Finding Genuine Talent in the Artificial World – An Interview with Erick Swaine of Mackenzie Ryan Executive Search
Thirteenth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe. From the soon to be released book, “Tomorrow’s Jobs Today.”
Erick Swaine is a practice director for Mackenzie Ryan, a global talent recruiting firm. He specializes in Information Governance, AI and Analytics. He has placed thousands of job candidates across a wide spectrum of industries into mid-level to executive leadership positions and speaks frequently on their journeys and the mechanics of professional development. He received his Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I spoke with him in July about today’s recruitment process, outsourcing strategies and the nuances of succession planning in the information age.
Erick, you were an early pioneer in helping employers understand the value and talent that information governance, AI, and analytics professionals offered when these disciplines were in their infancy. How has the demand for these emerging fields transformed recruiting in the job market?
There’s a lot to unpack there as it relates to tech itself, the demand for these emerging fields and how that has transformed over the years. I come from the industry myself. Prior to my current role I sold analytics software with built in compliance and document management capabilities. Our firm recognized value in analytics and was looking to build a technology practice. Mackenzie Ryan, which split off from Personify last year (both held under Mackenzie Ryan Holdings) didn’t have it when I came abroad so they went to their private equity VC partners and asked them, “Where are you investing as it relates to technology?” There was a resounding theme around electronically stored information. This was about a dozen years ago. At that point not everyone had a content management system. The players were SharePoint, OpenText, and OnBase and companies like Stellent, which was later picked up by Oracle, and Filenet, which was picked up by IBM. But they hadn’t penetrated all the markets. Early on the investment was in Content Management and overall repositories. It was really a soup-to-nuts storage of data, you know, manipulating workflows for all components of information management.
Overall, the human capital demand is there because of the efficiency that you can create by understanding your data. The newfound efficiency is driving advanced analytics and AI over the last five to six years, with massive amounts of investments around how we make decisions around these resources. This strategy requires the right talent.
As companies started to evolve, and you had social media come into play, around the same time, there were massive amounts of electronically stored data being created. Although storage kept getting cheaper and cheaper, there was a lot of regulation coming out requiring governance of data. Many of them looked at the discipline of Information Governance as a cost only, and then hopped over into advanced analytics. Over the last three or four years, they have moved more into Artificial Intelligence.
Yet, it’s all about making sense of the data that we’re already storing, and probably not defensibly disposing of. What the new technology has done for both large and small employers is really allow these companies to make data-driven decisions, and they drive those decisions based on a lot of historical legacy data. We noticed there are several companies that either used advanced analytics platforms or AI for internal knowledge management (to enhance institutional knowledge and train their people better), or they began aggregating and analyzing the data in order to develop additional revenue streams externally.
Overall, the human capital demand is there because of the efficiency that you can create by understanding your data, and that has driven, especially in advanced analytics and AI over the last five to six years, massive amounts of investments around how we drive decisions around these resources. Continue reading “Finding Genuine Talent in the Artificial World – An Interview with Erick Swaine of Mackenzie Ryan Executive Search”