Andrea Benito
Middle East Editor

The demand for new skills: How can CIOs optimize their team?

Sep 27, 20233 mins
diversity saudi arabian man and woman laptop collaboration uae middle east saudi arabia by xavierar
Credit: Xavieranrau / Getty Images

As the world of work continues to evolve and organizations shift to hybrid work models, new challenges and opportunities present themselves. How can technology leaders leverage these shifts to enhance online and virtual experiences and strengthen competitiveness by developing people, talent, and skills? At the summit, ITDMs discussed how the technology talent market has changed, pushing organisations to leverage innovative work models. 

“Hybrid work had a major shift, not only in IT, three years ago people thought the office was the driver but since Covid things have changed, people prefer to work remotely, using collaborative tools,” said Khalid Almutair, VP IT at Saudi Arabian Mining Company (MAADEN). “Now we focus on how to connect to the outside, based on the cloud. Even the board members and CEOs see the value of digital transformation and we tech leaders have to deal with these demands, the expectations of everyone have increased, it is a challenge but it is also an opportunity.”

Amin Al Jaber CIO at Aljomaih Automotive Company agreed that board members have accepted those changes and IT teams are getting more resources than ever but working remotely has also created some challenges: “People used to work together, that creates a trust level within your team, working remotely is great but you don’t feel part of the team, or the company, you need to spend one or two days to feel you are part of it.”

Companies are examining how they can change themselves and their team structures to leverage the current situation and enhance productivity. How can companies attract and retain talent?

“The technical strategy is the most used, compensation and benefits, you need to create a positive environment for your employees, people leave if the environment is toxic. How creative you are at engaging your employees? We need young people who are willing to play with things and give them assignments for projects, allow them to try new things, hybrid working also, people want flexibility,” Almutair said.

According to the panellist, the talent shortage is not a regional issue, it’s worldwide. “Even if we have local challenges in terms of quality and quantity, this is not limited to the Saudi region, we have new emerging technologies but not a lot of experts, technology develops so fast and that’s why we need to go outside and we need to offer to work remotely,” Amin Al Jaber, CIO at Aljomaih Automotive Company clarified.

Mohammed Alsuhaim, Chief Executive Officer at Saudi Digital Academy said it’s important to embrace innovation and give freedom to young people: “If you give them freedom, they will innovate, it’s important to consider internship programs and train them.”

“How organizations can work with universities? Education needs to keep up about what’s happening in the industry. We teach people functional skills, but part of the role of education institutes is teaching people how to acquire those skills, the other part is constantly learning, for education is difficult to make changes rapidly,” Dr. Azzam Alsudais, CIO and CDXO at Prince Sultan University.