Talent is the heart of our digital transformation journey

Talent is the heart of our digital transformation journey

This is the fourth piece in a series of blogs by Phuah Aik Chong, Astro Chief Technology Officer

In past months I have shared with you progress on the exciting transformation journey that Astro is undertaking. In this article, I will be sharing how we are organising and upskilling our talents to transform Astro into a Digital, Cloud, Mobile First and Analytics Driven company.

As with any organisation that undertakes a large-scale transformation, we realise that we must reconfigure as an organisation in a range of different ways in order to meet the demands of this New World Order. Across all levels of the organisation, our talents are expected to undergo substantial change, and we are providing equal opportunities for everyone to reskill, upskill, learn and re-learn. Our approach is to firstly consider what strengths we can build on, and our weaknesses that we need to address and to close the gaps within each pillar. We have organised our efforts in 3 key imperatives:

Learning, Culture and Organisation.

To ensure Astrolites have the right skills not just for this month or this year, we need to understand what our target future state or target operating model looks like. The logic being that if we know where we want to get to, then we can equip our talents with the right skills. However, the target state itself is constantly evolving with the fast pace of technological changes, thus we will need a two-pronged learning approach in order to keep up.

On one hand, our talents will need to be equipped with advanced and specialist skills in areas like Cloud Architecture, DevOps, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics, Cyber Security and so on. They need these skills now for projects that are underway. On the other hand, we need to equip our talents with broad skills that will help us develop a culture of constant learning. This way they will be ready for today, and at the same time be enabled to continuously learn new technologies coming our way in the future.

With these objectives in mind, we worked with the AWS Professional Services team to develop a Certified Technology Professional (CTP) program. The CTP is a programmatic way of creating a culture of technology and transformation excellence within the Astro workforce. It has the added benefit of providing our talents with new skills that will allow them to deliver on the company’s long-term technology transformation vision.

The CTP is designed with four distinct levels of expertise. Our team will go through a combination of classroom training, interactive workshops, hands on labs, on the job learning, and AWS certification assessment. By designing training that is not just limited to the classroom, we ensure that the knowledge gained is immediately put into practice via hands on labs and workshops which then gets turned into real-world experience with on the job training. This is also one of the avenues for continuous development of the techies in the company, including me.

As the organisation changes, and people being upskilled, the organisation’s culture plays an important part in the transformation journey. Specifically, as the organisation moves to building a great customer experience that is enabled by technology, the technical teams need to move from a traditional model into one that is responsive to customer needs and closely aligned with the business. A key component of this culture is Agile.

I think it is not a surprise to anyone that traditional waterfall methods fail to keep up with rapidly evolving business needs. An iterative approach is necessary for a digital transformation programme. At Astro, we are big believers in building products using Agile development methodologies. We are not just stopping at adopting Agile for software development, but extending its adoption into our Business Units, Project Management and Product Development teams.

While this is something that we are still ramping up throughout the organisation, where we have adopted Agile practices we find that we are more responsive and getting closer to our end customer needs. We are able to understand them better and provide a greater customer experience.

In addition to Agile, we are enhancing our hiring processes to bring in top talents to continue building a strong software engineering core internally to bring back application development in-house so that we have better control of our own destiny. We are further adopting Lean methodologies across the organisation through our Certified Innovator Program.

We are working hard to foster a culture where Innovation is at our heart and one where we encourage our fellow Astrolites to experiment often. The early results of this transformation in our culture are promising – we have seen a number of great ideas surfacing from our recent internal ideation contest Spark Space.

The last piece of the puzzle for us is how we re-organise our resources and reduce the duration and complexity of our internal processes. Even if we have the right culture and the right learning programme, we still have to ensure that we have the right organisation structure that enables collaboration, and that legacy processes are re-engineered or removed totally.

The technology industry is moving towards enabling closer interaction between Developers, IT Infrastructure/Architecture Teams, Operations teams and most importantly, our customers. This way of working is commonly referred to as DevOps. DevOps requires tools, processes and the right organisational model for it to be successful. Where it makes sense, we are getting Developers, IT Architects, and Operations teams to work together in the same scrum team. They need to work, eat and drink together!

Along with reorganising our teams, we are reviewing legacy processes and introducing automation wherever possible. We are optimising or getting rid of old processes to remove friction from the organisation. Our goal is to streamline processes as much as possible so that they are an enabler of collaboration rather than an inhibitor.

Transitioning into the desired tech organisational structure, combined with process re-engineering, the adoption of Agile, and training have already started to show positive results. With time, we expect to be able to continue improving the velocity of our product release cycle while ensuring they are built with the goal of delighting our customers.

At the start of our digital transformation, we knew that our talent would be a key component in determining how successful we are on the journey. This is and will continue to remain a key area of investment for us.

We welcome those who are interested in joining Astro on its exciting journey! (please contact me at [email protected] for an opportunity.

Click here to read previous blog entries.