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Seven Essential Skills Elite Technology Professionals Need to Thrive in the New World of Hybrid Work

Written by Gregg Ostrowski, Executive CTO, Cisco AppDynamics

Being a technologist ain’t like it used to be!

The latest research from Cisco AppDynamics — the ‘Agents of Transformation 2022’ report — finds 88% of global technology professionals reporting that the last four years have changed what it means to be a technologist, and altered what is required to deliver seamless digital experiences in a world of hybrid work.

The pandemic has changed everything. Technologists have had to deliver wholesale innovation at breakneck speed in order to meet changing customer needs and enable their workforces to operate remotely. At the same time, they’re facing immense and unrelenting pressure to manage and optimize IT availability and performance, as reliance on and expectations for brilliant and seamless digital experiences have skyrocketed.

In 2018, our first Agents of Transformation study revealed the emergence of a group of elite technologists at the forefront of innovation, with the skills, vision, and determination to deliver positive and sustainable transformation and leave a lasting legacy. But of course, nobody could have predicted the seismic events that were coming down the line.

In response, these elite technologists have had to adapt and reinvent themselves to stay relevant and to ensure they’re able to drive transformation in a very different world. Indeed, 84% of technology professionals claim that the skills and qualities that define an Agent of Transformation have evolved over the last four years.

The research uncovers seven skills and qualities that have become more important for Agents of Transformation to demonstrate in the new world of hybrid work, and they make useful reading for any technologist looking to accelerate their career and reach the summit of their profession.

Become more outcome-oriented
Elite technologists are using real-time insights to optimise the digital experience and link IT performance to business outcomes. A key part of this has been technologists looking to generate unified visibility across their IT environments to cut through complexity and prioritize actions based on impact on customers and the business. 93% of global technologists say that being able to monitor and observe all technical areas across their IT stack and directly link technology performance to business outcomes is now important to become Agents of Transformation.

Improve your critical thinking
Agents of Transformation are increasingly able to interpret data and identify trends to make decisions and prioritize their actions. Technologists need to find ways to cut through overwhelming data noise across an increasingly fragmented and dynamic IT environment to generate actionable insights which can inform their approach.

Provide inspiration
Agents of Transformation are doing more to support, empower and inspire their colleagues to drive innovation and navigate through difficult challenges. Technologists are pushing each other to reach new heights and 85% say that they would like to work alongside more Agents of Transformation.

Embrace an agile approach to learning
Elite technologists are preparing themselves for future technology and business demands. For instance, many have needed to learn new skills and approaches in order to get to grips with a cloud-first application strategy based on cloud-native solutions. They’ve recognized the need to do this in order to deliver accelerated innovation and meet customer demands for seamless digital experiences.

Influence strategy at a business level
Agents of Transformation are demonstrating the insight, vision, and credibility to shape strategy based on real-time business metrics. The age-old gap between IT and business is disappearing, with 88% of technologists now considering themselves to be business leaders.

Adopt a customer-centric approach
84% of technologists recognize that the need to maintain the performance of applications is more important than ever. This is because consumers and employees now have zero tolerance for anything other than brilliant and flawless digital experiences. Elite technologists are ensuring that they fully understand rapidly evolving customer needs and expectations and feeding this into their innovation strategies.

Collaborate with a broad set of stakeholders
Agents of Transformation are looking to engage with every corner of the organization and to upskill employees around new technologies. They’re also leaning on strategic partners to develop their strategies and explore new approaches.

As well as focussing on their own skills and competencies, technologists aspiring to become Agents of Transformation should also be looking to implement new tools which will give them the data and insights they need to perform at the highest level. 84% of technologists state that the resources that they need from their organization to become an Agent of Transformation have evolved over the last four years. And it’s now up to them to educate and influence leaders within their organizations to invest in the solutions they need.

The research reveals a widely held recognition amongst technologists that organizations need to reimagine their applications over the next 12 months if they are to stay ahead of rapidly changing customer demands and employee needs in a world of hybrid work. And this means investing in areas such as application security and in observability solutions for cloud-native applications and infrastructure. As many as 85% of technologists state that full-stack observability is now core to sustainable transformation and innovation in their organization.

These are exciting times for technologists, as they finally move beyond the firefighting of the last two years. They’re right to feel excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and the opportunities to fast-track their careers and make a positive impact on their organizations. By investing in their own skills and competencies, and ensuring they have the right tools to take a more strategic, business-focused approach to innovation, technologists can propel themselves into the next era of digital transformation.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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