Critical Talent Shortage: Data + Analytics + Cloud
During my recruiting days - I naturally sought the thrill of chasing down the nearly impossible candidate. The type of candidate with a minimal digital foot-print, and a LinkedIn profile of fewer than 60 followers. The bulk of my time was spent seeking the ever-elusive mobile developer long before anyone had heard of Xamarian. Well before Microsoft's acquisition of the mobile cross-platform tool. Coffee meetings, technical user-groups, tossing around astronomical salaries. Or so I thought at the time. Emerging technology was driving this market and every organization was desperate to discover adequate talent.
I Cannot Find Top Talent!
Flash ahead to today and we are in the midst of a technical revolution centered on Data, Analytics and Cloud. This is forcing Talent Acquisition (Human Resources) departments to respond to a critical talent shortage for 2018. Even your IT staffing-vendors are struggling to comprehend this massive shift in technologies and the severe talent-shortage. A talent-shortage resulting from the explosion of data analytics and rapid adoption of the public-cloud, like Azure and AWS. The Seven V's of Data provides insight on how this trend will continue disrupting technology road-maps. Resources simply haven't had time to learn and refine their usage of the technologies like; Power BI, Azure, Hadoop, IoT, etc. If you're hiring a Microsoft Power BI Developer with 3-5 years experience, well good luck. Power BI just celebrated its 2nd Birthday, yet has already become the Gartner Leader among enterprise Business Intelligence tools. Even if you do identify a candidate with Power BI chops, within your budget, how can you ensure their actual experience will translate to your company's changing environment?
Your job requirements are changing and perhaps a little foreign. Digesting new job titles, modern technologies, and designing a recruitment strategy can be challenging. More so, Power BI combined with the Microsoft Cloud (Azure) has changed the entire mindset about data and analytics and what's possible with the Microsoft technology-stack. Modern Data Architects are now engineering cloud-hybrid environments with scalability to support Big Data, AI, and IoT initiatives. C-level Executives are replacing ad-hoc excel with interactive dashboards featuring real-time data visualizations. Predictive Analytics being implemented mid-size organization with simple AzureML models. Lengthy and expensive Data Warehousing projects are now adopting a lean consumption-based iterative approach.
Evolution of Talent
In the midst of this changing landscape, how do you evaluate the resume of a SQL DBA, who's been managing the metal-physical at one company for 15+ years. What becomes of the Data Architect with 10 years of building SSAS multi-dimensional cubes for the same company? In times of rapid-change, preference for depth of experience on a resume is often replaced by a breadth of experience and openness to the adoption of new technologies. Every professional has had to reinvent themselves at some point in their career, this time isn't any different. The SQL DBA may find themselves managing multiple public-clouds in 2020. Data Architects may find themselves doing more in business intelligence and focusing on lean modern data warehousing principals. Versatility and an aptitude for continuous learning and growth are vital characteristics to look for. The interview process should focus less on what they've done, but more how they think and how their mind solves problems. An unwillingness to embrace this evolution in technology or tunnel-vision for solving problems should be carefully evaluated as a potential Red Flag.
Step-by-Step Talent Solution
Call a spade a spade and publicly recognize the current climate for finding talent. Hire the individuals who possess a breadth of data analytics experience along with the aptitude and attitude to continue their personal growth along with a rapidly changing data and analytics vertical. Invest heavily in the growth of your teams, through advanced learning and hands-on mentorship. I haven't met a company yet that regrets making this investment. Finally, strategically fill in the gaps with a strategic data, analytics, cloud consulting partner. There will be knowledge gaps, and I'd propose there are more effective methods than having your most talented resources watching YouTube videos for an entire quarter. We offer our clients a complimentary Whiteboard Architecture Session, to understand their environment and unique needs. As a Hiring Leader, it's key to recognize these scenario's and courageously advise your IT Leaders against just another staff-aug placement. Instead, aim to fill-in these gaps with 2-3 month engagement with a strategic consulting firm who agrees to mentor your internal team of users along the way. Reap the benefits of a clearly scoped engagement that leverages a partner's proven methodology to deliver results and help define the overall road-map. Strategic consulting firms have the privilege of routinely braving new environments and solving unique challenges while leveraging these emerging technologies. They want to share this knowledge. This is perhaps the most effective and quickest way of elevating the knowledge level across your team. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we see this work time and time again.
Responding to a talent-shortage requires a conscious effort by everyone in the organization. One that creatively solves the problem while equipping your team with today's top-talent and positioning them to evolve along with a rapidly changing vertical.
Robert Gerads is Director of Business Development at Beyond Impact, a Microsoft Gold Partner and consulting firm focused on Data, Analytics, and Cloud. He is also the Founder of the local Power BI Meetup, that meets monthly.