As artificial intelligence (AI) advances, it will touch every part of the business. IT workforces of financial services (FS) organizations will need to build AI skills if they hope to orchestrate AI integration and fully leverage it to business advantage. Three steps will get them closer.

AI is transformative. It will usher in a new age of economic growth and social change that we cannot yet fully imagine. For FS organizations, the IT workforce will be strategic—having an AI-fit IT workforce able to manage and help guide AI change will provide a competitive advantage. To address transformation, IT workforces need to transform as well. Here’s how.

Three steps can set IT workforce transformation in motion.

The changing IT workforce

To help the organization harness growth from intelligent technologies, new IT skills are vital. But AI brings more than just technological change—it is expanding the role of IT. To harness AI, the IT organization must understand and enable “Applied Intelligence”, which is the term we use for the combination of technology and human ingenuity to drive new sources of innovation and growth.

Three factors are affecting the IT organization:

  • The nature of IT work is changing, demanding stronger financial and business acumen, as well as vendor management, relationship and collaboration skills.
  • Innovation ownership is evolving and IT leaders need to harness talent to both orchestrate and drive innovation.
  • The talent ecosystem is expanding as the workforce diversifies and talent pools expand beyond traditional sources.

The first step toward transformation is to review the role of the IT organization itself.

Reimagine and redesign the IT organization

The adoption of intelligent technologies impacts how and what work is done, shifting the structure of work from job- to task-based roles. For the FS IT workforce, the first step is examining—at a task-based level—what machines and humans can do most effectively (e.g., across security, helpdesk, operations). The design of the IT organization will follow.

  • Product-focused teams comprising technical and business skills from across the business can drive outcomes and speed-to-market.
  • With design thinking and rapid prototyping, IT can explore the viability of ideas and rapidly scale the best ones.
  • An IT culture focused on business outcomes and agility, and a new leadership DNA that empowers people at all levels to make decisions, will embed change in the IT organization.

Scale up new skilling

Addressing skills gaps will be an ongoing exercise for technology leaders. A practical way to do this would be to pilot new technologies and prioritize skills growth to scale successful solutions.

To build new skills—both technical and human-centered—companies can take advantage of modern interventions like learning boards. I know it works from first-hand experience—at Accenture, we used learning boards to reskill more than 180,000 of our people globally in the latest digital technologies. It took just over 20 months.

Build talent ecosystems

To build talent ecosystems, IT organizations need to tap in-house talent, build external partnerships and broaden their talent pipelines.

  • To tap in-house talent, IT should create an internal company-wide ecosystem, using digital platforms and crowdsourcing to solve problems collectively.
  • Think big and act boldly when it comes to external talent ecosystems. Develop relationships that help broaden the talent pool. Academic partnerships, apprenticeship programs—and even gaming conventions—can be rich sources of both technical and human-centered skills.

What is your IT workforce strategy?

I hope you have found this series useful.

AI is setting a new standard for relentless technology change. As it becomes a bigger part of every business and workday, shaping the IT workforce and managing the diversity of talent needed will be a priority for every FS organization—it’s critical to begin this process now.

I am currently addressing this issue with key clients and am keen to understand the challenges you are experiencing and the progress you are making. So please contact me if you would like to discuss these.

Until next time.

For more on creating an AI-fit IT workforce, click through to Accenture’s Making IT Work paper.

For more insight on the human-machine collaboration skills needed for AI, read Reworking the Revolution.

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