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The race for tech talent isn’t a marathon, it’s a sprint

Diana Bersohn | April 5, 2016
A recent survey from Accenture Strategy reveals that CIOs believe they need to win the war for talent to secure a competitive advantage. Not only must they find workers with the right skills, they need to find them fast.

IT and the business are in a tug-of-war for technology talent

As the lines between business and technology blur in today’s digital world, the business and functional areas (e.g. marketing and operations) are increasingly focused on digital innovation and solutions. They hire digital and technology talent to create solutions, leading to larger footprints of technology workers outside of the traditional IT organization. More than half of Accenture Strategy survey respondents (55 percent) said that some technology work is performed outside of the IT organization.

In response, CIOs should consider collaborating with business leaders to manage technology talent across the enterprise. The IT organization should stand out as a strategic, innovative arm of the business—not just a back-office function. Changing ingrained perceptions about IT requires CIOs to concentrate on business-focused technology.

Furthermore, the business as a whole must refresh its brand to attract the digital talent of the future. Many businesses have been focused on external digital transformation to improve the customer experience. But how can the business show that it is digital inside? What types of experiences can you promise new digital-savvy workers — collaborative environments that are digitally enabled? Flat hierarchies that cut bureaucracy and speed the lifecycle of ideas to innovation? More than 40 percent of businesses we surveyed are using flexible work arrangements, social media and revitalizing their brand to appeal to the new workforce.

The digital curve has many twists and turns

Digital is not only transforming businesses, digital itself is evolving daily with new breakthroughs in emerging technologies. One way for businesses to keep up with, or better yet, stay ahead of the digital curve, is to work with universities to influence content and provide the right training to shape skills in potential employees early on.

Many companies are getting involved by teaching at universities or advising on curricula. In some cases, businesses are engaging with students even earlier, working with high schools to influence what is taught, or offer internship opportunities.

Relationships with providers are changing

Finding the right talent who can operate effectively within the organization and partner in the broader ecosystem, is critical to the IT organization’s future. As many companies change the way they use providers, some are previously outsourced work back in house. In fact, 60 percent of organizations expect to perform more technology work in house.

In many instances, these are knee-jerk reactions based on a heightened level of discomfort with the amount of work that was being performed outside their IT shop. In other cases, companies have pulled work in-house to revisit how they manage provider relationships and establish a more effective model.

CIOs need to take a broad look at the work that needs to be done and evaluate what functions are core to what the technology group does; what are the generic activities that can be cost-effectively managed via a service provider; and how can they improve their provider relationship governance so they achieve desired outcomes. Once CIOs have segmented the work that way, they should develop a sourcing strategy that defines how service providers will be used and what mechanisms they will need to achieve results.

 

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