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Explaining the shortage of IT professionals

Jonas Lim, Director, Solution Engineering (Asia), Salesforce | March 22, 2016
Jonas Lim of Salesforce discusses digital business transformation across three areas - business strategy, people, and technology - as highlighted in the Salesforce State of IT.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

As Singapore continues on its Smart Nation drive, it is set to face a massive shortage of IT professionals. It is reported that by 2017, Singapore may lack nearly 30,000 IT professionals. This talent crunch is partly due to the shortage of people with relevant skill sets, which could be attributed to the expanding role and responsibilities of IT in businesses.

In order to stay ahead of the digital era and evolving customer expectations, today's IT teams have to lead strategic innovation. Salesforce recently conducted a global study to examine the fundamental shift underway in how CIOs and other IT leaders drive strategy and run their organisations. In this part of the world, 60% of the APAC top 1000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017, according to IDC.

With digital business transformation comes a fundamental change in the way leadership views, structures, and runs businesses. Let us examine these shifts across three key areas - business strategy, people, and technology - as discussed in the Salesforce State of IT report.

1. Digital Strategy Transformation

Successful IT teams must be proactive, aligned with customer needs, and on top of digital trends. They are looked upon as innovation leaders and digital experts. To keep pace with changing technology and customer behavior, business strategies must now be seamlessly knitted with digital strategies that address not only the web but also mobile, social and beyond. The movement toward a more customer-centric mindset in IT is reflected in what companies spend on. Majority of top IT teams are expanding focus on mobile and customer-facing apps. The digital journey is transforming the way customers get introduced to and engage with brands. Singaporean shoppers, for example, are forward-looking customers that embrace technology and openly shop from their mobile phones.

The reality is this - customers now interact with brands through multiple communication channels and devices. The role of CIOs is thus extended beyond managing technical operations, and now includes planning an all-round digital strategy that encompasses the entire customer journey. To address these demands, many companies have started employing Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) to manage comprehensive changes surrounding everything from updating how a company works to transforming its products and services to the digital platform.

2. Widening IT Skills Gap

As customer and employee expectations change, so do the necessary skills and talents needed to exceed them. There is a widening skills gap between demand and talent, compounded by changing budget needs. Despite the increase in skills upgrading programs like SkillsFuture, introduced by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the growing skill gap will take time to close. As many as one-third of IT leaders, according to the State of IT report, struggle to keep skills current with emerging tech and trends, citing this as a top pain point. IT leaders work to bridge the divide by ramping up training and development.


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