As the ICT and business worlds continue to collide, employers are now looking for professionals who have a foot in each camp.

Recruitment agency Hays has revealed that commercial knowledge is an increasingly valuable commodity for the contemporary ICT professional.

“Advanced digitisation is pushing technology into every corner of the business world and IT professionals should be looking for opportunities to expand their commercial knowledge within the increasingly homogenous corporate space,” said Senior Regional Director at Hays, Adam Shapley.

“By embracing opportunities both inside and outside of their organisation, IT professionals will be able to build their corporate know-how.”

Shapley explains that the process of acquiring this business know-how can vary anywhere from formal training to taking a more proactive approach within an organisation.

He highlighted the importance of looking both within and outside an organisation to help grow business knowledge.

“To increase your knowledge about how your company operates and its objectives, it is helpful to know the company’s core values,” he said.

“Volunteering to attend any all-hands meetings, reading the annual report and getting involved with internal initiatives are great ways to engage with the organisation and its mission, vision and values.

“Look outside of your organisation and be aware of emerging trends in your industry, and identify any gaps in your skill set.

“By reading industry-related news and materials, joining professional associations or industry bodies, enrolling in educational courses and attending networking events can proactively build your broader business knowledge.”

The common characteristics

Hays recently released its DNA of a CIO report, in which it profiled industry leaders to identify common characteristics.

The findings revealed that knowledge beyond the ICT sector was critical.

Of the 250 CIOs interviewed, 25% had a Masters of Business Administration while 20% had a Commerce or Finance degree.

Professional development was also a theme, with 71% of CIOs revealing they had attended a networking event in the past two years.

Showing off knowledge

Whether a CIO or tech support worker, Shapley explains that the application of business knowledge is the most important step in the process.

“Once you have started to build your commercial and corporate knowledge, demonstrate your new skill set proficiently, either during an interview process -- if you decide to apply for external roles -- or every day within your company to improve your internal career opportunities,” he continued.

“Talk about how you worked within your team and collaborated with other non-technical teams to achieve specific business goals.”

Alongside demonstrating collaboration, the importance of applying soft skills was also highlighted.

“To stand out to potential employers, it is pertinent to bolster and demonstrate your soft skill set,” Shapley said.

“To achieve this, try changing your communication style when dealing with different departments, for example, by toning down any unnecessary technical jargon.”