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CEB: Are you ready for the IT talent crisis?

Most business leaders would agree that they cannot meet their objectives without using technology. What fewer realize is that this means they cannot meet their objectives unless their companies have the right IT talent.

Many companies are facing an IT talent crisis. The way companies use technology to create value is changing fast. As a result, we estimate that 97 percent of roles in IT will undergo change in the next few years. And perhaps most challenging of all, chief information officers will need six new roles that don’t exist today.

The list of roles can seem daunting. The best way to get ahead of the crowd is to develop a strategic workforce plan that lays out which roles are needed in the coming years and describes the necessary development and retention steps. That way companies can retrain their existing employees and stay clear of a job market feeding frenzy as others compete for scarce talent.

So who are you looking for?

1.Collaboration and social media evangelist

The average employee now works with 10 other people on a day-to-day basis, and 50 percent of his or her contribution to company performance comes from collaboration. The bad news for IT is that 65 percent of employees are dissatisfied with the collaboration tools IT provides.

The new collaboration and social media role will help fix this shortfall. The role will understand how and why employees collaborate and use this knowledge to create a collaboration and social media strategy. The role will be hard to fill as there is a lot of competition, particularly from marketing organizations. Candidates for the role will have backgrounds rarely seen in IT today, such as marketing, communications and behavioral sciences, such as anthropology or organizational psychology.

2.Information insight enabler

Information insight enablers will help business leaders and frontline employees to derive greater insight from management reports. More than 60 percent of employees lack the skills and judgment to use data effectively for decision making, so insight enablers will need to act as coaches not just technologists. Many candidates will have experience in market or financial research, or in analytics and statistics.

3.Cloud integration specialist

In 2014, more than 80 percent of companies will use software-
­as-a-service. The idea of simply subscribing to new software “in the cloud” is appealing, but it almost always still needs to talk to other applications. This is where cloud integration specialists come in. They will apply their experience in developing integration solutions to help connect cloud and on-premise systems. As such, they have the most traditional IT background of the six roles.

4.User experience guru

In the past, most IT systems automated the core processes that employees used to do their job. For example, finance employees had to use the company’s finance systems, regardless of how bad the user experience was. Today, companies spend more on productivity tools for collaboration, analytics and mobility than they do on process automation. And when it comes to productivity, employees have a choice. They can reject badly designed tools, or find an alternative from companies, such as Apple, who helped write the book on usability. So when it comes to usability, IT has to raise its game.

As the name suggests, user experience gurus will work with frontline employees to understand and improve the user experience for applications provided by IT. These roles will be in very high demand.

5. Technology broker

For every dollar spent by CIOs on IT in 2013, the rest of the business spent 40 cents. In years past, this business-led or “shadow IT” spending might have paid for a rogue development team or unofficial hardware. Today, it is more likely to be spent with a cloud provider or other third parties. IT cannot stop this trend but it can help ensure the money is spent wisely. Technology brokers will become experts in a specific part of the market and provide buying advice and negotiating support to technology buyers within and beyond IT. Some brokers will have a sales or business development background, others will come from procurement or have experience managing IT providers.

6. End-to-end IT service manager

More than 50 percent of IT organizations are experimenting with end-to-end IT services as a way to increase flexibility while remaining efficient. The linchpin of the services model is the service manager. Service managers are senior roles with experience in areas such as service delivery, business engagement, and technology sales and marketing. They usually also have financial skills. All-in-all, these are not run-of-the-mill IT jobs and most companies will only hire a handful.

Andrew Horne is a managing director of CEB’s CIO Leadership Council, an advisory group serving chief information officers at some of the world’s largest corporations.

» Andrew Horne is a managing director of CEB’s CIO Leadership Council, an advisory group serving chief information officers at some of the world’s largest corporations.



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