In its latest ICT Leaders Series report on its survey, canvassing CIOs in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, global talent solutions and recruitment company, Hudson, says many of today’s CIOs are turning to what it calls ‘new world’ technologies to find more flexible and cost effective ways to help drive innovation and productivity.
By way of example, Hudson says that 43 percent of the respondents’ organisations are using the Cloud to deliver services, and this requires a different set of skills than a traditional IT environment.
According to Martin Retschko, Hudson ICT National Practice Director, today’s CIOs are faced with a range of challenges including budgetary pressures, a rapidly changing technology and digital landscape, and new operating models, and he says “there has been a seismic shift away from operationally-focused IT functions to business technology teams who work with the organisation to drive business outcomes.”
Feedback from the Hudson survey indicated that the requirements of IT professionals are changing, with the need for them to be able to adapt to a constantly changing technology environment, embrace employee demands, negotiate and manage partnerships and projects, manage services and provide advice that supports business aspirations. “They need to effectively engage with their organisation and articulate what is required to achieve buy-in to succeed,” Retschko said.
“Ultimately the success of an organisation’s IT function comes down to the quality of its people and never before has the pressure to acquire the right people been greater. These trends are prompting a rethink about skills requirements and hiring policies of many of the CIOs. In the war for talent, CIOs must either adapt or risk falling behind.”
With the right skills increasingly harder to find, combined with the need for leaner teams and flatter structures, the Hudson says that it is critical for CIOs to spend more time finding and managing the best talent, and that IT decision-makers need to continuously assess whether they are adapting quickly enough to have the right people in the right jobs at the right time.
“More than ever before, today’s CIOs need to work closer with human resources to identify where the skills gaps are and find the right workers to fill those gaps. Attracting and retaining talent is now as much part of the CIO’s role as technical skills,” Retschko says.
Hudson also suggests ways for CIOs to address staffing challenges, include closely monitoring graduate programmes, mapping the competition to find out where the best performers are going and building a talent pipeline. “To help retain staff IT leaders need to focus on workplace culture to achieve this and competitive advantage.”
Hudson also found that CIOs interviewed understood the crucial difference between filling a vacancy and evaluating candidates to identify high performers, and Retschko said many had identified core performance drivers beyond pure technical skills and deploy techniques such as job trials, intelligence and personality testing, and behaviourally based interviewing. “Motivational and behavioural attributes are better predictors of high performance and should be focused on as part of any recruitment process,” Retschko concluded.
According to Garry Whatley, Vice President of IT and Business Services, Corporate Express Australia, if CIOs “fight the trend of consumer technology coming into the business then IT becomes the gate-keeper.”
“CIOs who see this as their role will become the Chief Infrastructure Officers and will be measured on how they manage costs. Alternatively, CIOs can tackle the challenge and focus on their role as business enablers.”
Hudson also found that more than half of organisations (52%) provide flexible working arrangements for some employees and just over a third (38%) have introduced a flexible device usage policy, while almost two-thirds of organisations use social media as a promotional tool, which Retschko says “is increasingly being used as an internal communications tool.”
Trends in Cloud computing and social media were generally viewed as beneficial, with 54 percent of respondents stating productivity was enhanced, while 57 percent felt that innovation was also improving.
And, more than half – 52 percent - of respondents say they bring their own smartphone to work, while 24 percent bring their own tablet, which Hudson says has implications for asset management and security.