New skills, new structures
The broader scope of skills needed will also drive
new management approaches. Traditional IT line
management structures will give way to matrixed
organisations as IT staff are aligned to the changing
needs of the business, and work within the
business on a short or long term project basis.
IT staff will need excellent project and programme
management skills alongside well structured, ubiquitous
change management capabilities. For example, strong
stakeholder engagement and communications abilities
will be needed to support business process analysis,
process understanding and process optimisation skills.
Within the IT organisation, the streamlined IT sourcing
strategy will drive the need for strong multivendor
management with good commercial acumen, particularly
where risk-reward commercial structures are brought into
play. In general, the ability to balance relative needs across
a much broader demand spectrum than was traditional is
encouraging the development of portfolio management
skills. Design authority and solution architect knowledge
and experience are also key to securing IT delivery and
service effectiveness as the rates of asset deployment
and re-use are increased.
Mechanisms for skills development
Evolving CIOs take a strategic, long term view of
requirements for their teams, driving skills and capability
development within their IT organisation through a
number of mechanisms.
The first mechanism is strategic resource planning to
define the future workforce profile, including career paths
with multiple development routes leveraging business and
IT to spread the skill base across the IT team. Another
mechanism is regular job rotation within both the IT
organisation and the business, which increases IT staff
exposure and their understanding of demand in areas of
the enterprise which they would not otherwise have the
chance to experience.
Where demand is predicted to ramp up suddenly, evolving
CIOs will put into place accelerators such as focused
training or shadowing programmes to address gaps in
strategic skills. The CIO might also build cross-business
and IT knowledge management communities to foster
capability and to encourage collaboration in a systematic
way, particularly around service components.
The transition from the traditional to a new IT organisation
skills profile is a big step, and one that can push hard
on the comfort zone of CIOs and their organisations.
However, CIOs need to create the headroom for
their role to evolve, which will not happen if there is
no growing skill base in the IT organisation to which
evolving CIOs can delegate responsibility.
That skill base must also contain leadership skills which
are crucial to CIOs ability to evolve their role. CIOs need
to build a strong IT leadership team around them. They
must understand and be very honest about their own
weaknesses, and bolster their team accordingly to fill
The business/IT dialogue is an art, not a science,
insists a media sector CIO we interviewed. Some of the
older ways of teaching art perhaps better called an
apprenticeship such as exposure, watching, hands-on
participation and management coaching, are coming
back into force.
Once again, attention to soft skills such as leadership, a
structured approach to change management, negotiation
and commercial understanding will yield big dividends as
the IT organisation s remit continues to expand.
Integrated collaborative environments
have shocked people into a new
paradigm in how they think about
their job and themselves. It s a
great stimulus for transforming
our way of working.
R. Blake Young, Former Senior Vice President,
Global IT & Technology, BG Group
IT needs to understand that is OK
to say no to shortfall requests, and
engage more fully to show the art
of the possible.
UK CIO, Public Sector