It is true that we live in such a competitive world that the professionals who don’t keep up-to-date on their field of expertise—continually expanding their knowledge and coming out of the comfort zone to open their minds to new ideas—will soon be left behind or replaced by new generations, or moreover, by other professionals who actually do their homework.

In the IT field, this is especially true. Very few industries are undergoing such transformation and having the impact on our world that IT is having! Everything is becoming digital, including all the other industries. This technologic expansion is creating a need for IT professionals to open their minds to new markets, new approaches, new ways of working, new environments and even new mindsets.

For many years, IT workers were stereotyped as the ‘techies’ or ‘nerds’ who were into computers, coding and cables. In some IT specialties, this basic skill set used to be all that was involved in being an ‘IT guy’. But this has changed! Even people in technical roles now need to have a good sense of the business environment.

IT is now a core function in marketing, sales and business innovation, which before were removed from IT. This fact represents a challenge for people working in corporate IT departments. They now they have to, not only understand, but also drive the business to some extent.

Is your IT team prepared to be in the driver’s seat?

Every IT professional in the new digital economy must develop these five key competencies—or get left behind in today’s competitive market!

  1. Think Agile. IT people tend to be process-oriented. Their mindset is very structured, because they have learned well to follow processes in order to solve problems. The fact is that processes are becoming bottlenecks for meeting many new business needs. Processes have to become agile—and people working with those processes have to switch their minds to an agile way of thinking.
  2. Communicate and Collaborate. Silos: the curse of IT. For years IT has worked well in small groups. At most, IT has been about working in collaboration with other IT teams; business areas seemed to be on another dimension or at the user level. Not anymore! IT now has to collaborate, not only with other teams, but with every other business discipline.
  3. Focus on Customer Needs. Not the process, not the service, not the revenue, but the customer needThat is the ultimate goal in IT. Time-to-market has become now time-to-value, with the end customer realizing that value from the business service is what matters, more than just being able to sell a service. This is how business outcomes are now measured!
  4. Enable and Protect Strategic Goals with IT. Since business now depends so much on IT, the responsibility IT carries is mush larger than it used to be in past decades. IT not only supports the business, it RUNS the business! Yes, business succeeds or fails depending on the strength of IT. There’s a “bodyguard” role that IT indirectly holds, hence IT people have to think that way of themselves.
  5. Innovate. Change is the only constant. If things have changed so much in the last six years, what can we expect for the next five? The concept of “unlearn what you have learned” is more evident now than ever. Those who do not open their minds to innovation will get stuck in the pit of stagnation, and will eventually be left behind.