"Technology has become so critical to business success that the type of engineering skills we need are similar to what a pure technology company has," says Atish Banerjea, executive vice president and CIO at NBCUniversal.
As an international media company, NBCUniversal needs to attract top IT talent, not only to work on traditional enterprise IT jobs, but also to handle other projects. For example, says Banerjea, "our ad sales organization is on the ground, responsible for doing portfolio selling across all of our brands, but the technology systems were fragmented. Each brand had its own system. We needed to put them into one platform to make them capable of real-time analytics."
To attract IT professionals who have the skills he needs, Banerjea, 49, is sending the message that NBCUniversal isn't an old-school media company. "We have created a state-of-the-art facility in New Jersey with modern facilities such as open, collaborative spaces and virtual halls connecting people to parts of the company in Los Angeles and London," he says.
He also works closely with Temple University. "When kids are about to graduate," he says, "we are talking to them so we can match their skills and disciplines with the skills we need inside the organization."
Banerjea adds that it's also critical to hold on to existing IT staffers. "We have very strong technologists with a lot of business expertise who we want to retain," he says. For example, while some IT employees may want to move into management, others prefer to remain in technical roles. Banerjea makes sure there are growth opportunities for both.
"If you want to be a high-tech, forward-thinking company," he says, "then your facilities, your work/life policies and your compensation have to reflect that."