Investing in digital transformation technologies can be a waste of money if your company forgets one important point. That point is, no matter how cutting edge the tech or tool may be, people are needed with specific technical expertise in order to derive true business value from these investments.

Unlike large enterprises, mid-market companies often try to find this expertise in their IT manager, hoping a jack-of-all-trades approach will take care of it. This is an unfortunate mistake, since it would require the IT manager to have unusual command over a long laundry list of duties, from data integration, ingestion, and preparation to data security, regulatory compliance, data science, and building pipelines of data ready for executive reporting from multiple cloud and on-premises environments. This is not just a tall order for a mid-market IT manager to pull off, but likely an impossible one.

Overwhelmed IT worker at a computer late in the evening

At the same time, it’s unreasonable to expect that most mid-market firms can hire an entire division of data experts—who each need to be highly compensated—in order to achieve the organization’s digital transformation goals. Even if a mid-market player could afford it—which is unlikely to make economic sense—these talent resources are scarce and in high demand.

If you’re still wondering whether your IT manager’s skill set, leveraged by your in-house IT technicians, can properly run the gamut required to achieve value from your data technology investments, consider that the person in this position would need the ability to master a wide range of skill sets, from cloud architecture, database engineering, and master data management to data quality, data profiling, and data cleansing. More specifically, your IT manager would need to take on five additional specialized roles for technical talent that are critical for achieving value from data technology investments.

These roles are:

Chief Data Officer/Chief Digital Officer

A chief data officer (CDO) is focused on—you got it—data. Most mid-market companies understandably don’t have a CDO, which means they don’t have anyone who assures regulatory compliance for data handling while managing and exploiting information assets, reducing uncertainty and risk, and applying data and analytics to drive cost optimization and revenue objectives. For IT managers to fulfill a CDO role, they’d have to be equipped to bring a global perspective to company data, help their organization gain competitive advantage over peers, and manage data and analytics. They’d also need the ability to secure data, transform it into valuable business information, lead digital transformation initiatives, and use data for growth and operational efficiency.

Cloud Engineer

The primary job of a cloud engineer is to keep cloud data centers operational and secure for ecosystem users to be able to store and access their data. Cloud engineers are experts in minimizing downtime, managing access to data, managing compute and storage, and setting up cloud architectures for clients, tenants, and containers. They also monitor data center hardware, servers, networks, and communications systems for operational continuity and efficiency.

Data Security Expert

Mid-market firms also need a way to channel the talents of a data security expert, CISO, or cybersecurity director to ensure cyber-security for the company’s data. Data security experts must keep current on emerging threats while executing data security strategies to fend off and remediate attacks. This involves a wide range of duties, including working closely with the IT team to run the company’s Security Operations Center (SOC), constantly monitoring servers, networks, and workstations for security threats, and staying up to date on the changing compliance laws and regulations for the business, to name a few.  While larger IT teams have bandwidth to fill cybersecurity needs inhouse, many midmarket IT teams do not have capacity for the 24/7/365 monitoring and security edits needed to thwart attacks, let alone bandwidth for executing on mitigation and response strategies needed to overcome them.

Data Engineer

A data engineer’s primary job is to prepare data for analysis or operational uses, which involves integrating data from different sources, as well as implementing and executing data profiling, cleansing, transforming, and normalizing data. Data engineers also work with data in motion and use master data management to ensure data consistency across an organization. Finally, a data engineer is your go-to technical resource for database construction and management, helping to optimize the company’s data ecosystem.

Data Scientist

It should be clear now why a mid-market IT manager should not be expected to take on these additional professional roles, but in case there’s any doubt, keep in mind that a data scientist is also needed. Data scientists develop algorithms and leverage deep learning models to analyze data with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The data scientist creates the “brain” of the data analytics solution to position it for providing accurate answers based on business information. Data scientists also mine data to find opportunities for business growth and efficiency. Ideally, the data scientist uses tools that enable non-technical business users to query data sets without having to write SQL or other code.

Master of One

If you’ve correctly determined that your mid-market IT department does not have enough time to absorb these data roles into their regular duties of keeping your company systems stable and responding to help desk tickets from your team, don’t despair. There’s a viable solution for mid-market businesses with this dilemma: they can partner with data experts who provide a side-by-side model coupling technology with talent. This allows the mid-market to efficiently compete, leveraging the necessary skillsets to achieve digital transformation success.

What does successful mid-market digital transformation require? The key is to have a cloud-based data center, a cloud native data management platform, and cloud native analytics, thus shifting the burden of procuring and maintaining the infrastructure to a third-party vendor in the data industry. Instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel in house, mid-market players should ensure they’re partnered with the right infrastructure to maximize the data-center capabilities, and data storage and management, for effective digital transformation.

Mid-market firms can gain the benefits of working with a wide range of experts including cloud engineers, data engineers, security experts, data scientists, and other highly skilled technical resources if they establish a partnership with a data platform company. By opting for this type of side-by-side expert help, the mid-market can achieve true business value—without needing to hire an entire data team.