In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive market, enterprises are looking for ways to gain an edge over their competitors through the use of technology in their businesses. Technology has become so sophisticated and ubiquitous that it is nearly impossible for enterprises to be successful without using technology to its full potential. To bridge the gap between business and technology, an enterprise needs the expertise of a business technologist.
Who is a Business Technologist?
A business technologist is an IT (information technology) professional with a combination of broad general knowledge of technology along with soft skills and business skills. Most importantly, they have a deep understanding of how to integrate technology into strategies that align with business outcomes and drive competitive advantage.
The basic concept behind a business technologist is a hybridized talent of sorts. You need to be skilled at both technology and business, and those skills need to work in tandem with one another. At their core, some business technologists are citizen developers—employees who don’t just consume technology but can also create it. While not all business technologists are citizen developers, all citizen developers are business technologists. These professionals have technical skills as well as industry-specific knowledge; they not only understand how to develop tools but know what to develop for particular business needs using low-code development tools or APIs (application programming interfaces).
What Does a Business Technologist Do?
An experienced business technologist can help move an enterprise forward by increasing collaboration among departments and streamlining workflow, all while reducing costs by making technology more efficient and scalable. Here are some functions of a business technologist.
Monitoring industry trends and developments
A business technologist may not spend all day keeping up with industry trends and developments. However, they regularly monitor publications related to their field of expertise to stay abreast of any changes in relevant laws, regulations, case law, scientific developments, and more that might affect potential business operations.
Understanding how technology impacts different industries and sectors
Understanding key differences between industries, sectors, and enterprises allows them to shape technology proposals to their specific needs and ensure full alignment with business strategy.
Envisioning the future of technology for their company and redefining business processes
A business technologist envisions new ways to use technology in their enterprise and create systems that can improve efficiency and effectiveness over time. They also redefine business processes, so they are able to incorporate new technologies or leverage existing ones in novel ways to make certain activities more streamlined and efficient.
Advising top management on potential technology investments
Since they understand how best to apply new technologies to different business functions, they can advise top management about whether it makes sense for them to invest in certain products or services at different points along their lifecycle.
Why They Are Needed
The proliferation of powerful technologies has led to a culture shift in how technology is leveraged within organizations. This has been dubbed the age of democratized technology, where a once-complicated developer skill set is becoming accessible to all. It’s now possible for citizen developers (regular businesspeople) to download powerful applications and frameworks, then utilize these tools to create customized solutions that meet their needs without needing technical assistance from IT professionals. This cultural shift has created an increased need for those with access to business and technology knowledge (business technologists) to integrate technology into effective business processes.
How Enterprises Can Benefit from Having Business Technologists
Business technologists can improve productivity, efficiency, and decision-making capabilities by unifying enterprise systems. Not only do business technologists have a holistic view of how technology supports an organization’s goals, but they also keep up with technological innovations to anticipate needs for future business operations.
A business technologist focuses on applying technology as a key enabler for delivering better customer outcomes, reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and improving employee satisfaction within a business environment. This value proposition is what differentiates business technologists from other professionals who work in IT.
What Skills Do Business Technologists Need?
Business technologists must have the following qualities:
- Big-picture outlook: They have the ability to see how technology can be applied across an entire business in order to optimize efficiency, from marketing and sales to client and partner management, product development, and delivery.
- Data cruncher: They are someone who really understands numbers, crunching raw data into valuable information about customers and markets for both strategic decisions and tactical campaigns.
- People person: A business technologist has a strong sense of what motivates others within a business environment and helps ensure smooth execution.
- Ideation: They have the ability to bring creativity to projects through brainstorming sessions and idea creation; they foster creativity among team members with inspiring leadership abilities.
- Long-term vision: They can predict which technologies will become outdated, so they don’t waste resources developing them now.
- Knowledge of technology and digital media: A business technologist should understand how both core systems work as well as each major application solution that runs on top of those core systems (e.g., customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, marketing automation, accounting solutions, etc.). Business technologists should be able to identify what a business problem is or could be and formulate a solution on how that could be solved by better integrating all these applications together or leveraging more streamlined solutions which meet most, if not all, requirements already available in the marketplace.
- Understanding of process flow and methodologies: A business technologist should know about how complex processes operate in businesses across all industries from finance to human resources, marketing, research & development, etc.
The Future of Business Tech in an Enterprise
The pace of change in business has accelerated to such a degree that business technologists will become an indispensable resource in order for organizations to keep up with new developments and technology trends. This is true whether you’re an entrepreneur starting out or a seasoned CEO trying to navigate through a shifting economy.
The reality is that over time, almost every industry will be transformed by digital disruption as entire marketplaces appear and evolve so quickly that their lifespan becomes nearly nonexistent. In order to stay ahead of these challenges—and harness them—business leaders need skilled technologists who can partner with them to stay abreast of changes and pivot when necessary.
Today, businesses need someone whose expertise cuts across different platforms, such as cloud computing, enterprise social networks, app development, data analytics, and more. More importantly, they must have experience strategizing with senior leadership, showing how each piece of emerging technology can make an impact in an enterprise. Every enterprise needs a digital game plan today if they want to compete tomorrow—and having a business technologist can help lead your enterprise there.