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How CIOs can create the IT workforce of the future

Diana Bersohn | June 26, 2015
Today’s businesses are more dependent on technology than ever. For CIOs this is a change-or-be-changed scenario -- a call to action to guide their businesses and shape the IT workforce.

Today, more than ever, businesses are dependent on technology to drive transformations that are anything but incremental. For CIOs, that means a tremendous opportunity to guide and help their businesses harness technology to realize the multiplier effect that new technologies offer as well as their digital ambitions.

The shape their new IT organization takes will vary based on three factors: innovation, the changing nature of their work and an expanding talent ecosystem.

Evolving innovation ownership

CIOs are in the best position to help their peers across the business select technologies and maximize the benefit that can be gained from them. However, recent Accenture research found that only 34 percent of companies expect the IT organization to be the main generator of innovation, less than half of the 71 percent of two years ago.  

That shift reflects a growing number of "new IT" workers who work across the business, with strong technology acumen and skills that enable innovation to happen with or without the IT organization. For IT leaders, this underscores a need to seek out and orchestrate alliances with peers across the business and to position themselves as innovation "drivers" and architects."

Many CIOs are beginning to embrace this new workforce opportunity, allowing and, in fact, encouraging lines to blur between IT and the business. For instance, an analytics professional may be identified to provide IT support for a digital initiative, thereby forging a partnership with that part of the business while meeting its own needs.

Balancing the new skills trifecta requirements

Business, digital and technology are priorities that must be balanced as the demands of IT evolve from the management of programs and software development to the integration of hybrid technologies, including legacy and cloud, into relevant business services. In today's digital world, technology is increasingly used to enable innovative business products and services. For example, an agricultural business may use sensors and analytics to map data from farmland to improve crop yields or a chemical company might use wireless devices to manage the safety of employees working with hazardous chemicals.

As traditional design, build and run programs morph into service assembly and integration, CIOs must help their IT workforce adapt to new roles as integrators of enterprise systems and processes and as custodians of data, integrity, resilience and consistency.

Upskilling will be needed as the IT workforce shifts its focus to how work is delivered and by whom. Attracting and sourcing new talent will be critical. Additionally, employees will increasingly work alongside intelligent machines, and will need to be trained to successfully collaborate in this way.  

As technology is becoming pervasive, stronger and richer financial analysis and analytics, vendor management and business relationship skills as well as new capabilities associated with digital businesses will be as important as technology acumen in sourcing a new talent set.


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