Does your IT staff have what it takes?

When you’re in charge of a company or a country, what do you value most? Is it what’s right in front of you or the opportunity that you can see on the horizon? Do you focus on the current money flows in your company? Perhaps it’s a cash cow that you can’t seem to distance yourself from.. Or do you have a strategy that will give your company strength irrespective of external influences?

Where did these questions come from? It all happened over coffee… Earlier this week I had coffee with an accountant and we started talking about the state of the Australian economy and what the reasons could be for the current drop in the exchange rate against the US Dollar. For over two years it seemed the AUD was getting stronger and stronger and nothing seemed to change, and then all of a sudden this happened:

USD exchange rate and how it relates to IT staff

I am sure there are a lot of businesses very happy about this drop as it makes export and Australian tourism a lot more interesting… at least a lot more profitable.

IT Staff need to be prepared for change

So what does this have to do with humans and human capital? Well – everything! What do you do when everything around you seems stable? Let’s focus on the IT Industry and the need for IT Professionals. (one could even argue that the graph above could be true for the need of internal IT Professionals within companies). Why prepare for change when you’re an SAP consultant for example. Or why learn about new technologies when you’re a .net programmer? Doesn’t every company rely on Microsoft technologies? Surely your job is stable and secure? Surely I don’t need to budget for IT training and education? They learnt that in school and my team are doing a great job supporting our internal IT systems.

But what if… what if your IT Services don’t keep up with demand anymore? What if “Service Now” becomes the new SAP? What if analysis of Big Data and Pattern recognition is the most important skill for the future of a business?

It’s an easy trap to just focus on past experiences and past successes and to continue to ‘mine’ the financial results based on what used to work. After all – every large corporation had internal Data Centers so your job was guaranteed. These days that isn’t so sure any more.

Truly great and competitive companies prepare for multiple scenarios – one of them to run the business without an internal Data Center or without SAP or without on site Servers that run on Microsoft technology. What other skills do your employees have that can be utilised  Do you have a team that is used to constant learning and do you keep them educated and challenged to look for new technologies, business methods an management frameworks?

Are your human resources valuable or a hindrance in your quest to capitalise on the opportunities that appear on the horizon? Does your IT staff have what it takes?

Think about it… and adjust your IT training budgets accordingly! It’s not too late…

 

6 thoughts on “Does your IT staff have what it takes?

  • […] <… snippet from Friday’s post… > So what does this have to do with humans and human capital? Well – everything! What do you do when everything around you seems stable? Let’s focus on the IT Industry and the need for IT Professionals. (one could even argue that the graph above could be true for the need of internal IT Professionals within companies). <… end snippet – read complete post here> […]

  • Ivanka

    Hi Paul,
    Yes – great comments and I absolutely agree that educating people is more than just making sure we tick the box of certification.

    Today’s post is the first step in my reply to Bart (and others ) who challenged me to elaborate and share a clear opinion. Running a business / company is more than the sum of people you employ: you need to actively support them to find their own strengths and vision on how they can support your company’s goals. This empowerment is stronger than any Foundation level certificate out there…

    ivankamenken.com/your-it-career-are-you-an-opportunistic-visionary-or-a-cautious-practitioner/

  • Ivanka hi, long time….I totally endorse the need to continually invest in human capital (in some countries human capital investments are also on the balance sheets) which includes knowledge management practices, mentoring/coaching, formalized training, personal development plans, hiring policies etc. …..I’d also like to see you expand on what your advice for training in your next series as a follow on to this. By training we don’t mean sending eveybody to ITIL training ( for example) so that we can tick and measure our human capital KPI – 95% of IT employees ITIL certified…..I also mean how do you ensure that the training investment actually delivers measurable value and business impact. making sure you have defined the ‘Return on Value’ of your training investment. there is an example on our website if you are interested I’ll send you a link if you like. Keep up the good work. Bart, if you see this, nice to see you are still actively challenging people and throwing down gauntlets.

  • Bart Van Brabant

    Hi Ivanka,

    Nice challenging text, but I wonder if you would go for a bit more elaboration. You tease me, and probably other people as well, but we need to see more here.

    Although the writing is great, it look like the opening paragraph of something much bigger.

    So, the glove is on the ground…do you pick it up?

    Bart Van Brabant

    • Ivanka

      Bart, it’s been a while since somebody called me a tease so consider the challenge accepted! Stay tuned for the sequel…

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