CIOs cry out for business sense

Chief Information Officers (CIO) are crying out for IT analysts and architects with business sense in the face of a looming skills shortage, according to a report from recruitment firm Hudson ICT.

The report, which examined the case studies of CIOs around Australia and New Zealand, found that “while technical and vendor-specific skills seem plentiful, strategic and conceptually oriented skills” were in short supply.

“CIOs uniformly report a need for staff with skills in business analysis, enterprise and solutions architecture, and project management,” the report reads.

“They want employees who can ask the right questions of a project business sponsor to deliver projects fully and efficiently.”

According to Hudson ICT, the shortage for these particular skills has grown out of reinstated projects following the economic downturn, and has led to some companies offering up to 100 per cent increases on contract rates in order to attract required personnel.

“Now that we are in recovery, reinstated ICT spending is exacerbating the difficulty of finding the people to deliver on a growing wave of projects,” Hudson ICT national practice director, Martin Retschko, wrote in the report.

“However, the ‘issue’ of skills shortages in the ICT sector is far more complex than simply a lack of headcount to cover increasing volumes of work.

“It is becoming clear that a lack of specific skills in the workforce to handle an increasingly diverse project portfolio is as crippling as a lack of headcount,” he added.

While demand for Java and .NET developers continues to rise, the report found that the market has not shortage of these skills and CIOs are not worried about finding the right person for those specific roles. However, CIOs were looking specifically to hire those that could marry ICT and business skills as a way of delivering value out of ICT projects.
The requirement is one ICT companies have discussed for some time. However, the combination with a shortage of other skills means “the real crisis for CIOs may be only just unfolding”.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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