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4 Steps for Winning the Battle for AI Talent

A recent survey revealed that 42% of employers admit they are concerned that they won’t be able to access the talent they need to run their businesses. This worry is compounded for those in IT, a sector notorious for its ongoing staffing shortage. And with the rise of artificial intelligence technology, the demand for top-tier AI talent is far outweighing the supply. The good news is, with the right approach, even smaller organizations can compete for today’s most sought-after candidates.

Create a Purpose Statement

Employee engagement has dipped to a measly 34% in recent years. One way to boost morale is to provide employees with a sense of purpose. Simply put, today’s top AI talent doesn’t want to spend the majority of their time crunching numbers or working on projects that don’t challenge and empower them. They want meaningful work. You can address this desire by developing a compelling AI purpose statement. Ideally, your statement should highlight the unique and exciting opportunities that await candidates.

Focus on “Citizens”

We’re not talking about citizens of a particular locale, but rather the emerging role of citizen data scientists. Unlike data scientists, who focus on wrangling and cleansing data, Gartner defines these individuals as “power users” who are capable of performing both simple as well as moderately sophisticated analytical tasks that would have previously required more expertise. Forward-thinking organizations are already focusing their attention on citizen AI talent as a means to bridge the gap between AI specialists and the rest of the enterprise.

Tap into Universities

Thankfully there has been a recent shift in how much emphasis colleges and universities are placing on equipping students with applicable, employment-ready skills. This includes prepping those studying AI for entering the workplace. A great way to get ahead of the game in terms of recruiting this up-and-coming AI talent is to forge strong relationships with educational institutions, in particular, with academic departments that specialize in artificial intelligence and other related functions.

Reskill / Upskill Existing Staff

It’s been proven time and again that it’s far more cost-effective to retain existing staff than it is to recruit externally. Organizations may be sitting on a gold mine of available AI talent without even realizing it. For instance, the right training can help IT professionals comprehend and cultivate practical skills and gain the fundamental understanding they need to develop into marketable AI talent in the future.

According to a recent Ernst & Young poll, 56% of senior AI professionals said they believed the lack of qualified AI professionals was the single biggest barrier to AI implementation across business operations. You can win this war for AI talent by implementing the four strategies above and implementing the right tools. Experience the Next Generation of intelligent automation and orchestration with your free 30 day trial of Ayehu. Click here to claim yours.

5 Non-Tech Skills to Look for in an Intelligent Automation Engineer

Everyone talks about the changes in the IT world – the increased complexity, the pressures to improve efficiency, and the need for tighter links between IT and business. But how does this influence your IT personnel and skill set requirements?

It goes without saying that there’s a need for individuals who have backgrounds in areas like data center operations, systems integration, virtualization, etc. Yet the demand for closer links between IT technologists and business operations implies an entirely new set of skills.

Particularly with intelligent automation becoming an essential element, IT engineers need new skills beyond familiarity with technologies. Where past requirements focused solely on technical expertise and you were only looking for scripting wizards and troubleshooting superheroes, today’s IT teams need a much wider set of abilities.

You need intelligent automation engineers who are able to understand the needs and processes of the business, translate those needs into IT activities, and prioritize and implement them in the most efficient, productive way possible. So what are the additional skills an intelligent automation engineer needs? Here are 5 that we believe top the list.

  1. Business perspective. A business/financial state of mind that enables the consideration and application of non-technical data inputs. For instance, figuring out key KPI’s affecting IT projects, measuring return on investment (ROI), and optimizing project implementation to achieve overarching financial goals.
  2. Process analysis. The ability to define and implement processes such as incident management, change management, operations, information security, business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as business service management.
  3. Project management. Skilled project managers who can not only oversee and monitor projects, but also identify business users’ needs and translate them into IT requirements. Intelligent automation engineers that can clearly justify how a business may increase its staff productivity and efficiency using different processes and tools.
  4. Process implementation. The new intelligent automation engineer has to be able to comprehend end-to-end processes, have a deep understanding of workflows and the ability to create them in a dynamically automated environment.
  5. Interpersonal skills. The need for strong communication with business managers requires solid interpersonal skills. This involves the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people outside the IT domain, understanding business peoples’ needs, concerns and different points of view, and that rare ability to negotiate and make compromises on both sides of the aisle.

Of course, not all businesses have the capacity or recruit an intelligent automation engineer. For instance, those organizations operating on leaner staffing budgets or ones that already have large IT teams to tap into may benefit greatly by investing in the reskilling of existing personnel.

Ayehu’s Automation Academy offers expertly developed courses are designed to help IT professionals comprehend and cultivate practical skills through a variety of interactive learning activities. Multiple, flexible training options are available. Give your team the knowledge it needs to turn your organization into a powerful, self-driving enterprise. Click here to get started.

How to Build an AI Team

Once viewed as a technology of the distant future, AI is quickly becoming an integral component of many an IT/business strategy. The rapid advancement of data science and machine learning technology, combined with the accessibility and affordability of artificial intelligence platforms in the cloud, are enabling companies in every industry to uncover new ways to extract business value from data. But in order to fully capitalize on AI, an organization must first assemble a strong team. Let’s take a look at three steps for creating such a team in your business.

Learn what successful AI looks like.

When establishing a department dedicated to AI, it’s important to recognize that successful artificial intelligence initiatives require a variety of different roles and skillsets. If you are focused solely on one role – data scientist for example – you will almost assuredly come up short. Instead, take a more well-rounded approach paying particular attention to three distinct areas: a person (or people) who can generate data, a person (or people) who can interpret that data, and a person (or people) who can make judgments about that data.

Recruit/train (and retain) top talent.

It’s no secret that skilled AI professionals are in high demand. In order to develop a good AI team, recruitment and retention are key. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to look outside of your company to do so. In fact, developing AI talent from internal staff can be just as, if not more effective – particularly given the talent shortage. Investing in training and upskilling can produce a higher return on your investment than external recruiting.

And remember, it’s not just about assembling a team. You also need to focus on keeping turnover at bay. Offering things like professional development and autonomy can make long-term employment with you more attractive.

Tap freelancers.

What if your company simply isn’t prepared or doesn’t have the budget to hire a Ph.D. in computer science? What if your existing staff is too small, doesn’t have the potential or lacks the bandwidth to recruit internally? There are still other ways to get started with AI. Some organizations have had tremendous success hiring artificial intelligence specialists via online talent marketplaces, like Upwork. By eliminating the need to hire in-house, and all the ancillary expenses that come with such an arrangement, you can tap into global AI talent at an affordable price.

With Gartner forecasting that 85% of CIOs will be piloting AI projects by the year 2020, it’s abundantly clear that artificial intelligence is the way of the future. Having a team of skilled individuals dedicated to your AI initiatives can help you maximize the long-term benefits and give your organization the competitive advantage it needs to thrive in the digital era.

Ready to get started with AI but not sure how? For a limited time, we’re offering a free trial of Ayehu’s Next Generation Intelligent Automation platform. Use the full product for 30 days and don’t pay a penny. Get yours before it’s too late!

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