This week I discussed the CIO agenda and outlook for 2011 at a CIO roundtable. I shared our finding that CIOs are challenged in developing the skills and capabilities they need, and their most effective techniques involve outsourcing and the use of contractors, which is not a sustainable solution on its own.
The CIOs present mentioned a number of practical concerns, including:
- the lack of a pipeline of high quality IT graduates, at least partly driven by IT not being seen an attractive career path
- a question as to whether IT education was keeping pace with industry needs
- a lack of graduate entry points, or a defined career path, in a highly outsourced model
- very limited pools of resource for certain skills, including enterprise architects, relationship managers and strategic vendor managers
There was a sense that in the longer term, the cloud might help with the people problem, but for now it was a real issue. Some of the solutions discussed include:
- switching from role-based hiring to capability-based hiring
- on that basis, being able to recruit those with the right capabilities from other areas
- forming closer links with universities to help them prepare students, and to be the employer of choice for graduates
- CIOs working together to sensitize their national governments to this issue (although it was acknowledged that this was, to put it mildly, tough)
More generally, I often find that business leaders and IT leaders acknowledge the primacy of human capital management issues in achieving sustained success, but their strategies don’t often reflect that. The people portion of their strategies is often none existent or perfunctory.
The message – get innovative, creative and serious about the human capital management part of your IT strategy, ensure your HR partner is IT-savvy, and include real people metrics in your IT scorecard.
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