How to create business-savvy IT pros

IT leaders offer 5 tips for infusing IT staff with the business knowledge they need to succeed today — and in the years ahead.

How to create business-savvy IT pros
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Audiovisual and event tech services company PSAV plans to double its IT staff over the next five years under an aggressive companywide growth plan, but it’s not just the increased headcount that’s got CIO Cathie Kozik contemplating her team’s future.

Kozik expects her current and future IT workers to help position the organization for growth, and she wants to make sure she gives her people the right experiences so they can take on broader roles and develop systems that make sense for the business. The technical skills can be taught, she says, but business acumen doesn’t come as easily.

“What’s not as straight forward [as learning technical skills] is how do you build the CIOs of the future and the team that understands that technology is no good if it doesn’t work within the culture or … how it could be used most effectively in the business?” Kozik says. “Those are not classes you can just find.”

It’s a question posed by many CIOs as businesses undergo digital transformation while also seeking to align more closely with the business. According to a survey of more than 3,000 business leaders by McKinsey Global Institute, there’s a new emphasis on continuous learning for workers and a shift to more cross-functional and team-based work, which require a deeper knowledge of both IT and business. As tasks change, jobs will need to be redefined, and companies say workers will need to become more agile.

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