Monday, November 1, 2010

Skills Management

With IT being more knowledge centric and requiring an ever greater array of skill sets to get things done, one of the major challenges facing organizations today is the effective management of skills.

Now the skills can be brought on board in a number of ways. There is the option of acquiring In-House talent a.k.a. Full Time Employees. One could get Contractors (which is essentially the same thing nowadays). Consultants could be brought in as well. And then we have the ever present outsourcing option as well.

It is in the regular evaluation, analysis and relevant action in the area of employee/supplier skill set that the effective management of the organizations skills can be successfully undertaken. The ITIL body of knowledge refers to this as Supplier Management and outlines a strategy of classifying suppliers (which can be said to include employees as well) into long and short term suppliers as well as strategic or commodity suppliers. There are, of course, many different techniques and tools to perform the task of managing the skills and suppliers of the organization and these are readily available online. The focus of this post is to emphasize the need for these techniques and the warning to avoid the trap of forever being in fire-fighting mode and not ever getting to perform this important task.

There are many aspects to IT management. Some tasks are considered “essential” such as the successful completion of a critical project. Other tasks such as Skills Management are generally fall into the “we’ll get to them if we can” category. While the completion of the critical project will keep the lights on for tomorrow, it is the other tasks that distinguish a ordinary organization form a world class one.

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