiring the right team. Also over time, there can be a great number of people and roles involved in taking your business on digital evolution.
Let’s look at these roles together.
If your business is going through or in the strategizing stage of going through digital evolution and you need support realising which of the below you need for your business, you can contact us at the Digital Evolution Forum. It's an area we excel at helping businesses like yours with and have the results to prove it.
1. C-suite executive and owner
A business's digital evolution, including yours, starts with good leaders, most typically, C-level executives with a budget, influence, and their colleague’s respect.
If an automation and digitisation program is not supported from the top of the business then it is unlikely to succeed. Bottom-up can work but the hard yards that need to be covered make this a tough journey. Programs that are starved of funds, executive support, and influence have higher odds of failure.
However, this does not cut out the opportunity of it being possible.
Along with having the right executive leadership, finding team members with the specific skills needed is a challenge when taking your business through digital evolution.
Not only are team members' experience and qualifications important but so too is their personality which also plays an important role in building the right transformation culture i.e., their desire and willingness to drive change across their team and your business.
2. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Businesses digitally evolve to compete in their marketplace. Therefore, digital transformation programs must deliver a financial return for the business and the program to survive. Their advice and sponsorship are essential to building a projected business case that stacks up in the long term.
Is it, therefore, critical to get the CFO's backing, participation, and buy-in for a change initiative?
CFOs control the budget to fund the digital transformation project and typically influence other budget holders to secure more funding if necessary.
3. Subject Matter Expert and Product Owners
Digital transformation is about digitisation and automation of business processes using technologies that might include AI, machine learning, robotics, blockchain, and a variety of other available technologies we can use today.
However, successful digital evolution programs start with people who understand business models, business strategy, colleague and customer experience issues, and technology strategy.
Because of this, Subject Matter Experts or Product Owners are needed to provide business input as and when required. For example, when you are facing a creative challenge and can't get a roadmap for how to get from point A to point E with the product knowledge they possess.
You'll find that people in this role are largely open to engaging, redesigning processes, and making change happen within their business or product area. And they act as the strong connection between empowering technology and the success of your business.
Once the business issue in need of transformation is identified, the technologists then gear up. These individuals and teams are crucial to selecting the right technology and providers and for validating whether the digital transformation project will be a failure or a success from a technical standpoint.
4. Head of Automation
This is an experienced individual who acts as both an expert in guiding your business technology transformation and is a cheerleader for digitising processes wherever possible for maximum return.
People in these roles tend to have exceptional ability to deliver results and generate excitement to keep the program momentum. Especially as leaders at more traditional businesses are apprehensive about investment and change. You can find out more about this in the guide 'Is Digital Shyness Real? We Answer Everything You Need to Know'.
Because of the above points, your Head of Automation should possess solid influence and communications skills; perhaps producing a weekly blog, vlog, visual updates, or demos that present you, your team, and the collective business to maintain interest and excitement surrounding the changes.
5. The Chief Digital Officer (CDO)
Your business needs to have a digitally savvy individual at the CXO level.
This is because they will need to ensure other executives buy into the culture change that will be required to truly transform the business into one that is digital-first.
6. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Leaders can wait until the end of a business technology project to solicit input from security and compliance specialists. Unfortunately, doing so puts projects at risk because the security and compliance specialists' input may halt everything if the technology, architecture, or digital applications violate company security policies.
Involving a part-time or full-time CISO from the start of any digital transformation program will help to make sure that all of your business's security requirements are followed and any future security breaches are reduced.
7. Project manager
The project manager develops detailed SMART project plans. They are responsible for keeping the project adequately staffed, on schedule, and budget. They develop schedules, set expectations, run meetings, and raise red flags when anything is heading in the wrong direction.
If timelines or outcomes change, they can be beneficial to setting new timelines while maintaining healthy relationships and keeping high expectations.
8. Scrum Master
A scrum master is in effect an automation Project Manager who, according to the agile terminology, will supervise the overall implementation of your business's automation program combining both good technical knowledge, business understanding as well as project management skills.
You can get more insight on the value of getting the right person for this role by reading our guide '8 ways CEOs can cut the cost of their intelligent automation programme'.
9. Business analyst
For this role, the person must have a detailed understanding of business processes and business requirements. With the support of the Solution Architect mentioned below, they must understand the technical requirements of a project while being able to spot what can be automated or digitised and how.
The run cost of automation programs often gets neglected. If processes are poorly selected and then digitally transformed, the run cost can exceed and frustrate beyond your customer's wildest expectations.
These individuals are key to ensuring your business selects the right processes from the start.
10. Solution architect
The solution architect works hand in hand with the business analyst and digital developer(s) to ensure the design of your business's digital workflows is solid and incorporates all relevant technical constraints.
They are responsible for creating the framework of the technical solution being designed to meet what you've set out to achieve in your digital evolution, either internal or external to your business.
The solution architects' value lies in their ability to connect business needs to technology architecture, strategy, and resources.
11. Digital or Automation developer(s)
These individuals, using appropriate technology, develop digital workflows under the supervision of a solution architect. They participate in User Acceptance Testing and help implement digital products or applications into the live environment.
12. Implementation lead
The implementation lead executes the digital transformation roadmap. They lead the implementation of technology and process change and focus on the actual installation of the technology. The process implementation lead also focuses on the change management that will result from the digital transformation program or initiative.
13. Digital process controller
This is a role for someone in your team who is tasked to perform operational and technical support. This is a vital role if you are to achieve operational excellence, something we've looked into detail about in the guide 'How Your Business Can Achieve Operational Excellence'.
This individual monitor's digital workflows, detects and surfaces problems, performs root-cause problem analysis with the help of solution architects, capacity manages resources, and provides ad hoc performance management reports to the head of automation or digital (e.g. process volumes, environment metrics, license usage, etc.). The skills set required are similar to the one of a senior automation developer.
14. An IT Infrastructure Specialist
Having an IT infrastructure specialist that is dedicated to RPA is necessary to interface with the organization’s IT function to establish and maintain the environment required for testing and developing robots. They also need to be the prime liaison person with the IT department to know about changes and the future release of underlying applications.
15. A cloud architect
If bots are not built in the cloud then scaling will be hard. A cloud architect designs and installs a cloud-based solution upon which bots depend and run.
16. Digital trainers
These may finally be required if your business does not hire people with the required skill sets or wishes to train from within and develop a citizen developer-led program as we looked at in the guide 'Automating the frontline: How You Can Succeed With A Citizen Developer Programme.'
17. Chief data officer
Digital transformation programs are about unlocking value from organisational data. Data scientists who understand how to connect the dots and unlock actionable insights from data are in high demand.
18. User Experience (UX) expert
A digital product or a service is ultimately an experience. UX experts map digital technology touchpoints for customers and employees and identify gaps and opportunities to elevate those touchpoints to deliver exceptional user experiences.
19. A priest | rabi | monk | shaman
There's a caveat to this. You only need one of these when you haven't given any consideration to your digital evolution strategy and are flying blind. They will be able to pray to a higher being that everything works.
Have you got the right team for digital evolution?
In practice, the same individual can sometimes embody many of these roles, especially if you're the founder of a start-up where you have to learn to wear many hats. In addition to the skills and roles described for the automation process itself, there will be a need for more staff to maintain, fix and extract more value from existing processes.
When looking at these roles, it's important to consider the strategy that we looked at in the guide '5 steps to your business successful digital evolution. There's no point hiring certain people if you're at a certain stage in your strategy when they are not currently a focus. Or better yet, there's no point bringing them onboard if they are not a fit for your culture.
Get a better understanding of which roles, and it might be a number of them from above, are right for your business's digital evolution, by contacting an experienced member of the Digital Evolution Forum who will be on hand to help.