As competitive threats continue to emerge and the pace of change in business accelerates, CIOs are under immense pressure to enable the enterprise to become more agile and responsive.

For IT leaders who are anticipating where the business will be three, five, or even ten years from now, it’s imperative that they create a vision for the future and develop a strategy to achieve this.

In order to deliver on these objectives, CIOs need to build and cultivate an IT team that has the skills, capacity, experience, drive, and character to get the job done. In today’s highly-competitive markets, this is becoming ever-more challenging.

Without question, there’s a war for tech talent on a scale that’s rivaling the dot-com era. According to a 2015 study by ManpowerGroup, the number of global employers reporting talent shortages this year has peaked at a seven-year high of 38%. Meanwhile, as companies continue to become increasingly data-driven, McKinsey & Company predicts that by 2018, U.S. employers may face a 50%-to-60% gap between the supply and demand of deep analytical talent.

Thanks, in part, to the projected skills shortages, CIOs are taking distinct approaches to building their IT teams. For instance, some CIOs are relying heavily on developing their own talent by developing partnerships with colleges and universities and by creating training programs aimed at cultivating the specific skill sets they want to develop inhouse. CIOs are also striving to strike the right balance between insourcing and outsourcing.

Because the pace of change in business is so dynamic, savvy CIOs are developing IT teams with a deep bench. By recruiting, developing, and training IT employees with the right sets of skills needed now and into the foreseeable future, CIOs position the IT organization to be more agile and responsive and when new business opportunities arise.

Planning for the future includes developing a work environment that both attracts and retains top talent in an environment where companies are competing aggressively for knowledgeable workers with highly-coveted skills.  Running a successful IT organization is much like leading a winning sports team. In order to attract, develop, and retain top-notch employees, it’s critical to have mid-level managers who are adept at nurturing talent and creating the types of opportunities that appeal to IT workers and motivates them to continue growing with the company.

Successful CIOs also recognize that no single part of the organization can get the job done by itself. As Mark Polansky, Senior Partner at Korn Ferry’s Information Technology Officers Center of Expertise recently shared with me, CIOs are increasingly responsible for assembling teams of external partners to accomplish mission-critical tasks. They no longer rely solely on the IT department to execute on essential initiatives.

“The modern CIO puts together technology ecosystems,” said Polansky. “CIOs create and manage partnerships between hardware, software, and service providers. They understand that a viable technology ecosystem is a complex web of vendors and service providers. It’s very much like an M&A activity, and there are lots of moving parts and complicated relationships.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Enabling an enterprise roadmap into the future requires the CIO to develop an IT team that has the requisite skills that are needed now and into the foreseeable future.
  • In order to attract, develop, and retain top talent, it’s critical to have mid-level managers who are capable of nurturing talent and creating career opportunities that appeal to IT workers and keeps them stimulated.
  • Savvy CIOs team up with external partners that can provide critical resources needed to meet current and future organizational objectives.