New CIO in Tech? Here are 5 Tips to keep in mind while building your Tech Team

Technology teams have taken centre stage across all organisations as a result of the pandemic. The Chief Information Officers (CIO), a part of any organisation’s Tech Leadership, is now the linchpin of an organization’s strategy. All aspects of business need to be digital to remain competitive and agile. Cybersecurity, data privacy, software and hardware procurement, owned platform development are integral for any organisation and that’s why it’s critical for companies to build a highly competitive tech team.

For those who are able to find suitable talent for their organisation, there are additional challenges around culture and people that need to be tackled to ensure a seamless digital transformation journey.

5 Tips that a new CIO can keep in mind while building their Tech Team

  1. Study the Current Landscape: In order to build a competitive team, a holistic understanding of the available talent pool in the market is required. One needs to identify target tech talent, the current organisations where this talent is present, its location & associated acquisition costs. The organisation can then take stock of their internal hiring budgets and plan how to move forward. Simultaneously, the organisation can also identify existing but overlooked gaps internally as a prospective employer vis-à-vis competition. Such an exercise can help understand the available talent out there while also building a foresighted pipeline for key positions.
  2. Unlearn and Embrace Humility: As technology evolves faster than ever, an understanding of and a keenness to keep up with the latest tech trends is crucial. There is a need for organisations to drop a traditional outlook and align themselves with today’s digital ecosystem. This may translate into the need for an external tech hiring specialist to help the CIO build a competitive team. This should be done without wasting any time, especially if a tech team is being built in a traditionally non-tech organisation.

The existing Talent Acquisition team in any organisation may not be fully equipped to seek & screen the right candidates with fitting tech skills. At a time when hiring agility needs to be exhibited, getting the right people on board who have an expertise in tech hiring can have clear time based benefits. Dragging your feet for internal reasons will only leave you empty-handed.

  1. Weigh cost vs opportunity cost: Exhibit agility in tech hiring, as delays owing to internal hindrances will leave you far behind in the race. For example, if a tech professional is seeking 5 lakh more than your budget, you will need to see how much time and money it will take to acquire another candidate who fits the bill i.e what opportunity cost will it entail for you to not have this candidate. Of course these exceptions need to be within reasonable limits.

Create adequate backup for every position that you are hiring, as there is no guarantee that the candidate of choice will definitely join you. Pinning your hopes on a single candidate can set you back drastically. Many companies have reported a back out rate of 80% in the current market. Hence, it is advisable to have one fully evaluated backup for every single role.

  1. Create a nurturing environment for Tech Changes: 

It is critical to align your organization to what the tech world is used to seeing, as it is the employee who is ruling the roost in the present. While you may not be functioning in a tech oriented organisational mindset until now, you will have to create a drastically different work environment that is designed for tech efficiency, something that traditional players may not be used to.

Isolating the tech team from the larger organization culture may be a good idea. In an organisation which is not originally tech oriented, the CIO may need to deviate and give the tech team some leeway which other teams are not allowed. Taking the example of players in Banking, while the operations team may be required to be present at their desks, the tech team may not be required to do so and can be allowed to work remotely.

  1. Build a Team that is Ready for the Future: The IT needs of today are very different from a few years back, and as tech continues to evolve rapidly, the shelf life of tech trends keeps getting shorter. This means that traditional companies must build and develop tech resilience and future readiness faster than ever in order to survive.

Building future-ready tech skills like AI, ML, data science et al. is critical to ensure the tech teams are prepared for anything going forward. CIOs in tandem with tech savvy hiring teams must work together to identify these skills, find out the talent gaps in their existing workforce and proactively acquire talent that can help them catalyze their digital transformation efforts.

In Conclusion

The tech leaders of today need to go back to the whiteboard to stay in demand and have a competitive advantage over their peers. A broader vision, combined with a cohesive approach and updated tech tools is required to succeed in these times.

By Gaurav Chattur, M.D. APAC, Catenon

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