The Way We Work Isn’t Working

“We cannot solve our problems with the same

thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

Making work …while the work keeps changing is a complex task, and IT keeps on complicating things. With trends like Big Data analysis, cloud, the Internet of Things, software-defined-everything, mobile first and a threat environment that just keeps growing, it’s not about staying on top of . Increasingly it’s about not falling too far behind, and that has critical implications in the skills required to survive – if not succeed – in the information economy.

According to new research from the Enterprise Strategy Group, Network Trends in the Era of Cloud and Mobile Computing, there is “a pretty substantial skills gap”:

-30% of organizations say that the network security skills of the infosec staff are inadequate in some, most, or all cases;

-44% say that the number of networking/security staff with strong knowledge in both security and networking technology is inadequate in some, most, or all cases;

-38% say that the ability of the security staff to keep up with network security changes is inadequate in some, most, or all cases;

-37% say that the ability of the security staff to keep up with the threat landscape is inadequate in some, most, or all cases; and,

-47% say that the number of employees dedicated to network security is inadequate in some, most, or all cases.

What’s troubling about this, states ESG Senior Principal Analyst Jon Oltsik, is that network security is nothing new. Even the US Senate recognizes the seriousness of the problem, but what does this say about all the new skills shortages cropping up?

Earlier this month announced Watson Analytics, a new, highly integrated cloud environment that greatly simplifies the role of the data scientist, according to Joe Clabby, Clabby . It may not solve the problem of where are all the data scientist skills going to come from, but it appears to take a big step in that direction. “From our perspective, IBM’s Analytics represents a transformative event for the analytics industry – it uses cognitive computing combined with traditional analytics to develop new insights.”

According to a recent IBM survey, most businesses are not ready for a digital work environment, and lack the focus and skills to make that change, noted Stowe Boyd, Lead Analyst, Future of Work, Gigaom Research. Published by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the report concluded that most companies lack people at all levels with the skills to take on major change initiatives large enough to transform the business.

Big Blue is doing more than publishing this and a variety of related reports about the changes driving the new work place, and has not restricted itself to Watson Analytics. IBM also announced cloud-based solutions and a Talent and Change consulting practice to be delivered through its Smarter Workforce initiative.

“Most successful organizations already view people as their most important differentiator in the market, yet many still struggle to unlock the true potential of their workforce,” said Debbie Landers, General Manager, Smarter Workforce and Kenexa, IBM, in a prepared statement. “The new offerings give clients a more holistic, data-driven approach that uses workforce science to predict the best fit for an individual or team across a number of personal and organizational traits.”

Change and change programs are very hard, IBM’s Jonathan Ferrar, VP of Human Resources, Workforce Analytics, told IT Trends & Analysis. “The purpose of all of these studies is to understand those factors… which will shine a light and guide business users in the right direction. How do you make things sticky in organizations?”

Ferrar said there were a number of key insights provided by the IBV study, including:

-20% of respondents said they were successful in managing change, “a massively small number”;

-almost 9 out of 10, 87%, said there is not enough focus put on change ; and,

-only 4 out of 10 believe they have the right skills.

The stars of the survey, what IBM calls the “outperformers” and “change architects”, represented 22% of the 1,400 executives involved. Ferrar said these organizations do three things: they lead at all levels of the organization; they build the muscle around the organization to make things successful; and they make the change matter to the organization within the organization!

The new consulting practice will help organizations accomplish these success factors, said Ferrar. We need to help the C-suite leaders with a number of things: change management; build consensus, understanding and people’s engagement towards whatever you’re trying to achieve; and help organizations move from legacy technologies to cloud technologies, specifically in the HR environment. A fourth area is analytics, helping business leaders in the HR space set up and manage analytics.

“These are fairly significant changes that could easily affect 20, 30, 50, 100% of your organization.” It’s clear to us, he said, that the world of human resource management is undergoing continuous change, and it must be better equipped to deal with that.


Author: Steve Wexler

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