Two-thirds of organizations are not adequately addressing the infrastructure and operations (I&O) skills gaps that will impede their digital business initiatives, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com). Successful I&O organizations will need to implement vastly different roles and technologies during the next five years, adds the research group.
Gartner forecasts that, by 2019, IT technical specialist hires will fall by more than 5%. Moreover, by 2021, 40%of IT staff will hold multiple roles, most of which will be business-related rather than technology-related.
“What made I&O leaders successful in the past is not what will make them thrive in the future,” said Hank Marquis, research director at Gartner. “Instead of focusing on the ‘what’ of I&O jobs — such as technical knowledge, education and training — I&O leaders need to shift their focus to the ‘how’ — the behavioral competencies required.”
According to Marquis, IT operations organizations are being forced to redefine their roles and value propositions from those of technology providers, to become trusted advisors and differentiated business partners. The challenge is that most I&O professionals don’t yet have the broad skillsets that organizations will need from them.
Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 75% of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to I&O skills gaps, which is an increase from less than 20% in 2016. Given the lack of digital dexterity for hire, I&O leaders must begin by developing these skills with the talent they already have. Most companies don’t have an accurate inventory of the available skills of their current IT workforces, so this must be a first step.
“Corporate digital business universities will eventually emerge to close the skills gap. Experience-based career paths with formal mentoring for and within I&O will become standard for individual development,” said Marquis. “In the meantime, I&O leaders should work hand-in-hand with HR to shift away from position-based development, develop a tactical skills gap analysis, and utilize tools and methods for improving I&O skills in-house.”