“The speed of change in technology must be embraced, not feared”

Sean Farrington, SVP EMEIA at Pluralsight, discusses why companies must be prepared to invest in technology skills if they want to keep ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

Last year, the number of UK businesses which entered bankruptcy hit a four year high, meaning one in every 213 companies fell into liquidation. It’s an unsettling statistic which exposes the reality of today’s turbulent business landscape.

To avoid becoming just another statistic, business leaders must be bold but also measured in their strategies. Doing nothing ensures that the business remains stagnant while making the wrong investment can tear apart revenue projections and set the company back. One sure fire strategic approach is an investment in technology.

Technology is often touted as the holy grail – the answer to any organisation’s problems. But it’s how the workforce approaches and deploys technology that sets companies apart. Technology today evolves quickly and it’s no longer enough to have a digital proposition. Companies must set themselves on a journey of continuous technology investment, learning, and on-boarding the latest digital solutions to keep ahead of the curve.

For IT leaders, this can cause a real headache. It can expose skills gaps in the team, cause delays to projects and ultimately perpetuate the war for talent. But what if the tools already exist to help IT leaders move at speed, develop their teams’ skills and keep the business moving forward?

Unravelling the IT problem

The pace of change in technology is unprecedented. For IT leaders, it’s uncharted waters. Just two decades ago, developers needed to be skilled in a handful of coding frameworks. Now, there are over 250 different frameworks which are updated and changed as much as eight times per year. Keeping up with this pace is a daunting prospect, for even the most senior IT executives, and it represents a change in how businesses need to approach technology skill development.

Often, consumed by a need to find an answer, leaders can be quick to jump to traditional solutions such as classroom training or incremental learning programmes. But these are not up to the task. Today’s evolving technology environment requires companies to move at speed, reskilling their workforce in real-time, learning the latest solutions and implementing changes.

This often requires a complete overhaul of corporate learning cultures and a shift in mindset. Ultimately, technology strategies must become synonymous with corporate strategy.

Invest in your employees and reap the rewards

From banking to financial services to agriculture and retail, all companies are now technology companies, at least to a certain extent. Jamie Dimon himself said JPMorgan Chase is a technology company disguised as a bank. This shift in cultural mindset and company direction is indicative of what is needed today to compete at the top.

But to be successful, companies must be prepared to invest in their technology teams — those who are creating and driving change. That does not mean hiring faster or reallocating budgets to new equipment. Leaders have to evaluate their teams’ skills and use those skills accordingly. Skills will undoubtedly be the strategic differentiator in the future and leaders do not need to look beyond the reach of their own organisation to find the variety and depth of talent needed to drive the company forward. The existing workforce, from new joiners to returners, is packed with employees possessing distinctive skills or a determination to learn and improve. They just need to be cultivated.

An example of an organisation following this mantra and reaping the benefits is Nomura. A global financial services company, Nomura now relies on technology across every part of the business and has found that a hybrid-cloud model has enabled them to deliver innovation to customers at pace. To build this capability, however, the company has invested in upskilling the talent it already has. With Pluralsight, Nomura has been able to map out and provide the exact skills and courses team members need to keep them be productive and on-course for delivering their new cloud strategy.

In a world where no company can afford to stand still, it is more important than ever to find out how to keep pace with the competition and stay at the forefront of the industry. Ultimately, Pluralsight is enabling Nomura to do just that.

Take advantage of best-in-class solutions

An additional IT headache is often discovering and accurately mapping where skills sit within an organisation. How are leaders supposed to deliver projects efficiently without seeing beyond the ‘developer’ job title to truly understand who is skilled in which language or code?

Thankfully, tools now exist to do just that.

Using digital on-demand learning platforms, leaders can map the talent at their disposal and ensure they are utilising their workforce appropriately. They can get a quantified view of the technical abilities across their business, measure expertise in roles and find it easier than ever to place the right people on the right projects so they can deliver faster.

IT leaders now have visibility into their teams’ skills and can easily assess their needs. More importantly, they can do this quickly, in real-time, on one platform. As a result, companies can train up their workforce with the right skills to execute on their core objectives bringing profitability and future success.

Moving fast, continually learning and engaging all

Today’s business landscape takes no prisoners. Technology is not a fad. It is a modern-day necessity. Companies must be prepared to invest in technology skills if they want to move swiftly to keep ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

But the investment is one thing – a change in cultural mindset is another. Business leaders must recognise that they do not need to look elsewhere for talent, as the employees who are going to make a difference are already in place.

Employees are an organisation’s secret weapon. If leaders are smart about delivering tailored training programmes, nurturing talent and providing a supportive, learning environment, they can ensure teams complete projects faster and more efficiently, and ultimately, drive the business forward with success.

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