Cloud computing featured

5 must-know job roles in the cloud sector - who do you need on your team?

Cloud computing

When it comes to securing the best people for your organisation, there needs to be considerable thought put into what is needed, which will vary depending on the size of the project.

Working in the cloud sector means employees require knowledge of advancing technologies, what role they play in a company, and the security features and cost involved. But there are also a range of soft skills needed, to run throughout a successful team which should not be overlooked.

To be part of a modern-day workforce in such an industry, staff members need a collaborative approach. They have to be open and embracing to change, understand DevOps, and be willing to upskill to remain relevant in an ever-changing tech arena. Organisations are increasingly working in flatter structures, meaning employees need to perform in an autonomous, agile way.  Adopting the mindset of lifelong learning is useful and people can fine tune through learning on the job – through mentoring, formal training and boosting qualities via cloud specific tooling skills, such as Amazon Web Services Training.

But what does it take to ensure a well-oiled machine operates in the cloud sector in today’s society? Elements covering infrastructure, security, storage, networking, and governance all have to be acknowledged. Rachel McElroy, sales and marketing director for cloud sector and DevOps specialist Cranford Group, underlines the five key roles every business needs, to be a success when using technology.

Product owner

Also known as a ‘project manager’ or ‘cloud project manager’, this person understands the commercial and governance sides of the firm. They’re the all-seeing eye, ensuring the team keeps in-line with the budget, and understands what’s needed – in relation to timings and resources – to complete the project. They usually work with other teams during the sales cycle, so they can outline a project’s delivery, and are adept at constructing high-level plans, delivering reports, and leading meetings. It’s a role which suits customer-facing people who can manage several projects at once, and have excellent communication and written skills.

Cloud architect

Usually an IT specialist, they oversee cloud strategy and are concerned with the design network, and the project’s infrastructure. They understand what the customer wants, and work on the best ways to achieve those needs, with a measured approach. They must possess the technical expertise to understand sysadmin, as well as have software development experience, and a good knowledge of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It’s a position that’s very hands-on, so needs an innovative thinker, who can lead on cloud efficiency.

Developer

A strong background of specific skills such as streaming analytics, data integration, and knowledge of .NET, Java and AWS or Google Cloud Platform are a must for the strongest developers. They should be able to build cloud-compatible frameworks, evaluate emerging technologies, and ideally have DevOps experience. These kinds of positions suit those with a background in computer technology and often a qualification in computer science, or something related. There are also many soft skills involved, including leadership to plan and co-ordinate projects, an agile mind-set, and ability to adapt to lots of change within the cloud sector.

Security architect or analyst

Another highly important role within a team, this person keeps computer systems safe from cyber-attacks. They also need to translate security features to customers, so must be a strong communicator with stakeholders and colleagues. From a hard skills perspective, this is somebody who understands Windows, Cisco systems, VM (virtual machine) work, and testing, amongst other services. A security architect is likely to hold TOGAF, SABSA or CCP accreditations, and be familiar with cyber-attack pathologies, as well as cloud service models. There might also be a junior architect involved in the team, to support ongoing projects.

Service desk

Fully embraced in being customer-focused, those on the service desk completely understand their company. They have to be knowledgeable, approachable and personable with every side of an organisation’s cloud capacity – from the security aspects to the installation process, data and knowledge of the technology customers require. Strong in problem-solving, this position welcomes trouble-shooters and those with a calm attitude when the pressure is on.

It’s vital that, when putting a team together, each person has a key role to play in the delivery of a successful cloud project. A balance of soft skills and team ethic – alongside relevant qualifications – is crucial. And, those that are willing to upskill and fine tune their experience to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends, can keep an organisation ahead of the curve in a competitive sector.

Rachel McElroy, Sales and Marketing Director, Cascade Group 1About the author

Rachel McElroy is a director at Cranford Group – a cloud resourcing specialist – and passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.


Brand authenticity and your bottom line – the perfect mix for company growth

Article by Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer, Solutionize Global

young Asian woman looking at laptop, watchin a webinarBrand authenticity during the time of a pandemic is paramount. Curating the right tone and remaining humble — when consumers are living in a state of heightened alertness — will directly impact your bottom line.

How? It makes your organisation relatable, and in times of uncertainty customers will naturally be attracted to anything that feels stable, secure, and ‘normal’.

A study by the Harvard Business Review found that individuals consistently preferred companies that values ‘openness, relevance, empathy, experience, and emotion’ — with a brand’s performance on these points being found to directly impact profit.

And authenticity in a brand’s messaging not only secures an identity of a principled business, but also solidifies its credibility and its commitment to core values – helping consumers feel more comfortable in dealing with them.

A brand can deliver on this when it has clarity of vision — knowing why it exists and what it stands for. This lucidity feeds through to customers, encouraging them to form long-term relationships with not only the business, but the people behind it.

In fact, in an international Cohn and Wolfe survey, 72% of those questioned ranked authenticity above innovation and product uniqueness when asked what they valued most in a brand, evidencing that you could have the best product or service on the market, but will be avoided by prospects if they believe the brand to be dishonest.

But how can you demonstrate that you are authentic? Consumers like to see the human side of business, so being transparent about your path to success and any hardships you have encountered will encourage engagement. Using this form of messaging strategically and consistently throughout your content, messaging, and day-to-day interactions will act as a magnet, drawing people to you.

This attraction to known humanness by consumers explains the rise in user-generated content, the most honest and relatable comms of all.

Authenticity allows individuals to engage with each other in powerful ways, enabling us to innovate together and drive real change within our industries. And it isn’t just limited to our interactions with customers — as a management style, authenticity is engaging and effective, with leaders able to see powerful results by incorporating this approach.

So, how can businesses showcase their values and integrity to consumers? Once you have built your branding strategy and have identified the key parts that make you authentic, investing in long-term brand management efforts are essential.

This should transcend product lines, allowing your business to grow while maintaining a loyal and engaged customer base that is more likely to not only purchase from you, but to become an advocate by recommending you to their networks.

When done correctly, authentic messaging delivers fantastic ROI, but your brand story must stay consistent and aligned to foster a great experience for your customers.

About the author

Rachel McElroy, Solutionize GlobalAs chief marketing officer for technology solutions and services provider, Solutionize Global, Rachel is passionate about maximising customer experience and ensuring the organisation’s quality provision meets every end user’s requirements. As a brand and comms specialist, Rachel delivers high-performing marketing campaigns that celebrate SG’s bespoke service. An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator – especially in the diversity in tech space – commercially-savvy Rachel is a sales enablement expert who crafts tailored messaging to engage and inspire the firm’s wide-ranging customer base, and positively impacts its bottom line.


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Post-COVID-19 comms – the road to a ‘new normal’ for the tech sector

Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for technology solutions and services provider, Solutionize Global.

woman video chatting while working on laptop, staying digitally connectedAmid a pandemic, no tech organisation wants to be remembered for the wrong things they’ve said or done during people’s true time of need.

More than ever before, the world has required enterprises to be authentic, empathetic, and human in their communications.

Working in marketing for a £42 million turnover tech firm, my department has been challenged to strike the right balance between optimism and humility – while keeping stakeholders informed throughout. Any long-term plans have typically had to be adapted to ensure we maintain a consistent and appropriate tone of voice.

But how can other firms in our industry strike the right chord as the global economy continues in its quest for ‘normality’? Here are my key points to consider…

Be authentic in the face of a crisis

Honesty, empathy, and trust are all intrinsic elements for tech organisations – possessing all these factors can help set you apart from competitors. And with physical connections being removed because of COVID-19, enterprises have been forced to connect with customers in different ways.

For our marketing team and ‘brand champions’, we’ve made a point of focusing on being ‘human’ and underlining how we truly understand what our audience might be going through. Empathising with challenges that everybody continues to face is critical when cutting through the vast online noise – and for us it’s showed that we do care.

Implementing stakeholder centricity to move beyond the pandemic

I’ve found that by providing strong, timely and honest internal comms can help to achieve that all-important employee buy-in and motivate your colleagues to strive for better outcomes. After all, a purpose-driven ethos should be the embodiment of your company’s vision.

And following the customer feedback we’ve been receiving, it’s clear that they want tech firms to be relatable and only then will they become fully-fledged ‘brand advocates’ who remain loyal to the cause – when you need them the most.

Maintaining a strong sense of culture and values 

Having a robust but agile comms strategy has also been vital for us in terms of tapping into our employee engagement. As a marketer, I’m a big fan of encouraging a flexible, more autonomous culture that comes complete with a flatter hierarchy.

And to do this, our department has had a huge role to play in terms of adapting to vast changes and driving the company ethos cross-departmentally with educational, inspirational, and motivational comms throughout.

For many marketers in our industry, they might not have been accustomed to this type of environment before so it’s important to keep communicating and collaborating – regardless of where colleagues are based and how ‘hybrid’ operations now are – to maintain strong in-house relationships.

Focusing on an agile approach throughout

As customer behaviour continues to change, we as marketers need to not only adjust, review and be prepared to switch direction, but be adaptable to jump on news trends, analyse insights, and ensure we’re reacting to of-the-moment demands. Creativity is key to all this and adopting an omnichannel experience has proven to be essential for our firm when rolling our effective digital comms.

Post-pandemic, our industry should be living and breathing core values as audience expectations and emotions remain high. The challenge now is to continue being relatable, honest, and authentic. By producing real, open, and consistent comms you can begin to build a truly solid foundation – and create a stronger future for your culture, customer loyalty, and commercial success.

About Rachel McElroy

Rachel McElroy, Solutionize GlobalAs chief marketing officer for technology solutions and services provider, Solutionize Global, Rachel is passionate about maximising customer experience and ensuring the organisation’s quality provision meets every end user’s requirements. As a brand and comms specialist, Rachel delivers high-performing marketing campaigns that celebrate SG’s bespoke service. An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator – especially in the diversity in tech space – commercially-savvy Rachel is a sales enablement expert who crafts tailored messaging to engage and inspire the firm’s wide-ranging customer base, and positively impacts its bottom line.

 


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


women in tech, soft skills featured

When are soft – or key – skills more vital than technical attributes?

Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for technology solutions and services provider, Solutionize Global

women in tech, soft skillsWhen striving towards what the ‘complete package’ should often entail for a perfect tech team, thoughts will typically head straight towards technical capability in cloud architecture, networking, AI, security and machine learning.

And whilst all of these are vital for an innovative and digital-first workforce – as well as being much sought-after during a skills shortage in the industry – several organisations need to be cautious to fully appreciate how other personality traits can prove to be pivotal, and of utmost importance in many situations.

These are typically known as ‘soft skills’ and include characteristics – such as decision-making and leadership – that employees should possess. They embody complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity – exactly what an all-encompassing tech team requires when working on its next large innovative project or building out its IT architecture and networks.

However, before delving into this any further, it’s important to underline that there isn’t anything ‘soft’ about these attributes – and they should be referred to as ‘key skills’ instead. Why? Because nothing ‘mellow’ exists in such traits, they actually highlight an individual’s strength and how they empower and collaborate with others. These employees shouldn’t feel like they have a characteristic that doesn’t contribute towards a team’s overall commercial success – it should be quite the opposite, as this Future of Work report suggests.

Having keys skills goes a long way towards staff understanding both new technologies and how such benefits can be communicated throughout the workforce and to the end user. Those who can do this – in a manner that’s collaborative and personable – possess the traits every modern-day tech team needs to deliver successful outcomes.

Enterprises that do focus on key characteristics such as these, make strong choices when it comes to hiring their next addition to the team – the importance is how they’ll fit into the company, rather than what they understand from a tech point of view.

But that’s not to say that technical skills should be overlooked, it’s about utilising a range of attributes so that the organisation becomes more user-focused and intuitive, in-line with advancing digital methods which continue to meet the end user’s evolving requirements.

Looking deeper at the detail to truly define what the advantages to soft – or rather key – skills are, continual learning and development is a good starting point. With many tech enterprises operating on much flatter organisational structures and promoting agile, self-managing ways of working, individuals who are willing to enhance their skillsets whilst on-the-job are a huge asset for their organisations.

Additionally, empowering staff members to upskill, giving them time and plans for personal development and allowing them to hone their natural flair will often motivate them to ‘do more’ as they repay the investment made in them. Additionally, they’re often more likely to have a positive attitude as a valued team player who enjoys empowering and mentoring the next generation.

Those who embrace change – and want to learn new technologies at the rapid rate in which they advance – are also strong advocates for determining commercial success because they’re able to stay ahead of the curve. And from a mental health point of view, offers of development opportunities or formal training paths can make employees feel that they belong and are part of something special.

As agile learners, individuals with key skills can typically communicate well with various teams – from customer service through to technical architects – adapting their language to suit each group. Such employees can also reinvigorate creativity that filters throughout their workforce, as their passion and ability to bounce ideas off others helps to provide a positive, motivated and engaging environment.

In addition, empathy plays a vital role when it comes to understanding the end user’s needs. Putting themselves in the shoes of the person who is trying out the technology – or plugging in an automated solution – can often be the difference between building long-term relationships and seeing a customer move to a competitor. This differential can prove to be pivotal when determining commercial success because, without a loyal audience, a tech firm’s entire enterprise falls flat.

When analysing empathy too, it’s important for business leaders to understand that colleagues all have personal lives, real emotions and problems. As humans, there is a duty of care to be supportive, counsel, and acknowledge that many situations will manifest during working hours. Therefore, people who possess a degree of empathy can make the in-house environment a much better place for both employees and end users.

Going back to key and tech skills – all are imperative when running a well-oiled machine that’s capable of innovating and evolving to remain relevant in a tough, and saturated, marketplace. Overall, the two need to align, and organisations must truly understand when the ‘softer’ attributes should be the focus over operational skills, to enjoy a diverse, motivated and collaborative workplace.

About the author

As chief marketing officer for technology solutions and services provider, Solutionize Global, Rachel is passionate about maximising customer experience and ensuring the organisation’s quality provision meets every end user’s requirements. As a brand and comms specialist, Rachel delivers high-performing marketing campaigns that celebrate SG’s bespoke service. An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator – especially in the diversity in tech space – commercially-savvy Rachel is a sales enablement expert who crafts tailored messaging to engage and inspire the firm’s wide-ranging customer base, and positively impacts its bottom line.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


diversity, boys club featured

What are the key challenges for diversity in tech in 2020?

diversity, boys club

Article provided by Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer cloud and technology-focused managed service provider Solutionize Global

With emerging trends firmly focused on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the increased use of tech in vital sectors such as healthcare, building a diverse workforce in this evolving landscape is now more pertinent than ever before.

It’s imperative for enterprises to build solutions encompassing many voices and reflect the input of the talented individuals throughout their teams – to prevent inherent bias in the innovation they bring to the marketplace.

Digital developments introduced by organisations must be truly representative of their end users’ wants, needs and interests. But what does that mean when tackling the immense diversity challenges within the sector that exists and how that will impact on what lies ahead?

To understand the best way to approach this is by reviewing the cool, hard facts on diversity. Yes, times are changing in the technology world – and more importance is being placed on building a diverse and inclusive workforce – but top, diverse talent is still battling to break through into an industry that has innovation and disruption at its heart.

Delving into the data

For example, in 2014 key Silicon Valley companies – including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook published their diversity numbers for the first time – revealing how their teams were predominantly white or Asian men.

Five years on, Apple’s diversity figures still make for grim reading. The phone giant employs the same amount of black technical workers (six per cent), despite 13 per cent of the US population being black.

Meanwhile, delving into Facebook’s released data, 23 per cent of its technical workforce is female – which has seen an increase of 15% since 2014 – and Google reported similar numbers too. And although Amazon don’t publish their numbers concerning the split between technical, distribution and other employees, the e-commerce firm reports that 42 per cent of its workers are women.

When some of the most well-known US tech giants are struggling to make a substantial difference to the overall demographic of their staff list, how can other enterprises realistically make a difference? And how does that translate when thinking about the UK tech landscape?

Analysing the nation’s digital workforces

According to the most recent Tech Nation Report on diversity and inclusion – which analysed 12.5 million UK businesses registered with Companies House – only 19% of UK tech workers are female and 15 per cent are from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.

In addition, when it comes to leadership roles, 22 per cent of tech directors are women. Comparatively, in the wider business community, such figures are only a little different – with a 71/29 per centsplit between the male and female sexes.

Although things are improving, albeit at a slow pace, it can still make for depressing reading – especially when considering how the last two decades of data show that the proportion of women in tech boardrooms has simply plateaued. And this all comes off the back of many high-profile campaigns and a renewed awareness of how a diverse directorship or senior leadership team can directly, and positively, impact a company’s bottom line.

As the UK tech evolution grows three-times faster than the overall economy – contributing an impressive £200 billion a year – it shows how much it is revolutionising enterprises and providing the exciting, myriad of roles now available to the motivated and digital savvy staff member.

So, why is diversity still such a challenge?

Perhaps something can be said with regards to the lengthy, historical backdrop of poor representation that technology has played when being viewed as a viable career choice for women.

Additionally, education has an important role throughout, as it possesses the opportunity to empower the workforces of tomorrow and showcase the incredible force that digital disruption embodies. For example, ICT has typically been viewed as a sector working in silos and only suited to men with analytical minds. However, it should be highlighted as an exciting, collaborative and innovative career that can truly change the face of how companies now operate.

It’s time to challenge recent research that reveals how 48 per cent of women feel that a lack of mentors was a blocker towards a technology career. This needs to be tackled as an industry and by those working in it.

These are the statistics that really matter to analyse and truly affect change. The Bank of England’s recent analysis shockingly revealed that ethnic minorities in the UK earn around 10 per cent less than white workers.

Could 2020 be the year when enterprises truly focus on recruiting a diverse mix of top tech talent from a range of backgrounds and providing them with a workplace that is inclusive and rewarding to all? Let’s hope so.

It all comes back to one simple question – how can the right digital products and services be built to provide a viable solution for everyone if we all have the same voice?


women in tech, soft skills featured

Six reasons why modern-day tech workforces need soft skills to survive

women in tech, soft skills

Every tech leader strives towards having the full package when offering the very best service, meaning HR departments and hiring teams can spend a huge amount of time finding the right fits for their organisations.

An all-encompassing tech team builds out a business’s IT architecture and networks. It knows how to deploy a new software release with ease and can talk many different coding languages.

But as cloud services and technology become more user-focused and intuitive – and many traditionally repetitive tasks turn to automation via machine learning and AI – this has led to a shift towards the importance of being ‘human’.

Soft skills are playing more of a vital role within a digital team, and those who overlook the personalities and characters that can drive success, will set themselves up to fail, regardless of the amazing tech that the business possesses.

It’s therefore becoming inevitable that tech enterprises should be focusing on more specific traits and personalities that can add to a team’s dynamic – and here are six reasons why.

Improving communication

Unfortunately for the younger workforce, whilst being digital natives it’s also well-documented how many can often struggle to communicate face-to-face – 40 per cent are lacking soft skills according to recent reports – because they are more used to online interaction.

But communicating strongly has a wide-reaching effect and having that ability to use appropriate language for different stakeholders, negotiate with several departments, and ensure feedback is constructive – and egos are left at the door – can all help individuals express themselves, and positively motivate colleagues.

Having the confidence to provide clear and concise solutions, whilst showing respect to listen to other voices, showcases overall, strong communicative skills.

Encouraging collaboration

The clue here is in the word ‘team’ – an acronym of this being ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ – as this is the essence of collaboration.

Yes, people are great individually, but the real power in business comes from assembling a group with varied strengths, in order to supercharge success.

Being able to collaborate effectively alongside diverse characters is a key soft skill. A team could have a wide and varied demographic, encompass on and off-site resource, or be made up of contractors and permanent workers, but if they can all work cohesively, they can deliver the best possible outcomes. 

Instilling empathy

With the need to be user-focused and provide the greatest experience and products for end users, employees should be able to show they care and understand how others feel. Those who are empathetic towards customers interacting with their product and services can build strong relationships too.

Colleagues all have personal lives, real emotions and problems – as humans, there is a duty of care to be supportive, counsel, and acknowledge that many situations will manifest during working hours. A little empathy makes the in-house environment a much better place.   

Proving to be adaptable

Digital disruption! The team should live and breathe change as new technologies, ways of working, software, hardware – and everything in-between – burst onto the scene. Those who fail to adapt or don’t see change as an opportunity, rather than a chore, will ultimately struggle.

Employees keen to upskill are vital when it comes to addressing the global tech talent shortage. By educating themselves to further understand emerging trends, a new platform or cloud migration, this can provide huge benefits – both individually and operationally.

On a mental health note too, taking up development opportunities or formal training paths can empower staff, and make them feel incredibly valuable to their firm.

Empowering future leaders

Many enterprises now exist with a flatter organisational structure and are moving towards a more agile approach – enabling the self-management of teams who are all focused on the operation's overall outcomes.

A person with a natural flair for leadership will be self-motivated, interested in business development and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Within a successful tech team, these leaders should be capable of painting a strong picture of where the firm is going and the utopia that exists.

Effective collaborators should also be confident when helping others to visualise how they can consistently tweak and update projects in-line with the ever-changing market requirements too, and lead teams towards success – before competitors do.

Reinvigorating creativity

Strategy, planning and future results – what drives a team positively? This final soft skill covers employees who possess vibrant, engaging ideas that are essential to help a business stand out.

Some creative suggestions might seem a little off the mark, and others will be nearly spot-on and just a little tweak required. However, the point is to build a culture allowing people to feel comfortable to voice and share their thoughts – organisations empowering staff can be hugely attractive to top talent, too.

A popular interview question for many years was, “tell me when you used your initiative in a situation?” It’s time for employees to forget that, and instead explain how one of their ideas can improve the world! 

Having a complete team boasting technical and soft skills is no mean feat, but personalities and certain character traits should not be overlooked when searching for the best talent. A group eager to disrupt the industry positively, work collaboratively and keep embracing change can be a huge advantage in the sustainability of a tech business.

Rachel McElroy, Solutionize GlobalAbout the author

Rachel McElroy is the chief marketing officer of managed and professional services cloud tech consultancy, Solutionize Global.


How to inspire the next generation of females in tech featured

How to inspire the next generation of females in tech

By Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for cloud based resource specialists, Cranford Group.

How to inspire the next generation of females in tech As digital developments continue to diversify the way people work, innovators should be doing the same – and that means giving a voice to a range of tech talent.

There has been much debate concerning women in tech and the role they play, but – even with vast transformations happening daily within the industry – there is still some way to go to ensure that females are seen as leaders and true influencers in the field.

Things are improving yes, but it’s a slow process.

So, why is it taking so long for the sector to open up and embrace the key role that females can play to push tech forwards?

It’s no secret that this has been a male-dominated industry for many years but, as digital developments evolve, organisations must take responsibility and move with the times too. They should also encourage change-makers to feel comfortable enough to enter into the arena in the first place.

It’s an exciting time, so why is tech suffering a skills shortage on such a global scale? Maybe it’s because the talent available feels under-represented and the sector isn’t as inclusive as it should be? And, that’s something all businesses have a duty of care to challenge.

This needn’t be merely a ‘tick box’ exercise either, but rather firms should showcase just how cool tech is, and why people now don’t necessarily need digital qualifications in order to be a success in this field.

Tech firms must evolve across the board

The industry is vastly different to what it was five or 10 years ago – and the modern day workforce is too. Now, employees need to be great collaborators, creative thinkers and effective communicators, because that’s what the sector requires.

And, none of that comes down to gender.

What it does involve though, are soft skills – many of which can often be overlooked by organisations. Yet, having such personable and professional traits is becoming more important to the tech sector as more automation comes into play, and employees are released into meaningful work.

The ability to work in small teams positively – whilst being analytical and learning quickly – is just as important as having digital qualifications, maybe even more so. There is also a requirement for empathy and warmth, as understanding the needs of each team member – and keeping the group motivated – during challenging times is key.

All this has to be communicated by tech businesses, to encourage those job-hunters who may feel overlooked when applying for tech-based roles, particularly those which focus solely on having a computer science degree, for example. Statistics show that on average only 20% of girls at Key Stage 4 take a computer science GCSE and only 17% of the tech workforce is female.

Many people will also remember the Hewlett Packard report some years ago stating that men will apply for a role if they meet just 60% of the criteria, whilst women won’t unless they hit 100%!

Women in tech are vital for the industry’s progress

It’s important to empower talented females to apply for tech roles, and inspire the next generation of digital leaders. And, they absolutely don’t need to be ‘ball-breaking bosses’ in order to do so, they merely need to be dedicated, encouraging, and given the confidence to make a difference.

This industry cannot afford to lose out on more strong female change-makers simply because they haven’t been represented from the get-go. It is the responsibility of all to hold the door open and support the need for diversity across every demographic.

Employing a diverse range of people who focus more on how and why things work in tech – and who have critical soft skills – will help workers feel valued, and part of an inclusive environment.

If not, the sector will continue to roll out machine learning and AI technology with built-in inherent bias that has been developed predominantly by white males – and could prove to be a dangerous notion which will have far reaching effects. Why? Because businesses cannot build digital solutions on top of data that is not representative of all the people that may use it.

There is a sea of change occurring, and it’s up to those in the industry to inspire the next generation of tech leaders and mentors – known for their aptitude, attitude and what they bring to the table, nothing else.

Rachel McElroy,About the author

Rachel McElroy is passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.


How digital disruption has transformed the workforce featured

How digital disruption has transformed the workforce

By Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for cloud based resource specialists, Cranford Group.

How digital disruption has transformed the workforceThe way tech has exploded – and how it plays a crucial role in absolutely everything we do now – is no great surprise.

It’s allowed people to be smarter and more productive in their job roles, and has created business opportunities that simply weren’t there five, 10 or 20 years ago.

But the way in which automation and machine learning have truly transformed a workforce isn’t down to just one particular event. Instead, it’s a continuation of developments which keep impacting – and modernising – the way in how companies operate today.

And, organisations are being held accountable when navigating all the twists and turns that come with tech, in a bid to remain relevant during the ever-evolving online landscape – which shows no signs of slowing down.

But, whilst innovation is crucial, digital disruption has had a huge hand in underlining just how important soft skills are in business – something which may not have been such a consideration for many companies.

Customer centricity is everything

Tech has also outlined how important it is for leaders to be flexible during flux, be a team player, communicate effectively with departments, and ensure they place the same importance on their own staff, and value them as much as the end user.

For example, digital developments have provided workers and employers with the power to move away from the traditional 9-5 working day. They can now operate remotely, and speak to customers, colleagues and clients from anywhere – regardless of time zones. Technology has opened the doors for staff members to use it to their advantage, and realign their roles, in order to suit their own lifestyles.

Not only that, but it’s allowed more organisations to realign their change management processes, which are now a core part of many growth plans for businesses operating in a modern-day society.

Gone too, are the days of a company’s 12-month plan that was once set in stone because everything is evolving too fast for time-restrictive goals. Organisations must now be prepared to consistently tweak and update projects, and strategic plans in-line with ever-changing market requirements, in order to discover ‘utopia’ – before their competitors do.

Tech should make operational tasks slicker

Firms should use machines to their advantage – as an enabler to everything they do – to ensure a more agile approach when completing tasks. AI and automation have the power to conduct the day-to-day repetitive and mundane duties that were previously done manually, releasing teams to shift their focus towards their own improved productivity and customer needs.

A key thing to remember is that – while digital disruption continues to deliver incredible results and make lives easier – there’s still a genuine need for humans to work alongside robots, in order to achieve the greatest outcome.

Savvy systems have certainly helped departments to modernise and widen the net for both their business and customer needs, but to stay ahead of the curve, companies must still work hard to build relationships with their key marketplace, and do the things that machines can’t.

Those that are willing to evolve with the disruption brought about by innovation, and remain agile and flexible to change, should be on track to enhancing their productivity, and maintaining a happy, engaged workforce that always keeps end users at the forefront of their minds.

Tech shouldn’t be a scary prospect for companies. It must be embraced and used correctly, in order to help modernise workforces and continue to assist in positive, operational growth throughout unpredictable change.

Rachel McElroy,About the author

Rachel McElroy is passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.