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The need to meet end-customer expectations for convenient cloud-based access has resulted in every product becoming a technology product, says an expert from IT temp-staffing provider Teamlease.
Be it a bank loan or a tractor, a health checkup or a toy purchased as a gift, people expect most processes to take place online—for instance, loans to be processed online, the tractor’s next service to be scheduled online, the medical health record to be on the cloud and the toy to be delivered or packed for pick-up, with payment done online.
“The entire outlook has changed now,” Supaul Chanda, business head - Teamlease digital, told Forbes India in a phone interview. “Every product becomes a technology product and therefore, the IT department in an organisation, which used to be a small vertical focused on providing tech support, has become a larger horizontal affecting every line of business.”
This means, chief information officers (CIOs)—who typically used to report to the chief financial officers—are increasingly being asked to partner with business heads or even with the chief executive officer (CEO). They are expected to be the go-to in-house experts on how to use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) for future-proof business strategy. And they are also expected to ensure cybersecurity, as more and more products are deployed on internet that collect customer data.
On the other hand, in the older, legacy areas of software application development and maintenance, more contract workers are being brought on board as IT outsourcing services providers seek to deliver new-age digital services themselves.
“There is certainly a crunch in manpower. The IT companies are looking for more up-skilling and re-skilling of their staff, alongside lateral hires to meet their need for specialists in AI, ML and IoT, and cybersecurity,” Chanda said. “This shift hasn’t yet happened in the contracting world.”
Data scientists, in particular, are in demand, and this is an area where there is a massive supply gap in India that won’t be filled anytime soon, he said. Similarly, cybersecurity experts are becoming more crucial. The way that IT companies are dealing with this, as with other new-age talent needs, is to hire people away from competitors or other multinational organisations. “Lateral hires have become important for new-age skills,” he said.