How technology has changed job descriptions
This may sound like a blanket statement, but in my opinion, this blanket statement is true: Technology is changing all professional’s effectiveness on the job and the way they do and behave while on their jobs.
In today’s day and age it is impossible to have a job without a technology enablement. All jobs require a deep understanding of technology, and what it can do to help you perform better. The adage, “technology is best left to the techies”, no longer applies. It is important for everyone to understand the interconnectedness of our jobs and the impact each job has across the firm, and while this necessity was always there to start with, the tech processes have further connected jobs in a more intricate way.
A marketing person should understand how the leads come in, and then how the sales professionals handle them. The sales person also needs to understand the way leads are coming in and their respective sources. As a result, the serving executive now has an insight not just into the customer, but his origination point and the life cycle thus far. He can now service the customer better. The accounts manager, similarly, needs to understand how the biddable media works and thereby account for it in the right manner. The technology expert could earlier work without even a rudimentary understanding of the life cycle of the customer. Now a technology person without a deep digital marketing understanding just won’t cut it anymore.
Today, technology enables all processes. So, professionals require mastering two very important skills, irrespective of their job or function. These are inbuilt into their job descriptions and their daily work performance requirements. First, a deep understanding of the current process be it in marketing or any other function, and how technology can drive efficiency within it. Can it be done faster, with less or no manpower intervention? Can you move it, report it and correct it in an efficient manner? These factors will ultimately drive efficiencies into the system and also enhance consumer experience. Therefore, everyone needs to be focused on it, cost notwithstanding.
Secondly, and a point that’s seen as adding more value, is that technology differentiates. Once you are able to master the efficiencies you are ready for the second level of technology enablement—one that helps you differentiate. Here technology processes are imagined with their full power in strong cross-functional partnerships. Technology in this case is not focused on mere improvement; it is focused on differentiating the brand. Factors to be considered here are: Can I enable the customer to get to what he wants without my help? Can he solve issues he did not know exist? Can we create a product that technology enables us to differentiate from the market? This requires an understanding of the business, the technology process, and thirdly the possibility of new technology disrupting consumer behavior.
And now a look at how Technology drives start-ups
A start-up understands and fundamentally thrives on the above-mentioned points, particularly the last point. Their entire raison d'être is the ability to use technology to solve problems of efficiency and strategy. This is at the heart of the start-up philosophy and is therefore the score of a start-up professional’s mental make up. He should be ready to have nebulous job descriptions, which change and morph regularly. This is necessitated because in many ways the start-up professional’s job is to make their own jobs as redundant as possibly. He needs to understand that technology will forever try and replace him and therefore he has to replace himself with a large amount of technology so that he can do more and solve bigger problems. The days of doing the same job for multiple years are long gone as are seen in traditional organizations. Hence on a HR level, the classical pyramid that we inherited from the armed force structure that followed a chain of command is long dead. Today’s structures are a complex lattice web, with multiple dependencies and multiple hierarchies working with each other. A senior technology professional must pay his dues to the junior sales person, and the senior marketing guy must do likewise to the junior database architect.
This is the new world, it looks chaotic and confused, but that’s just the surface! If you look inside it is a complex ecosystem like, Mother Nature. The mighty lion is not the king of the jungle as fairy tales like us to believe. The mighty lion can easily be wiped off if the butterflies die in the jungle, as conservationists might lead us to understand. This is the true nature of jobs in a disruptive world and if you don’t have technology understanding or technology processes or technology dreams in your job description or resume, then your job or LinkedIn resume, as the case may be, needs some serious facelift.