The rapid pace of technology change isn’t slowing. Neither is the demand for talented IT professionals to support advancements such as virtualization, the cloud, service management and a focus on information management and collaboration. However, these advancements are creating the need for new roles that will become essential for IT departments to keep pace with the growing list of critical business projects they support.
Here are six new IT roles for 2015 and advice on how to find talent to fill them.
1. Collaboration and Social Media Evangelist
There are plenty of opportunities for collaboration, both internally and with customers and partners, but most organizations just aren’t good at it right now. With the growing digitization of business, this role will be responsible for understanding how and why employees collaborate and developing a collaboration and social media strategy.
Candidates for this role will have backgrounds not typical in IT today, such as marketing, communications and even behavioral sciences like anthropology or organizational psychology.
2. Technology Broker
The ubiquitous nature of affordable, easy-to-use cloud-based apps has led to an influx of this type of technology. IT has traditionally made all technology purchase decisions and developed specific vendor relationships. But other stakeholders within organizations from marketing to finance has the ability to buy apps they feel will benefit their group, leaving IT out of the buying decision process all together.
A technology broker role provides buying advice and negotiating support to divisions across a company to make sure purchasing decisions are sound and that technology’s compatible with existing systems. Some brokers will have a sales or business development background, others will come from procurement or have experience managing IT providers. But all will need to help others within the company make informed decisions based on previous experience and best practices.
3. Information Insight Enabler
Most organizations have an abundance of information, reports and statistics, but aren’t using that effectively to drive business and strategic decisions. An information insight enabler role is a type of big data guru who can act as a coach, and not just a technologist, to help business leaders and front-line employees to derive greater insight from management reports.
Candidates will have experience in market research or financial research, or in analytics and statistics.
4. User Experience Guru
One of the major obstacles to adoption for traditional enterprise software is poor user experience. A lot of legacy enterprise tech just isn’t user-friendly, and people won’t use something that’s poorly designed or complex. User experience gurus will help employees will find a more usable alternatives for collaboration that can also be supported by IT instead of purchased and operated separately for a specific department or segment of an organization.
5. Cloud Integration Specialist
As cloud usage increases, so does the number of business leaders purchasing their own applications and software packages. The purchases often don’t consider integration and compatibility issues with existing enterprise systems, and that can mean major business headaches for the IT group.
A cloud integration specialist is dedicated to navigating these coordination and integration issues as well as managing and educating purchasers and users on compatibility and on working with vendors to ask the right questions. Because of their need to understand both back-end systems and new, cloud-based technologies, candidates for this role will have the most traditional IT background of these six roles.
6. End-to-End IT Service Manager
The concept of IT-as-a-service requires a role that integrates business, information and technology to create end-to-end IT services that increase flexibility while maintaining efficiency. So an end-to-end IT service manager will be able to bring together all the technology, data, support, applications, and strategy in order to provide seamless solutions with flexibility, responsiveness and efficiency. Candidates for this role will have senior level experience with service delivery, business engagement, and technology sales and marketing.
A Growing Talent Crisis
Some say the war for IT talent rages on. Others concede that it’s over, and the talent won, since the best IT professionals command premium compensation these days. In any case, as technology changes, so do the skills, knowledge and job roles needed to design, build, implement and manage these cutting-edge technologies. But most IT organizations aren’t poised to develop new roles from their existing workforce or recruit new talent for the challenges ahead.
According to a report by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a member-based advisory and consulting company, almost 80 percent of IT organizations don’t provide training, coaching or education for skills they expect will increase in importance, and 61 percent don’t have skills forecasts for IT as a whole.
Creating a Workforce Plan
CEB advises IT leaders to develop a workforce plan that takes into account the future roles, skills, competencies needed in the long run. The plan should drive hiring managers to be more selective when pursuing new employees. It may also involve changing value propositions, increasing compensation rates, employee benefits and perks.
To read more about the CEB’s advice on workforce planning, see their complete comments on CIO.com.