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Tomorrow's Essential IT Competencies

Thursday, March 6, 2008   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Steve Guengerich
As the role of the AITP professional becomes increasingly important in today's multi-faceted business environment, locating proper talent remains a crucial step to success. However, the constant flux and expansion of technology presents a challenge to define the core competencies-skills, behaviors, knowledge and experience-necessary to keep IT organizations on top of their game.

Findings from a recent research report called "Tomorrow's Essential IT Competencies" by BSG Concours, the research arm of BSG Alliance Corp., suggest tools to uncover required competencies. The research sponsored in part by ConocoPhillips, Marriott International and Merck, offers recommendations for executing successful IT talent management.

The Forces at Work Changing IT

First, take into account the forces at work. BSG Concours sees IT organizations morph into business-IT hybrids, covering new territory in non-traditional areas, including business process management, innovation and integration, while technology speeds ahead, requiring up-to-date expertise.

Top that with the growing emphasis on managing the business demand for IT services and the increased importance of information assets, and you've got a lot to consider before determining an adequate skill set. At the same time, dynamic business demographics forecast a potentially paralyzing IT retirement wave and reveal a failure of technical education to meet demand,
making these competencies all the more critical.

The resulting need is a framework for talent readiness, designed to prepare for and anticipate supply and demand shifts. It must accommodate three phases of demand:current resources acting at present,growth and development activities to provide support in the not-so-distant future, and innovation to meet long-term needs.

Fluidity is key.

Key Findings and Recommendations
Broadly speaking, the research suggests a definite need for stronger business competencies and a deliberate effort to search out and maintain
applicable talent.

A group of ever-present, key competencies will retain importance in the future.

These include: understanding the business, creating new and different business opportunities, managing diverse relationships and getting work done through others,managing risk, and managing IT processes.

In considering this group, a company must also analyze its maturity level in order to target appropriate competencies.

Of the aforementioned traits, understanding the business prevails as one of the most essential measures to be taken by IT organizations, and extensive training in business acumen takes center stage. Meanwhile technical competency becomes just one of many necessary skills, and rotation programs place employees on a path toward more well-rounded development. Social learning, through training and networking, serves as a tool to bolster this process.

Finally, companies must adopt an integrated talent management strategy to keep up with dynamic demands and build a workforce with the most effective skill set and motivation. In the wake of boomer retirement and talent shortage, organizations will have to reevaluate what kind of talent shall be recruited and how it will be obtained to optimize success in today's constantly changing environment.

Steve Guengerich is an officer in the Region 3 Austin Chapter of AITP
and the Chief Learning Officer of BSG Alliance Corp., whose on demand platform of applications, information, and processes helps transform companies into Next Generation Enterprises.

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