A recent forecast from the (IDC) Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide indicates that global spending on artificial intelligence (AI) will reach $154 billion in 2023 and rise to more than $300 billion in 2026. As AI investment ramps up, companies like SAP, Oracle, and leading SaaS enterprise application providers are increasingly embedding it in their enterprise technology platforms and solutions. Early adopters have the potential to transform their businesses, outpace their competitors, and drive immediate, measurable ROI—if they can find the right talent to implement the technology.
Case in point: within the span of a few days, I talked with multiple customers about staffing their SAP Intelligent Enterprise Asset Management (IAM) initiatives. SAP IAM is a groundbreaking technology—the solution creates a digital twin of industrial assets, uses IOT sensors to collect data, then applies AI and machine learning to provide both real-time intelligence and predictive insights into asset health and performance. It’s also a useful example of the challenge at hand because implementing a solution that is a convergence of emerging and existing technologies in ways that have not previously applied, requires hybrid skillsets that may not currently exist.
So how do you staff an enterprise transformation initiative when the technology is so far out on the leading edge that very few people have direct experience with it? It’s a fair thing to ask—a million-dollar question, really—and while I don’t claim to have all the answers, I do have some ideas.
New Technologies Require a Precision Approach to Leveraging the IT Labor Supply Chain
First, let me say this: a broad diversity of new skillsets will be needed to implement and support this next generation of emerging technologies. In the SAP IAM use case, for example, some of these might be digital manufacturing concepts, 3D visualization, extended content management, and field service and redefinition of master data. To find them requires reimagining current skillsets and a precision approach to leveraging the IT labor supply chain.
I find it is worthwhile to approach the implementation of an emerging technology as a joint growth initiative between the OEM who has developed the technology, the early adopter customer who is implementing it, the enterprise performance partner that is providing the expertise for the initiative, and even the talent ecosystem. Everyone has valuable experience and insights to bring to the table, and everyone has something to learn. Importantly, no one has all the answers. All parties to the initiative will need to partner closely to meet the challenge, and it will certainly be an ongoing, iterative process.
A useful way of thinking about securing the expertise for this type of initiative is in terms of concentric circles. At the centermost circle are people who have touched the new technology directly—this talent pool will be small and competitive. The second circle will be comprised of people who have legacy skills that are adjacent to the primary skillset needed—in the SAP IAM example, it might be people with hands-on experience in on-premises SAP applications and/or AI-focused technologies—and while there will be a broader pool of talent, it will still be small. Each subsequent ring represents talent that while further removed from the new technology platform, has complementary skillsets that will round out the strategic staffing plan.
Even when an enterprise technology transformation initiative is covering charted ground, finding expertise that is both highly specialized and an organizational fit can be challenging. This is even more true when introducing new, AI-enabled cloud technology. You are collectively forging new territory—there is no roadmap. As the initiative progresses, there are bound to be a few surprises related to technology functionality that doesn’t operate as intended and skillsets that no one could have anticipated needing.
Just as the OEM will need to partner closely with early adopters of new technologies, the companies implementing them will need to work closely with their enterprise performance partner to find the right expertise. They should be seeking to work with an organization that is looking ahead of the innovation curve and proactively identifying talent for what comes next. They will need a partner that has the sophistication to understand the overarching directive of the initiative and who can identify people with the relevant, necessary, and adjacent skillsets as well as the people who are willing to pivot—to adapt and learn new skills.
Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise technology transformation initiatives and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.
To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, email@example.com, Executive Vice President, Sales, or John Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to speaking with you and learning about your specific challenges.