Wilbury Stratton has recently completed research on the rising importance of omnichannel within customer service and the impact that has on talent acquisition. With new capabilities available in predictive analytics that enhance the customer experience a great many consumer-facing businesses have looked to modernise their customer services IT systems. In some cases, businesses are replacing decades old systems.

Despite common goals across companies and even across industries, there has been little convergence across the organisations we looked at in how such transformational projects ought to be managed and run. All the companies we looked at have differed significantly in methodology, organisational design, alignment, reliance on internal subject matter expertise and the use of partners.

This lack of a common methodology has led to an extremely diverse talent pool. Transformation generalists, omnichannel architects and contact centre SMEs all take the lead on relevant initiatives. The talent pool has also been shaped significantly by the project-based nature of the work. With few exceptions, the most relevant professionals in this market are accustomed to taking roles with a definite duration, and expect to move on to a new project on completion.

This has understandably led to the development of a vibrant contractor market: the best and most specific experience is almost always found in this way, and virtually every company doing customer services transformation has made significant use of contractors to deliver on transformational projects.

These companies also make significant use of outsourcers and suppliers for project delivery, in some cases outsourcing the entire solution (i.e. both the systems and operations side of contact centres). Even where this is not the case, suppliers and outsourcers are heavily utilised in the delivery of a customer services transformation. Relevant transformation leaders may not have a formal team at all, instead relying entirely or almost entirely on the available external expertise.

Even where junior resource is internal, it is typically drawn from the wider IT function on a project basis, with little thought given to succession planning or the development of subject matter expertise. Because of this, it can be particularly challenging to find ‘step-up’ candidates for any role in this space, as no project has lasted long enough to institutionalise a formal career path for anyone involved with the work.

The best way to pursue talent in this market, therefore, is to search broadly rather than deeply, looking across a wide range of organisations for what may well be only one or two people – and often contractors – doing relevant work directly.

Capable talent is also likely to be found in technology companies, systems integrators and consulting organisations, as well as by engaging directly with the contractor market.

The deepest and most specific subject matter expertise is found in this side of the market, rather than in even the most advanced organisations with respect to customer services IT.