The demands of innovation, meeting customer needs, and rapidly changing markets are challenging many companies to work much more quickly and collaboratively than ever before. Companies should be turning attention to innovating how work is done by recognizing the need for evolutionary job roles and collaboration practices. To innovate work requires more cross-functional and cross-discipline professionals – especially business-technology hybrids, to better integrate corporate goals, strategies and business processes with the technology infrastructures needed to help make it all happen.
Common denominators for business-technology hybrid roles include: specific deep knowledge in multiple subject matter areas, technology astuteness, the understanding of business needs that cross traditional boundaries, belief in collaboration, even the use of social capabilities to support work processes and better communication. To be able to communicate across many teams, hybrid roles must be "multi-lingual": strategy speak, techie talk, customer voice, product and marketing lingo, as well as the lingua franca of reality checks.
Creative thinking, new directions, new ways of looking at the business of the company not only contribute to the positive direction of the company but also are effective for catching problems with current initiatives and strategies. Business-technology hybrid roles are frequently focused on eliminating corporate silos to achieve better results and agility, and to comprehend bigger pictures.
New hybrid roles have to become part of strategic staffing in companies. Unfortunately, most HR department gatekeepers do not understand these hybrid roles or their value to companies: hybrids simply don't fit the pre-built HR system job definitions that seem to hail from the late 1990's. Management and HR must update approaches to filling key positions by enabling inclusion of new breeds of professionals that companies need to attain more innovative thinking and change how work is done.
Upper management has to be proactive to nurture and support evolving business-technology roles, both by recognizing these new roles and reconfiguring current ones. Also needed is a much better understanding of what hybrids can accomplish for business and project goals, and the value of such accomplishments to the company.
Many organizations continue to fail to understand the function and value of business-technology hybrids and often lose their tremendously important services when these talented individuals leave due to frustration, or worse, are fired from their positions. When enterprises fail to accept and recognize the value of business-technology professionals, they will lose the broad and deep team-spanning experience and IP that so many companies seriously need.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts both software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitive and on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective