Digital capable talent is not an endpoint. It is a system that looks ahead — sourcing, onboarding and continuously building skills that are aligned with digital business needs and outcomes. It also means ensuring work management, rewards and management practices align with a more self-service, autonomous Agile practice.
You likely need to balance between digital product/cloud-native engineers and core ERP or SaaS service-oriented resources. Your HR is a key partner in defining strategies to refresh and build talent that may support apprenticeship/applied models and coach/doer partnerships.
100 - 80 PTS
You have a digital talent engine that sources, onboards and continuously builds skills aligned with digital business needs and outcomes. The system’s effectiveness is based on contribution to speed-to-value and value-to-investment. You use tactics like contract to hire to lower hiring risk and accelerate access to talent. In specific cases, you invest in partnerships that can be coaches/doers so that teams natively grow skills needed sustainably. You have a minimum viable balance between digital-native product engineers and more traditional IT ERP or SaaS resources. Your IT leaders are leaders/coaches and focus on talent-building strategies.
Digital Execution Ready
100 - 80 PTS
The organization has defined digital and Agile roles/skills required but lags in the ability to source at the necessary speed. Learning and development have the right scope but mainly deliver training, and their measure is the number of people accessing training. IT is transitioning to a minimum viable balance between cloud-native product development engineers and ERP or SaaS orientation. Help is needed to accelerate access to talent, applied skills building and evolving sustainable continuous learning that serves business outcomes.
Digital in Process
Sourcing follows an annual budget cycle. The recruiting model waits for budget approval in January to start. You may lose 6-9 months before the right talent is available for new product. Resource strategies are measured based on cost and a project-based CapEx model. IT managers are effective at contract worker sourcing and contract management. They need new skills to be leaders/coaches and/or drive talent-building across their teams. The bulk of IT engineers are ERP or oriented in SaaS rather than product development.
Questions & Answers
The question-and-answer section outlines why the questions are important, how they are weighted, and what best practice looks like.
What best describes your approach to building or sourcing digital skills?
Why we ask this:
Like in other areas, Digital Talent capability and acquisition practices need to extend the way they source and build talent to ensure business success. Typical reactive processes driven by requisition approvals over evergreen talent management will not enable right talent at right time in right amounts.
How we weighed this question:
Having capable and experienced talent working on strategic product ensures delivery of business outcomes. If you are waiting 6-9 months to source and onboard talent, you lose time to market. Digital engineering and business leaders need to be focused on how the develop, manage and retain the right talent pool. This is not just the province of HR.
What best looks like:
Digital product executives, engineering leaders and talent frequently discuss the roadmap to align on future talent needs. Talent management and acquisition is managed like a product to deliver digital capable talent and has hired executives with experience in building Agile/DevOps/Cloud organizations. They have a roadmap and strategy that includes external sourcing and internal skills building. They are measured based on contribution to delivery or acceleration of new products/new revenues.
Talk with your engineering leaders using the digital readiness workbook on what digital effective means
Define implications to talent and what might be needed to break old habits of only sourcing based on approved budget/open reqs vs. keeping a constant eye on talent
Look to partners that can build product and sustainable skills of internal teams. Use internal/external friction in a positive way to incentivize growth
For more detail, check out BreakFree’s point of view on Digital Capable Talent.