Sep 29, 2021 

Enterprise Tech

In The Digital Skills Pipeline, A Shift Away From Traditional Hiring Modes

Digital transformation, in all its many forms, is here, and everybody want in. Executives are throwing money at it, and are ready to throw even more. But whoever leads it or participate in it needs to know what’s going on, both with the business, and what technologies make sense. Where will we find such people? 

That’s the question raised in a report released by Alliantgroup, which finds C-suite executives are anxious to move quickly into digital, but need help. Their top concern, cited by 42%, is gaining access to more talent. In addition, 31% said not hiring the right talent was one of the biggest mistakes they made when undergoing a digital transformation project. 

Although 24% said they plan to invest in the community or STEM education programs to fill their technical talent pipeline, these hiring pushes will not be immediate. 

There’s somewhat of a silver lining to the Covid crisis in this regard. Companies looking for talent can go to places beyond the traditional tech centers such as the San Francisco Bay Area or Seattle. ‘C-suite executives are now aligning their hiring priorities with more significant migration trends in the US following the shift to remote work, the report’s authors state. Respondents noted finding skilled talent as the number one area that will accelerate digital transformation at 42%, in addition to the top action of expanding tech talent recruiting to outside typical high-tech regions (e.g., San Francisco, New York, and Austin) at 30%. A quarter, 25%, even reported opening up offices in these non-high-tech locations to support their initiatives. 

Still, the talent marketplace has been going through a dramatic shift, which may upend the traditional arrangements seen between employers and professionals. “As digital transformation accelerates and we

experience generational shifts, professionals will increasingly desire better work-life balance and freedom from legacy in-office models,” says Saum Mathur, chief product, technology and AI officer with Paro. “Consultancies and others that are reliant on legacy models are struggling to adapt to this new reality, and marketplaces are only furthering these models’ disruption. Three to five years ago, the gig economy pioneers offered customers finite, task-based services that didn’t require extensive experience and enabled flexible scheduling. With continued shifts in the technical and cultural landscape, the gig economy has been extended into professional services, which is powered by highly experienced subject matter experts of all levels.” 

Corporate culture needs to be receptive to the changes wrought by digital transformation. Forty-one percent of executives in the Alliantgroup survey have encountered employee resistance, while 32$ say they have had “the wrong team or department overseeing initiatives.” One-third report there is “too much red tape to innovate successfully.” Another 26% even admitted their company culture doesn’t embrace change.

The money is flowing. Half (50%) of the C-suite executives surveyed have budgeted up to nearly $5 million in digital transformation for the next two years, while one quarter (25%) have budgeted between $1 million to just below $5 million. Two-thirds of C-suite executives, 65%, report having between one and four digital transformation projects to be completed in the next two years, a sizable percentage. 

At the same time, 15% had no idea whether any digital transformation projects would be completed. To fill this gap, 38% of C-suite executives said they are prioritizing investment in vendors or third parties to implement new technologies and enable their digital transformation efforts over the next two years. 

Machines may come to the rescue. With talent hard to come by, and organizational forces potentially inhibiting digital transformation, it may take automation to achieve automation. “Enterprises need to free their developers to do what they do best – innovate and write cool code,” says Stephen DeWitt, CEO at CloudBees. “That’s what they want to do and it’s what you want them to be doing. If they are mired in manual processes and infrastructure maintenance, they will get bored, frustrated and leave you. And, they are very expensive to replace. When that happens, you end up with open requirements for new hires and competing for talent in a highly competitive market.” 

“Are the tools you’re using given your employees opportunities to learn and grow? Are they giving teams the intelligent insights into operational and delivery efficiency to help reduce cost and enable innovation?” DeWitt points to cloud resources as the way organizations can address these concerns. “When systems are intelligent — that is that they have learned, via machine learning — to be responsive to environments, they can identify and even act to eliminate much of the hassle and toil that sucks up so much of developer and IT time.”