Hiring for the Evolving IT Role: From Tech Support to Business Partner
Fierce demand for top IT talent is forcing many organizations into a mad dash to extend job offers the moment they set eyes on the perfect fit. These companies have goals to meet, they are motivated by urgency, and the sooner they can fill empty positions the better. This doesn’t mean they’re not smart about it; they know that a bad hire can end up costing them more in the long run. But still, the competition is high, and the best IT professionals aren’t on the market long.
In the face of lost productivity and looming deadlines, the big picture is all too often forgotten. When we’re in the details, it’s easy to miss the massive paradigm shift that’s going on under our noses. And that’s this: The roles of the IT leader and the IT department are rapidly evolving from order takers and tech support to strategic business partners. Are you hiring with this perspective in mind?
This is the Way We’ve Always Done It
Traditionally, the IT unit is the tech specialist. It’s a department created with a cost-cutting and efficiency mindset, there to support the core technical infrastructure of any organization in any industry vertical. When the network goes down, when a virus is accidentally downloaded, or when a new CRM is being implemented, the IT guys are there to clean up and maintain.
Even on the software and application development side of things, the architects, developers and programmers are there to gather and understand business requirements and execute the project to fulfill those objectives. Unless you’re as huge and cutting edge as Google or as quirky and innovative as a Silicon Valley tech start-up, IT professionals of all stripes are rarely given the opportunity to go further than supporting business goals – or, essentially, fulfilling the role of service provider.
Redefining IT as a Business Partner
As we continue to see greater leaps and bounds in the digitization of every sector, it’s only natural that technology grows in its role. While the IT department can’t exactly disband its current support capabilities, it can take them a step further. Technology leaders and professionals can do more than simply support operational processes and aid communication; it can be used to innovate the way an organization does its business and develop new tech-supported business capabilities.
Companies must recognize that the intimate understanding of IT infrastructure and complex digital solutions offers a key advantage in being able to see how technology can further drive a business and lead change. IT leaders who are given the opportunity to understand complex business objectives are better able to align IT strategy and create strategic partnerships within and outside of the organization. Accordingly, as a strategic business partner, IT leaders must shift their mindset from tech-centric transactions and support to one of business-centric innovation and investment.
Hiring for the Evolving IT Role
It’s easy to perceive that the key takeaway here is candidates for executive technology roles must be agile and versatile within the realm of business processes and operations. While this is true, this conversation is not just for the C-suite. From CIO/CTO all the way down to Tier I tech support and rookie developers, successful and long-term IT hiring needs to embrace this future-focused point of view.
This means searching for IT professionals who have an entrepreneurial spirit, who can be cultivated into leaders, and who have the capacity to understand what it takes to shape a business’s future. It also takes a careful analysis of how a candidate fits into the corporate culture and team dynamic, as well as a discussion about how to tackle the growing IT skills gap.
This is obviously a high level overview of the evolving role of IT. The discussion and its impact on each individual business requires clear data and intelligent input from people both inside and outside the realm of IT. However, the fact remains that effective IT hiring and staffing must keep the big picture in mind.
At KORE1, we aim to keep our finger on the pulse of the IT industry and its growing trends, so we can provide our clients the absolute best solutions. Let us know how we can help you reach your goals today.