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How to become a digital transformation manager

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Digital Transformation Manager envisions tech development in her businessIf you’re interested in leading business innovation, then a position as a digital transformation manager may be for you. In this role, you’ll need to hold a global vision of your company, aware of all its elements and functions. As well as understanding the digital efficiency of your company, you’ll need the leadership skills to handle stakeholders, managers, clients and employees, and to push forward your company’s transformation goals. 

Streamline your career trajectory by knowing exactly how to build the skills and expertise needed to become a digital transformation manager. Read our guide on how to become a digital transformation manager. 

What is digital transformation? 

Firstly, what is digital transformation? Digital transformation is the process of aligning an organisation with modern-day needs, applying technology and advanced processes in order to bring the company into the 21st Century. 

In the words of IBM, digital transformation “takes a customer-driven, digital-first approach to all aspects of a business, from its business models to customer experiences to processes and operations.” 

In the transformation stage, digital technologies are implemented strategically, often involving AI, cloud computing, automation and other technologies to create intelligent workflows and leverage data for the future success of the business. 

What are the benefits of digital transformation? 

  • Faster and smarter decision making 
  • Real-time response to market disruptions 
  • New business opportunities
  • Better customer and client experiences 
  • Lower overheads and better management of risk 
  • Competitiveness in a rapidly changing business environment 

What does a digital transformation manager do? 

Like any manager, a digital transformation manager is responsible for leading and strategising on key projects within the company. Within digital transformation specifically, managers will oversee the creation and implementation of a roadmap for digital innovation, in line with the company’s goals and business requirements. 

As a digital transformation specialist, you may: 

  • Design and implement strategies to enhance customers’ and clients’ digital experience 
  • Create strategies to encourage adoption of new technological services and products 
  • Acquire appropriate IT infrastructure, looking at both cost-effectiveness and productivity 
  • Coordinate a plan of action (roadmap) 
  • Build the capacity to analyse and collect new data 
  • Ensure the security of new technologies through the development of cybersecurity protocols 
  • Allocate budget for transformation 

What type of skills does a digital transformation manager need?

In addition to specific digital transformation skills, such as advanced technical competency and digital literacy (including familiarity with programming languages, data analytics, machine learning and digital security), promising candidates must also have managerial abilities and the softer skills involved with people management.  

Key digital transformation manager skills include: 

  • Stakeholder management 
  • Complex product management 
  • Transformation leadership 
  • Business analysis and strategy 
  • Tech and data analysis in consulting 

Besides these advanced skills, a digital transformation manager will also be able to communicate ideas and motivate a team, resilient and responsive to change signals in order to create adaptable business strategies. 

If your skillset does not yet include all the skills listed above, you can focus on gaining them at your current workplace, on a side project, or by taking up a course. 

So, how do I become a digital transformation manager? 

 

Study further to get ahead

Similar to a Chief Information Officer (CIO), a digital transformation manager must not only possess the technical expertise and up-to-date knowledge of software change to address IT needs, but also needs to hold strong business acumen and leadership skills to lead marketing, management and development teams in a time of disruption. 

Such complex workplace requirements mean that businesses have a growing desire to hire dual specialists – those with a technical background and up-to-date business qualifications.  

Tech professionals wishing to pursue managerial jobs (and vice versa) may need to consider enrolling in a postgraduate programme or short course, potentially sponsored by a current employer.  

At Ulster University, we offer distance learning programmes (at various lengths and postgraduate levels) for professionals looking to upskill, with part-time flexibility that allows students to continue working alongside their studies. 

Digital Transformation Manager uses online network to get ahead

Use your network

If you are a technical specialist with few connections at senior levels, you may find it hard to advance, especially so if this is your first step towards a management role. To counter this struggle, you can focus on building your network. 

  • Postgraduate study is a perfect way to quickly build your network, allowing you to work with and get mutual support from like-minded professionals. Ulster University’s online Masters courses provide this opportunity for professionals without the need to take a break from work.  
  • Attend management events (both within and outside of the workplace) and connect authentically with the people whose jobs you covet so you can be ready when a new job opening comes up. 
  • Use LinkedIn to help land your next job. The world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn connects 700 million users from 55 million registered companies worldwide. 

On the Business in Tech MSc, as well as interacting with other tech professionals, you’ll also benefit from the industry connections of our academics, picking up the skills wanted by large organisations and key executives. 

Know where to search for digital transformation jobs

After gaining the skills to become a digital transformation manager, the next step is to know where to go to find suitable positions. Digital transformation jobs are hugely varied depending on the industry and organisation, and the scope will vary too. 

There are technical job sites such as Techojobs, JustIT and TopTechJobs which list managerial roles within tech companies, alongside widely known job portals such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed. 

For digital transformation manager careers outside the traditional set-up, you can also consider applying at start-up companies on dedicated job sites such as WhiteTruffle, Welcome to the Jungle and Dice. 

Consultancy and digital strategy roles may also be in line with your ambitions, alongside areas such as HR digital transformation 

 

Consider the Ulster University Business in Tech MSc 

If you’re thinking about becoming a digital transformation manager – for your own career goals or to address gaps in your workforce – you may now be wondering about upskilling in order to meet job requirements. 

Here at Ulster University, we recognise the demand for tech professionals with business skills. Our latest Masters programme, the online Business in Tech MSc is designed in collaboration with business leaders, striving to provide tech professionals with the relevant knowledge and practical skills needed to lead transformation. 

The full MSc is achievable in two years of part-time study but depending on your individual and workplace needs you could also exit the programme sooner with a postgraduate certificate (PG Cert) in Business Analysis or postgraduate diploma (PG Dip) in Transformation Management and Leadership. 

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