Think Strategically: Jennifer Byrne Keynote for Digital Agility Summit

by 

“Technology exists to serve us. It’s a human thing at the end of the day.” This was one of the takeaways from the keynote address by Jennifer Byrne during the virtual Digital Agility Summit on January 20, 2022.

Jennifer Byrne is CEO of Arrived Workforce Connections and previously served as Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft US. Her infusion of innovation practices into Microsoft technical field teams led to high-value, well-publicized digital transformation strategies with top global companies. Much of her work with Arrived Workforce Connections is centered around digital transformation.

She recommended, “Think strategically.” Companies will benefit from taking less time to understand technology and more time understanding the problems you’re trying to solve with technology. “Understand your customers,” she said. “It all comes back to people.”

Get to know the people who will be impacted by the technology. Getting buy-in for technology depends on articulating the “why” of the implementation for different people in the company. Ultimately, they all need a shared understanding and sense of urgency for solving the problem.

One of Byrne’s recollections was dealing with security concerns when companies first started using the cloud. “It was a big conversation back then,” she said. The growth of malware and cyber-attacks have increased phenomenally. While it’s important to develop a secure posture, that business model brings with it a risk-reward question. Byrne described it as a “tricky balance.”  

Byrne explained that every time a company introduces something new, that provides an opportunity to cyber-attackers. Cyber security professionals have limitations and constraints on how they can protect their companies, but cyber-criminals have free rein. “They’re very creative in their tactics and techniques,” Byrne said.

Some other technology features and trends Byrne talked about were:

  • Future of work – Companies and workers will soon settle the question of whether a remote, hybrid or in-office environment will work for them. Unfortunately, the value of chance encounters in the office is lost when working from home. But people will settle into the roles that best suit their needs.
  • Workforce changes – The world is changing, and jobs are shifting. A person’s career can be a series of adventures. Consider: some future jobs haven’t even been invented yet. People can apply their brand to whatever comes next. Many people are in an experimentation phase, and they will need to take responsibility for the outcome of their career decisions.
  • Employers will increasingly consider character and basic skills for job candidates, with tenure becoming less important. Agility, resilience and novel skills will become as valuable as expertise. The mental shift for workers is to decide what’s most important to them, what core principles are vital and what value they can bring to a company.
  • Upskilling and reskilling will be necessary to create a vibrant company culture. It’s important for employees to demonstrate a willingness to learn and be accountable to themselves and others. Companies need to keep in mind that failure is a tricky concept – it’s a learning experience.

The Digital Agility Summit was presented by industry thought-leader Applied Software, with featured sponsors Panzura and Workspot.

With breakout topics ranging from remote workforces and IT infrastructure to machine learning and future trends, the Digital Agility Summit gave business leaders the opportunity to learn real-world ways they can get the most from trends shaping today’s digital transformation.

Contact Applied Software to discover how you can position your company to benefit from digital transformation.