How CIOs can create the IT workforce of the future

Diana Bersohn

Expanding the talent ecosystem

Managing the IT workforce is also more challenging in today's evolving digital enterprises. Globalization of the workforce is creating broad cultural and demographic shifts, leading to a renewed focus on talent diversity. Talent recruitment must appeal to a new breed of IT workers who are drawn to innovation and variety. Their roles must be expanded to encompass business and market-savvy knowledge and experience rather than simply technology development and legacy support skills. Companies need to adapt their brands and "up their game" to attract these very different profiles of talents as the needs of the business change.

As IT workers engage with workforces who are geographically distributed and highly mobile, collaboration is increasingly important. Crowdsourcing with customers and suppliers is among the innovative techniques that should be considered to share ideas.

Transforming the IT workforce

With IT organizations awash in changes driven by digital, CIOs need to question everything about their organization. How is it perceived across the enterprise? Is the organizational structure appropriately responsive to the business? How does it need to change? Does the organization have the right knowledge and skills to be competitive? Answers to those questions can help guide the new IT organization's structure, governance and interaction models to make the best use of skills and capabilities across the ecosystem.

As the IT organization's role is redefined, it should be positioned as one of data stewardship and a driver of critical enterprise technology functions, including business resilience. Ultimately, the CIO needs to construct a workforce, structure and culture that will orchestrate and drive innovation, working across the enterprise to create new technology solutions that enable a richer customer experience and foster business growth.

Shaping an IT workforce to manage and optimize both legacy and new IT services requires a savvy CIO who understands the options that are available while weighing such questions as: How many internal employees are needed and where? How can I structure my organization to flexibly handle peaks and valleys in the workload?

While answering those questions and factoring in ways to accelerate innovation, CIOs need to maintain a focus on legacy systems. That may require reskilling talent, teams and capabilities to create the flexibility and versatility needed to operate in a multispeed IT environment, driving legacy IT functions while creating new innovative IT services that can be brought to market more quickly and help the enterprise realize its potential in the complex and changing digital world.      

Adopting a new IT workforce mindset

Make no mistake; the changes will not be incremental. CIOs will require the following:

  • An assessment of existing IT skills and talent and gap analysis relative to future required skills.
  • A plan to reskill, attract and source talent to ensure the IT organization is poised to meet the demands of the business.
  • New career paths and roles, such as service design strategists or scrum masters who can serve as catalysts for converting traditional analogy approaches to digital ones.
  • Roles that are shared with the business and sourced from the larger ecosystem of talent.

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