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When Kent Nagano stands in front of one of the world's oldest orchestras in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie and raises his baton, he is conducting a complex interplay of instruments, musicians and sheet music. The musicians have to master their instruments; there are specialists for violin and double bass, but also musicians who can play several instruments, for example triangle and timpani: specialists and generalists come together. Just like musicians in an orchestra, IT organisations need to ensure that their teams have the right skills and work together harmoniously, whether in the areas of DevOps, cloud or strategic alignment as a business partner.

The best ideas, processes or developments are useless if the necessary IT skills are not available, teams and organisations do not develop further or the skill mix in the team is not right.

Professional skills management provides answers to these challenges. This refers to the identification, development, evaluation and management of skills in an organisation. Just like in an orchestra, it ensures that the right skills are available and meet the company's objectives and requirements.

The ability of IT organisations to adapt to the latest developments has already become a critical success factor. Those who fail to change, develop their employees and attract new talent will fall by the wayside. Adaptability is the secret to success in times of great uncertainty and change.

Expertise management helps with this. But surprisingly few companies are adequately prepared for this. In our consulting work, we meet many managers who are aware that their company will encounter skills gaps in the coming years or already has them. Most of them also realise that upskilling and reskilling, i.e. the targeted further development of employees in line with strategic business objectives, is the core of the solution. Nevertheless, only a few IT organisations have already implemented skills management.

In order to master future and current challenges, IT organisations therefore need a granular and up-to-date understanding of the existing skills and skill gaps of their employees and professional skills management for the further development of skills.

Skills analysis - we need data

The first step in skills management is skills analysis. The granular assessment of which skills are available in an organisation creates the basis for skills management. To do this, we first need a skill taxonomy, a structure for recording skills. Just as an orchestra interprets its performance using a score, a skills taxonomy provides a structured guide to describing skills and competences in the IT industry. The taxonomy acts as a score for organisations by providing a common language and structure for describing skills. It helps companies to identify competences, recognise gaps and create development plans for their employees.

We can draw on international standards such as the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and adapt these to the needs of the organisation where necessary. Skill gaps - recognising and closing gaps

Once we know what skills are available, we can use the strategic requirements and identification of critical skills to identify potential gaps in the organisation. At this point, the development or integration of roles and career levels can also provide a further level of analysis. How many employees have the necessary competences for their role? What skills are missing for the strategic requirements of the IT organisation? Where does the organisation have monopoly knowledge, strengths and weaknesses? The data from the skills analysis helps us to find answers to these questions.

We initiate reskilling and upskilling measures to close potential gaps: Targeted further development through individual learning paths that managers develop together with their employees. Another option is to integrate sought-after skills into the recruitment process.

In addition, skills management enables further measures to strengthen the required skills, such as knowing which employees and skills will be retiring in the foreseeable future, which skills are only exercised by a few employees or where skills are hidden. The larger an organisation is, the more difficult it is to gain an overview of a company's competencies at management level.

Our consulting services

Skill management, which is modelled on a well-orchestrated orchestra, can help companies to manage, develop and deploy their employees effectively.

We offer three comprehensive consulting services in the area of skills management to take companies to the next level of performance:

  • With our Skill Assessment, we support companies in selecting and applying suitable methods to assess their employees' competences through external or internal assessment methods. In addition, we support the design of a precise skills taxonomy, which can be based on proven frameworks such as SFIA or e-CF, or on customised models tailored to the company's specific requirements. Optionally, we also provide support in the selection of suitable IT systems to make the process efficient.
  • As part of skills development, we carry out detailed ACTUAL analyses of your existing skills. We create TARGET analyses based on strategic requirements and identify skills gaps to enable targeted development measures. We also provide support in the creation of competency-based role and job profiles.
  • Our Skill Governance Services are aimed at the long-term and sustainable establishment of your skills management framework. We provide support from the conception and introduction to the operationalisation of the framework and design processes, roles, committees, tasks and responsibilities according to individual requirements. In addition, we offer management and champion enablement as well as various multiplier and self-assessment concepts to ensure that skills management is firmly anchored in the corporate culture and successfully implemented in the long term.

Would you like to know how we can effectively support your company in overcoming current and future challenges? Then get in touch with us. Our experts will be happy to help you.

Contact us now

You can find more exciting topics from the world of adesso in our previous blog posts.

Picture Patrick Bauer

Author Patrick Bauer

Patrick Bauer is a Consultant in CIO Advisory at adesso. He advises clients in the areas of strategy and organisational development. He has experience in agile methods, OKR, project and skills management.

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