Digital business skills shortage looms: May the poaching begin

Forrester projects that CXOs, vendors and the IT ecosystem will be obsessed with digital business transformation. The catch: There won't be enough expertise to go around.

If 2015 is going to be the year of digital transformation for CXOs it's also going to come with a major skills shortage.

That takeaway jumps out from a series of 2015 predictions by Forrester Research covering digital business and the state of the chief information officer.

Consider the following mix from Forrester's crystal ball, which rhymes with Gartner :

  • CIOs will spend most of their new project budget on business technology projects---especially in industrial products, insurance and media.
  • These CIOs will embrace the cloud and follow GE's model, which revolves around switching to cloud-based apps and decommissioning internal software. Over the next five years, GE will shut down most of its 32 data centers in a hybrid cloud approach.
  • The relationship with CMOs will solidify as the two roles are critical for digital transformation.
  • There will be confusion on who owns digital transformation projects as the CEO, CIO and CMO all stake claims.
  • Vendors will yap incessantly about enabling digital business.

The monkey wrench here is that there's a skills gap that may screw up everything. The telecom industry is the only one where 30 percent of respondents think they have the necessary people and skills to enable digital transformation. And I'd argue the telecom industry may just be delusional.

Bottom line: CXOs will need some recruitment strategy for finding digital business talent. May the poaching begin.