The 2018 interim talent trends in technology: part two

The 2018 interim talent trends in technology: part two

Part one of this two-part trends series looked at the rise of key interim positions, with the CPO, VP of Engineering and core function roles gaining increasing prominence across the technology sector. Part two explores evolving transformation needs and influences from emergent technologies, as well as the future impact of major legislation.    

Reaching for cloud 2.0

B2B vendors are still lagging behind their younger, B2C ‘born in the cloud’ cousins when it comes to cloud transition and are increasingly looking to digital transformation leaders who can take hold of legacy systems and move them to the cloud.

Many B2B companies with ‘heritage’ products that are stable and well-liked by customers have been reluctant to transition to the cloud. However, with commercial pressures from first movers and industry disruptors, more and more of the well-established players are moving their systems to the clouds. This creates a challenge and opportunity for interims who will have to wrestle with managing a mix of on premise and cloud hosted estates.

SaaS is the number one priority for many of these companies and interim CTOs who know how to effectively transition these products to the cloud and CIOs to run them are in increasing demand.

Taking the easy pickings with emergent technologies  

Whilst we’re still a long way from an ‘I-Robot’ style future, emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics are taking us there faster than we realise. The recent explosion in this area has led to a spike in demand for permanent hires in machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA). However, as we progress into 2018, expect to see interim hires follow this trend. 

Companies are now looking at their low-skilled work and processes as the low hanging fruit that’s ripe for automation. With this in mind, we’re seeing a growing need for interim leaders who can transform areas of the organisation with RPA, enabling skilled workers to be reallocated to ‘higher-level’ jobs and make resource-heavy processes more efficient.   

We’re also seeing a growing community of AI interims developing, with specific requests for ML skills. With large data sets at the core of the technology, this is a role attracting Chief Data Officers and Data Science Officers. Any interim CIOs or CTOs who can credibly manage teams of AI specialists and data scientists will also see AI and ML projects quickly fall into their remit. 

On the blockchain side of the emergent technologies spectrum, 2017 was really the breakthrough year. With major financial players including IBM, Accenture, Amazon and Facebook announcing blockchain products and services this year, the need for interim experts who can implement this technology is going to be in increasing demand. 

Creating infrastructure that thinks for itself

Big data, sensor technologies and machine to machine communication are now driving forces transforming the manufacturing industry to see it converge with the technology sector. Creative leaders who can implement industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies to improve the business’ responsiveness, optimise a product’s lifecycle and automate decision making tasks are key hires for enterprises. However, the future of IIoT really belongs to those who can implement machine learning alongside these technologies. 

Whilst demand is predominantly coming in the form of digital transformation, the need to interpret the massive data sets being generated is evolving the industry. As a result, the integration of machine learning to monitor, analyse and make real-time decisions within IIoT is creating opportunities for interim CTOs and CIOs.

Cyber security expertise is also a critical requirement and we’re seeing interim leaders increasingly being asked to implement cyber security from the ground up. Secure by design has until recently, been all but ignored within IIoT but is quickly becoming the new mantra of the sector. Expect demand for cyber security across the IIoT sector to increase in 2018 and beyond.  

Managing the GDPR late-comers

There are still plenty of late comers to the GDPR party.  According to an IDC/Symantec report last month, 43% of companies still do not know what GDPR is and how it’s going to affect them, or are just starting to learn about the new requirements. We’re seeing ‘overdue’ GDPR plans being mobilised, generating an ongoing demand for interim Chief Data Officers and Programme Managers to deliver compliance – a trend that will continue in view of the NIS Directive and ePrivacy Regulations (PECR).

Organisations may have mass-distributed GDPR emails to their marketing base, yet in the background many are still wrestling with the data they hold and the complexities of the regulation. The transfer of compliance skills from regulation-heavy sectors such as utilities and financial services will become the mainstay as we progress further into 2018 and beyond.

The game changer here will be the first breach and we should expect the Information Commissioners Officer to make an example of the first big firm to fall foul of a GDPR infringement. This is likely to have an impact on the interim hiring trend but only when the dust settles will we be able say how organisations react.

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