Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 72 | Page 32



The IT talent shortage has CIOs in the Middle East scrambling to ensure that their teams brush up on the latest skills and technologies that facilitate business flexibility and agility . should not simply limit themselves to introducing new talent into the IT enterprise fold . They should also collaborate with their C-suite colleagues to recognise and nurture such talent from within the enterprise .”

Among the domains in the highest demand : cloud computing , Machine Learning , data science , software engineering and cybersecurity . A lack of skills and resources has been either the number one or number two obstacle to achieving organisational objectives , according to the past four annual Gartner CIO surveys .
Stephen Gill , Academic Head , School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences , Heriot-Watt University Dubai , said the role of IT has changed radically over the years . Gill said current IT leaders are needed to focus on providing more business value and driving IT ’ s role in the organisation into the future . “ And at the same time , they also need to focus on building the next generation of IT leaders ,” he said . “ Transformational CIOs consider themselves as business leaders and ensure they can acclimatise to changing business environments . This also means that they ensure a highly skilled team is ready to execute business transformation and continuity .”
He said viewing IT as a centralised function is outdated and myopic . “ CIOs should look throughout their organisation when searching for leadership talent . While information system architecture , data architecture , security and network architecture remain central to IT , skills such as business intelligence , automation , Artificial Intelligence , data science and analytics are immensely valuable too ,” he noted . “ CIOs
Osama Al-Zoubi , CTO , Cisco Middle East and Africa , said Cisco ’ s Accelerating Digital Agility Research surveyed CIOs and IT decision makers across Europe , Middle East , Europe and Russia ( EMEAR ), finding that many are looking to maximise investments in digitisation and drive innovation after a difficult year , which inevitably raised the profile of IT leaders in driving critical workplace innovation .
Al-Zoubi said Often , CIOs and IT teams can face internal bottlenecks , largely due to organisational structures which see them largely working in a silo . “ The CIO must be the driving force behind being the face of Digital Transformation in the organisation , but equally , even HR teams have a degree of responsibility ,” he said .
Sajith Kumar , General Manager , Enterprise , Cloud Box Technologies , said : “ I strongly believe it is a joint responsibility for both the CIO and the HR on hiring the right talent with appropriate skills in line with the organisation ’ s business objectives .
According to Kumar , a CIO is able to predict the future IT skills and accordingly HR can look for those skills within the organisation or outside . “ Enable them with the required skills and help them move into new roles within the organisation ,” he said .
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