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ATDC – Creating a workforce for the future of IT

Venkata Achanti

In the digital era, finding the right skills is a challenge. In 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that within the Information Technology sector, there were 1.4 jobs available for every unemployed person. The gap is even bigger for emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and automation, where a pool of talent doesn’t yet exist. This can leave companies without the talent they need to take their transformation agendas forward and succeed in the digital era.

One of the ways Capgemini has responded to this challenge is with our new Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). The first of its kind and located in Columbia, South Carolina, Capgemini’s ATDC was designed to create a workforce that is skilled in the latest technologies to better serve our clients. The ATDC recruits recent graduates and experienced professionals, provides them with extensive training and reskilling, and engages them in interesting projects in emerging areas such as cloud, cybersecurity, intelligent automation, customer experience, and Salesforce.

At the ATDC Columbia, a future-ready team of 250+ experts has been able to help our clients bridge the digital talent gap by providing those hard-to-find skills in emerging technologies. Given the demand for these resources, we’re planning on expanding to other locations throughout the United States to ensure we’re meeting our clients’ needs. However, given the dearth of talent skilled in the latest technologies, organizations also need to think about how to revitalize their existing teams in order to succeed in the digital era.

Here are our top three key learnings that IT leaders should keep in mind as they strive to build and retain a workforce ready for the future world of work:

1. Get serious about training

While recruiting the latest and greatest talent should be part of any successful IT organization’s strategy, training and upskilling of both new and existing employees is increasingly critical. In fact, at a time where technology continues to evolve at lightning speed and the most cutting-edge skills are in scarce supply, having a solid training strategy in place is the only way to ensure success over the long term.

In view of this, we have made a concerted effort to develop and deliver a world-class training and career development program that offers ongoing professional development and enables rapid upskilling. Our program includes well-defined career paths, customized professional development plans, comprehensive and flexible training programs in the newest technologies, and regular certifications.

Making professional development a priority and implementing a training plan that encourages continual learning and rapid upskilling will help ensure that you recruit and retain the talent needed to deliver on your digital objectives.

2. Create a community of collaboration

In the digital world, everything is connected. We’ve found that as the speed of business continues to accelerate, the best results come from collaboration, whether that means aligning business and IT more closely or bringing together different disciplines to solve new challenges. Because of this, we have focused on building a community of collaboration at the ATDC.

We’ve done this is by reversing the typical “traveling consultant” model. Traditionally, our consultants travel to client sites and remain away from most team-members for extended periods of time. While this is still an extremely valuable way of collaborating with clients, in today’s cross-disciplinary environment, it’s important that our experts work side by side with other teams. This allows them to gain exposure to different ideas that can then inspire and influence their own projects.

And it’s not just about our employees. We also encourage our clients to come and work collaboratively with us at the ATDC. Additionally, we help ATDC team members tap into our global network of talent and gain access to learnings and best practices from projects of all types. We also work closely with universities to ensure that we’re bringing the latest and greatest thinking to our clients.

No matter how your team is organized, finding ways to break down silos and improve collaboration is critical for success in a digital world in which boundaries are increasingly blurred and ideas can and should come from anywhere.

3. Think outside the box

As digital transformation took hold, organizations fundamentally needed to shift the way they work to build teams that look nothing like the IT departments of the past. While having the right skills in place is critical for this transformation, we’ve found that it’s also important to build an environment that encourages new ways of thinking and working.

Because we built the ATDC to be an innovation incubator for our clients, we knew we would need to take an out-of-the-box approach to the physical space. Ensuring that the office layout is conducive to collaboration was of course an important factor in the design, but we also wanted the space to push boundaries in other ways. That led us to select a location in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, which is the upcoming technology hub in the US.

This non-traditional choice meant to encourage fresh thinking and approaches. An unconventional office space is also helpful in retaining the next generation of workers that is looking for their work life to blend more seamlessly with their personal lives.

Despite the scarcity of digital skills, IT leaders everywhere need to ensure their teams have the next-generation capabilities to deliver on digital initiatives. Capgemini’s ATDC is both a source of cutting-edge talent and an example of how to ensure your workforce is ready for the challenges of both today and tomorrow.

For more information about the ATDC and how you can prepare your team for the future of the world of work, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via LinkedIn or connect with me on the Capgemini experts page.