Efficiency and Service Delivery Driving IT Skills Demand

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The need to improve the delivery of processes and services was the most important factor driving demand for IT skills over the past year. a Forrester survey has revealed.

The analyst questioned 139 senior IT leaders earlier this year, and found that improving execution (26 percent), the need for greater consistency of processes and services (22 percent) and business growth (20 percent) were the main drivers for businesses looking to improve or bring new skills inot the IT department.

Decreases in staffing demand tended to be driven by cost reduction (for 58 percent of respondents), followed by automation or virtualisation (for 20 percent of respondents).

In his What's driving demand for key IT roles? report, Forrester analyst Marc Cecere, said that the drivers for increasing demand were not surprising.

"The need to improve IT process execution is at the top of most CIOs' priority lists," he said.

"That greater consistency of processes and services was close to execution in importance reflects the tremendous interest in developing global processes and services."

In contrast, the survey found that cost reduction (nine percent) and managing outsourcing (four percent) had little effect on increased demand .

"Most IT leaders have been aggressively reducing costs over the past few years and already have the expertise in-house to continue this. Managing outsourcing is only of interest to those who are expanding outsourcing and currently lack the skills to do so," Cecere explained.

Forrester found that portfolio management (36 percent) and project management roles (44 percent) were in more demand as businesses strived to improve execution, as these roles needed to be able to allocate resources effectively, while killing off bad ideas quickly.

Increased consistency, however, drove the demand for service management and process design skills.

"To build more consistent processes, you need people who understand how services are designed, sourced, and executed, as well as highly specialised people to design the processes that enable these services," said Cecere.

In addition, client relationship management roles were also more in demand as businesses tried to attain business growth. Cecere said that this was because this goal needs people who are able to manage the relationship with business leaders, and those with skills in strategy, data and business analysis.

Although common activities that companies are doing today require a broad range of skills, for example legacy system re-engineering and the creation of more consistent business and IT processes, Cecere believes that in the future, there may be more demand for a narrow set of skills.

"New technologies such as the iPad or new services such as cloud, when mainstream, will drive a narrower range of skills.

"As of today, this is not being felt, though we expect the increasing use of mobile devices and cloud services to change the mix of skills required," he said.

This story, "Efficiency and Service Delivery Driving IT Skills Demand" was originally published by Computerworld UK.

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