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Hot IT titles: Hybrids in high demand

Stephanie Wilkinson | April 9, 2013
Job hunters, take note: Companies are seeking IT pros who can speak tech and business with equal ease.

"Through his leadership and the implementation of these processes, he got them on board and turned them around," Flicker says. "Their response time is so good now, I'd put them up against any in the world."

Chief Knowledge Officer

When David Rosensaft began putting together the team for his brand-new business, he too recognized the need for a high-level business-tech hybrid position. His company, Universal Medical Access, was officially funded six months ago and is developing a data-intensive integrated online service to improve healthcare delivery. His management team is made up of eight individuals with deep prior experience in their respective fields -- "we're all gray-haired gurus," he says -- who function collegially, regardless of title.

In addition to a CIO and several CTOs, CEO Rosensaft opened up a slot for a chief knowledge officer. The CKO works closely with the CIO but reports directly to Rosensaft.

"We needed someone who had enough experience with the medical field and a high degree of expertise in technology so he could help us be oriented both ways -- facing in and facing out," Rosensaft says. The CKO, he adds, should be "someone who understands how to cooperate with outside entities and then can help us deploy that knowledge in all parts of the organization."

Rosensaft is optimistic that the CKO title will become more popular. "Right now, I'm not sure there's a standard definition," he says. "But it's been around since the early days of Microsoft and Apple. [Former Microsoft CTO] Nathan Myhrvold was basically a CKO. As companies embrace the network effects of technology, the CKO will be a more and more standard role, rather than just a buzzword. If you're a knowledge-based organization developing technology that requires profound domain expertise, you need this title in your operation."

Application Business Analyst

Not all of the hot job titles are positioned at the thin-air heights of the org chart. When Steve Hyde became CIO of Alta Resources in Nina, Wis., 15 months ago, he opened up a new midlevel position in the customer care company's 70-person IT group: application business analyst.

"When I came here, I noticed that each part of the business -- HR, finance, IT -- managed its own technology," Hyde says. "People were doing their own upgrades that ended up being incompatible with the infrastructure. They didn't necessarily know what was available in the market or what questions to ask a vendor."

The new application business analyst will work with the business teams on current and future processes, looking at what canned software packages are available and making sure what's chosen meets functional and business needs. He or she will bridge the gap that exists between IT and the functional units, Hyde says.


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