IT's evolving role spans security, insight, and talent development.
Editor’s note: This column, adapted with permission from IDG Connect, offers observations on how changing times are widening the scope of technology careers in financial services and other business sectors.
I meet a lot of people in different walks of IT and, as is the nature of the business, they usually have some challenge or another on the blend that needs addressing. I often find myself asking the same question: “Does this require a new role?” Some meet this question with derision—with far too many Super Data Ninjas out there already, there is no need to open the flood gates to more. Others, though, feel that the rapid pace of change means whole departments need restructuring and new roles need creating.
We’ve seen the rise of the chief information security officer in the wake of massive security breaches and proposals for a chief “Internet of Things (IoT)” officer to address the increased emphasis on connected devices. What might 2017 bring? We asked industry professionals to propose the new job titles they think could emerge.
Chief Data Officer
Suggested by Stan Christaens, CTO, Collibra
“Traditionally, organizations have tackled data problems by assigning a small team within the IT department to ‘clean’ the data. This choice was an historical consequence of the fact that this same IT department had built and managed the underlying data infrastructure since the beginning. Many organizations have managed to escape this tradition and learned that data problems are actually rooted in a business problem. Therefore, data governance is increasingly being driven by strong business, strategic and operational opportunities rather than by data infrastructure limitations.
“The CDO is an executive level role organizationally sanctioned to establish a data strategy and empower data citizens through a collaboration platform that changes the way business is done. The CDO does not replace the existing data managers and their governance mechanisms but rather enhances their effectiveness by empowering them. By doing so, their success is amplified and noticed by other executive leaders. In turn, this generates an overall belief that data is a core value rather than a mere by-product.
The CDO builds organizational capacity for long-term, data-driven business strategy and innovation. Its office can be held accountable for failure as well as success and, through systematic demonstration of the latter through a data collaboration platform, eventually engender trust in data for the entire organization and beyond.”
Digital Training Officer
Suggested by Keith Tilley, EVP, Global Sales & Customer Services, Sungard Availability Services
“Operating across the entire business, the DTO role would be responsible for upskilling employees in the digital technologies. DTOs would be tasked with training the workforce to get the most out of the latest digital tools—from social platforms such as Yammer, through to more complex, divisional specific applications, such as the sales team’s mobile CRM.
“As digital technologies continue to evolve at an astonishing rate, keeping an organization competitive requires continuous training. A successful DTO should be forward-thinking and adaptable, able to anticipate training needs not simply for today, but also for tomorrow. Our recent global research found that having the right technical skills and receiving the right training were named as the two biggest challenges hindering digital transformation for employees across the world. It’s clear that businesses need to invest not only in the tools that encourage innovation but also the support for the staff who use them.”
Suggested by Mary Worthington, information and cybersecurity specialist, Sanderson Recruitment
“We’ve seen a sharp rise in organizations asking for someone with a blend of technical and broader business knowledge. This includes the ability to interact with and influence multiple stakeholders. The old world of ‘IT geeks’ has given way to a new breed of cybersecurity specialists. They’re great communicators and strategists, with the ability to inspire co-workers and change how a business operates.
“The candidates who get the best results are passionate about this area outside of the workplace and have pushed themselves to gain extra qualifications and skills. They’re active on forums and attend networking events and expositions. But as demand is pushed, finding these individuals becomes harder and recruiting them requires insight and expertise.”
Chief Insight Officer
Suggested by Robin Collyer, marketing and decisioning specialist, Pegasystems
“This year will see the emergence of the chief insight officer and a much-needed collaboration across departments to drive business optimization and meaningful relationships with customers. Organizations are collecting mountains of data on customers. The old adage of data into insight into action is being turned on its head as real-time analytics enables organizations to reimagine the interactions with individual customers. Now it’s outcomes/actions driving insight, driving data. These insight roles will be elevated to the C-suite to form a longer lasting part of the business.”
Suggested by Paul Haydock, CEO, DueCourse
“One of the biggest challenges that small businesses face is hiring. Small and mid-sized enterprises in high growth mode need someone focused on looking for exceptional talent, given the hypercompetitive nature of the market. Too many subject matter experts are reactive when it comes to recruitment and only start looking when the need is critical, leading to a ‘panic buy’ situation.
“The fastest and most common way to hire is by using traditional recruitment agencies or HR teams, which are often both no-go options for SMEs due to high costs and their less-than-ideal reliance on CVs. We favor a new approach to hiring as part of the overall business strategy. We created the new role of talent director to take a humanistic approach to sourcing and hiring new talent. Our talent director seeks out the very best people from the very best places without focusing on CVs or past education. Instead, he assesses each candidate’s talents, skills and personality, which he learns about through informal, face-to-face meetings as opposed to focusing on the number of years’ experience they have or the quality of their education. This is especially great for the tech industry, as it’s almost impossible to judge a developer’s skills and talents from a CV or straightforward interview.”
Digital Transformation Officer
Suggested by David Benjamin, GM/SVP, Box
“The DTO’s responsibility will be to help employees navigate workplace transformation so that as work continues to change, the tools that help us get our work done will do so too. In particular, the DTO will increasingly be focused on aligning the needs of the chief digital officer, the chief security officer and the chief information officer so that collectively the enterprise can capitalize on the promising changes taking place in technology today.”