The cloud is changing the enterprise, as well the employees who work within it. It's time to change the way your business develops and nurtures its IT talent.

Larry Bonfante

May 8, 2017

4 Min Read
Employees & the Cloud: 3 Ways to Nurture IT Talent

We all realize that the cloud and the shift to "everything as a service" has revolutionized the way we provide technology services to our clients.

In my opinion, however, we as an industry have not done enough to focus on retooling and retraining our staff to reflect this seismic shift in the industry.

Many of us have hired and managed technical people who had hands-on responsibility for the day-to-day implementation and operations of core infrastructure technologies. We all have team members who are Cisco CCIEs, Microsoft MCSEs, and the rest of the technology alphabet soup that comes along with running an enterprise technology shop. (See DevOps Struggles With Legacy Systems, Culture.)

Still, as we make this dramatic shift to a new model for delivering key technology services, we need to proactively prepare our teams for the new IT organization.

This is not only an important thing to do to ensure our organization's success, it's also the right thing to do to ensure our people, who have given us their dedication, loyalty and acumen, are well positioned for success in their future career roles. (See Hottest Cloud Skills for 2017: Exclusive Special Report.)

Figure 1: Talent scout (Source: StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay) Talent scout (Source: StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay)

I see three key new types of roles that I feel will be critical to our success in this new future world of delivering technology services. Let's look at these new positions and how we can align the company's goals to the IT talent we need:

Tech architects
The first group of roles is what I will broadly refer to as enterprise technology architects. These are the people who will lay out the technology strategy and blueprint as to how we implement and operate our services through leveraging key capabilities such as public cloud, software-as-a-servie (SaaS), and other components of the new era of IT.

We need people on our team who understand our organization's business goals and can help map our technology framework to ensure we have the capability and flexibility of meeting and addressing these ever-changing business imperatives.

'Partner' management
The second focus is on "partner" management. Let me note, however, that this is different from "vendor" management.

Vendor management has primarily been focused on negotiating attractive price points for the services we outsource to third-party providers. Partner management is a different animal.

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It is focused on working with partners as key members of your team, and helping align the various partners, service providers and internal staff as a single team that is focused on delivering operational excellence and ensuring business outcomes. This is much more than a financial game. This is truly a management position that required emotional intelligence and interpersonal touch.

Digital infrastructure
The third area would be delivering what I will call the "digital infrastructure" required to do business in our new digital age.

In the past, our focus was primarily on delivering technology solutions to internal enterprise clients. Now, we need to focus on delivering actual consumer-facing capabilities to external customers to ensure they have a positive experience when they interact with our digital footprint, whether that's our websites, our mobile platforms, our social media presence. This required technology expertise in a whole new set of platforms, whether it's the content management systems (CMSs), CRM applications, data analytics, or any other app that customers need to use.

Don't forget big data
We have covered the three major trends in IT talent transformation, but we can't forget about one other part: big data and the aggregation of all that data.

We need people who can not only manage this data, but make sense of it through the use of metadata, and know how to slice and dice the appropriate data for the appropriate audience at the appropriate time to be able to turn data into insights that inform better business decisions.

When it comes to IT talent, what's your company doing to rethink its workforce in the age of cloud and services? Let us know in the comments section below.

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— Larry Bonfante is an award-winning CIO and the founder of CIO Bench Coach. You can follow him on Twitter.

About the Author(s)

Larry Bonfante

Larry Bonfante has held executive leadership positions over the past 35 years in the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Not for Profit, Consulting, and Sports and Entertainment industries. He has received numerous industry accolades including being nominated for the CIO Hall of Fame, being named as one of CIO Magazine's CIO 100 and one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders. As Chief Information Officer at the United States Tennis Association, Larry's team was responsible for all information technology related services supporting the US Open, the most highly attended annual sporting event in the world. Larry is the founder of CIO Bench Coach, LLC and has served as executive coach and trusted business adviser to executives at some of the largest and most prestigious companies in the world helping them transform their technology function, attract, develop and retain key leaders, turn talented individuals into high performing teams, change their organizational culture, leverage diversity as a strategic asset, and build board and C-Level relationships. He is also the author of the book "Lessons in IT Transformation" published by John Wiley & Sons and writes a leadership blog for CIO Insight. He has served as both President and Chairman of the Fairfield-Westchester chapter of SIM and is a founding member of the CIO Executive Council. Larry has been a guest lecturer for the Masters' Degree programs at Columbia University, NYU, and Polytechnic Institute and is an accomplished public speaker who has delivered keynote presentations at major industry conferences on four continents. 

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