Digital transformation is essential to business survival. Emerging technologies transform industries and force companies to change their business models in response. Other external drivers, like the COVID-19 pandemic, require digital adaptations within the enterprise. Some digital skills are core to digital transformation.
Data Science and Analytics have become essential as more of the economy has transitioned to digital and digital-enabled processes. Everything that happens in the online environment generates a data stream; increasingly, so does what happens in the physical world because of the sensors and interfaces that make up the Internet of Things (IoT).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) continually advance with more capable and affordable hardware and a deeper understanding of data patterns and algorithms. Where once AI and ML were considered luxuries suited to experimental use by large enterprises and research institutions, they now are available to a much wider range of businesses and organizations, and they are increasingly becoming necessities for dealing with massive and growing volumes of data that threaten to overwhelm human analysts and decision makers.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a modern take on business process reengineering. It adds the layer of digital systems design and management to enable business processes to be controlled and directed in the digital domain.
Digital marketing has grown over the years as consumers and businesses move more of their shopping and buying behavior online. In the wake of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, digital marketing has become the main way - sometimes the only way - of advertising and selling for many businesses. Social media and online reviews have transformed word of mouth marketing, email has transformed direct marketing, and online advertising, search engine marketing, and ecommerce have disrupted traditional mass marketing and in-store merchandising.
The concept of DevOps has emerged as a result of the migration from hard-coding software to web-based software-as-a-service development models. When the latest release of an application is instantly available via the web, companies have the opportunity to update to new releases continuously for a constantly-improving user experience. DevOps creates a cycle of continuous integration (development and testing) of software and continuous deployment of new releases. The tools, systems, and processes associated with DevOps have been extended to other aspects of digital operations, such as security (DevSecOps) and artificial intelligence (DevAIOps).
Cybersecurity has become critical as digital transformation has extended digital operations into every aspect of business, commerce, and leisure activities. With our digital lives present with us not only in our homes and offices, but in our smartphones, our cars, and even our wristwatches, every aspect of our lives is now vulnerable to malicious cyberattacks that can steal our private information or disrupt the systems we depend on in everyday life.
Project and program management are skills that are essential to digital transformation, although they are not digital skills themselves. One of the most significant recent developments in project management is the Agile methodology, which emerged from software development. Applying Agile and other project management techniques to digital transformation projects and programs can substantially improve their quality and success rate.
Of course, one of the key digital transformation skills is digital transformation management itself. This integrates design thinking, Agile business techniques, digital marketing, and leadership skills into a holistic view of a business’s digital transformation journey.
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