CIOs Struggle To Find The Machine Learning Employees That They Need

It turns out that it's hard to find the right people to do machine learning
It turns out that it’s hard to find the right people to do machine learning Image Credit: deepak pal

CIOs are responsible for making sure that the company’s IT operations run smoothly. More and more as we move into the future, this is requiring an understanding of the importance of information technology in order to automate how the company performs its day-to-day operations. The good news is that there is new technology that is available to allow this to be done: machine learning. The bad news is that this machine learning stuff requires smart people to implement it. CIOs are starting to discover that there simply does not seem to be enough machine learning capable workers available to fill the open positions that they have.

Where Have All The Needed Employees Gone?

People with the CIO job at banks, insurers and other financial companies say efforts to expand their use of artificial intelligence are being hampered by a scarcity of both data and employees with the skills that are needed. Uncertainty over data-privacy regulations are making things even more difficult. Most CIOs have implemented some form of AI, and in a recent survey 77% said they expect smart software to become a key business component within the next two years. Among other areas, financial-services firms expect to increase the use of AI in risk management, fraud detection and surveillance, customer communications and efforts to develop new revenue-generating services.

In the past six months there has been a steady increase in demand from customers across the board for AI-enhanced robotic process automation tools, particularly within the banking and financial services sector. Despite this momentum, more than 80% of survey respondents cited access to data and a shortage of AI-savvy tech employees as significant obstacles. CIOs understand that AI systems typically perform well if they are fed huge amounts of data they can learn from. CIOs at credit-card business use AI-enabled applications to speed up credit-card authentication, identify and prevent fraud, power virtual agents and personalize marketing offers.

People in the CIO position develop these and other smart tools in house by leveraging troves of customer data such as banking and purchasing history, utility information and social media habits. AI is a competitive advantage for these firms. The CIOs are really clear on what they want to solve for and how they can put their data to use. To deal with the talent shortage, CIO are ramping up training their employees in AI and other capabilities. In the U.S., companies in all industries posted 115,100 job ads for software engineers, a category that includes AI developers. The number of job posts rose by 16,400 from the month before.

Where Will The Needed Workers Come From?

Another looming threat that CIOs need to be aware of comes from large tech firms, with giant data sets and deep talent pools, which are eyeing the financial-services sector as an untapped market for growth. CIOs view “big tech” companies leveraging AI as emerging competitors in the financial-services market. Examples of what is coming include Apple which last year launched its own credit card, while Amazon is talking with banks about offering checking accounts. It is estimated that Google Pay will reach 100 million users world-wide by the end of the year. Like their big-tech rivals, financial-services firms are also dealing with regulations around the use of their customer data.

CIOs also have to deal with the U.K.’s break from the European Union. This is adding confusion to data-privacy rules set out in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. In the U.S., there are uncertainties over how strict California officials will be in enforcing a privacy law which gives residents the right to ask banks and other businesses to provide them with any collected personal data, such as individual contact information, purchases and loyalty-program history. CIOs also have to honor requests from customers to have personal data deleted.

Right now for CIOs, a lot of compliance and regulatory risk is a little bit murky. For now, CIOs at financial firms are racing to sort out compliance measures for these and other regulatory issues to avoid falling behind competitors. In order to help make this happen CIOs need more workers with the skills to implement AI algorithms. These workers are going to need to come either from schools that have reconfigured their programs to support the creation of AI experts or from internal training programs that have allowed firms to mint their own needed AI workers.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs have seen the future and the future includes artificial intelligence (AI) . CIOs are going to be busy over the next few years as they work to incorporate more and more AI-based projects into their companies. However, in order to do this they are going to need to be able to hire workers who are experts in AI and machine learning. Right now these workers are some of the hardest to find. What are CIOs going to have to do to find the workers that they will need in the future?

As CIOs start to implement AI programs, they are discovering that data privacy restrictions are making things difficult for them. Customers are starting to demand AI enabled applications and solutions. AI solutions are implements using a great deal of customer data. In order to process this data, more and more AI experts are needed. CIOs need more data to feed their AI projects and they need to work out what the current data privacy laws cover. More and more AI worker jobs are being posted. Banks and financial institutions understand that they need more AI workers.

The future will include a great deal of AI sprinkled throughout a company’s IT infrastructure. CIOs understand this and they know that they need to find the right set of workers to both implement and maintain these new AI tools. However, the challenge that they are facing is that right now there don’t seem to be enough workers with the right set of skills. This means that CIOs are going to have to go looking for the workers that they need. If they can’t find them, then they are going to have to implement training programs to create what they need. Either way, getting AI enabled workers is a new task for every CIO.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Once they get AI knowledgeable workers, how can CIOs convince them to stay?

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