Create an IT Learning Culture for the IIoT Digital Workplace

By: Babette Ten Haken| - Leave a comment


Creating an IT learning culture attracts the right people for digital transformation of the IIoT workplace.

That’s a big, bold idea.

First, this idea is tailor-made for the challenges of retooling and recalibrating IT infrastructure and function for IT-OT convergence and digital transformation. Also, this concept is an essential element of how the workplace and workspaces are changing in response to the relentless pace of tech advances, courtesy of the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem.

Then, that idea becomes the fulcrum leveraging an organization’s IIoT human capital strategy.

After all, IT (information technology) folks still tend to be perceived as the keepers of the data and the reinforcers of process control. Overcoming legacy mindset is the key to digital transformation across the organization.

Consider, then, what happens when the CIO establishes the IT function within an IIoT Center of IT Excellence, serving the entire organization? Everyone continuously learns from everyone else. And not just about IT.

As a result, not only are all aspects of current organizational culture positively impacted. Also, future organizational hiring strategy is catalyzed. The focus becomes attracting more collaborative and holistic individuals to drive customer experience, success, loyalty and retention.

The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends study, “Rewriting the rules for the digital age” establishes recommendations, extrapolated in this post, for creating and leveraging an IT learning culture as a competitive advantage.

How closely does your organization’s current IT culture come to meshing with tomorrow’s IIoT workplace specifications?

  • Tomorrow’s IT organizational culture is playbook- and team-based instead of rules- and roles/job-title based.

The 2017 Deloitte report builds on ideas from the 2016 Deloitte study. More organizations are putting words and ideas into action. They are experimenting with the value of collaborative, interchangeable teams in creating customer-focused value. Consequently, shifting membership on networks of teams becomes the new workplace norm. These teams are both customer- and outcome- centric, continuously reconfigured in response to creating enduring, big-picture and solutions. As a result, job titles, functions and assignments continuously fluctuate in response to holistic challenges and desired outcomes.

Now consider the implications for the structure and function of future IT teams within a digitally-focused organizational culture.

The pace and cadence of the IIoT data tsunami is like continuously trying to hit a constantly moving stability target. Yesterday’s IT teams focused on IT control, stability and efficiency. Tomorrow’s CIOs become architects of a departmental IT learning culture. Their first mandate is specifying and hiring collaborative, learning-receptive and innovative team-based individuals. These professionals are willing to work outside of traditional departmental and functional silos. These people, and their teams, thrive in fast-moving, continuously changing IIoT, IT environments.

  • Within an IT learning culture, agility and knowledge-sharing poke holes in legacy hierarchical decision-making mindset.

It’s about time, isn’t it?

The IIoT workplace focuses on the nature of work, projects, talent and problem-solving expertise specific and relative to customer-centric outcomes. As a result, IT leadership focuses on identification, acquisition, support and impact of combinations of talent from across the organization. Hybridized internal IT team structure, function and composition become the new workplace norm.

As a result, tomorrow’s IT teams are not entirely composed of purely IT professionals.

To create these hybridized IT teams, the IT learning culture ecosystem identifies team members receptive to learning and collaborating across professional disciplines. Then the CIO supports professional development within a software-supported, collaborative environment.

Consequently, winning a berth on an IT team becomes an opportunity to innovate, even if the desired outcome is about stability and control. As a result, an IT learning culture is a bit of Yin-Yang: focusing on both safety and risk mitigation as well as risk-taking and creativity.

Are you beginning to sense that tomorrow’s IT professional may be liberated from yesterday’s job description, title and role specificity?

  • An IT learning culture redefines leadership through playbooks rather than rules for hierarchical organizational advancement.

Yesterday’s “onward and upward” structured rules for professional advancement have long frustrated today’s IT professionals (and they are not alone). Chances are the new rules for the IIoT workplace will reflect a culture focused on innovation and digital disruption.

The IT culture for the IIoT workplace reflects the overall organizational culture strategy. How can IT structure, function and personnel be mixed and matched to contribute to an organization’s – and their clients’ – value streams? What is the optimal mix of people-software-equipment-processes to achieve enduring business outcomes?

The new IT learning culture playbook creates work teams cross-pollinated with professionals from a variety of disciplines and locations. Yesterday’s linear advancement up yesteryear’s org chart is jettisoned. Personnel advance based on diversity of projects, departmental assignments and complexity of thinking required to execute optimal, customer-centric outcomes. Leadership becomes multi-generational and hybridized, as well.

The concept of creating an IT learning culture for the IIoT workplace places the CIO in the role of translational and transformational change agent.

My synopsis of the major points in the 2017 Deloitte study appears in this anchor post. Clearly, the pace and cadence of digital disruption of the IIoT workplace leave no room for organizational or individual complacency.

Rather, the opportunities presented for organization and cultural transformation of IT provide a compelling reason to move forward along the pathway to digital transformation.

I leave you with this question: What happens when the CIO leads an IT learning culture, rather a function-specific, IT-focused department?

The hallmark of the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem is the volume, velocity, variety, veracity and value of data. Who better to collaborate and co-create a digital transformation roadmap initiative than the CIO?

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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