IT departments suffer from reverse skills gap

IT specialists need to become generalists in order to survive

powering digital skills

Businesses are suffering from a reverse IT skills gap, according to research from VCE, the converged infrastructure wing of the EMC Federation.

The investigation, which has been published in a report called Endangered IT, showed many IT workers are at risk of becoming obsolete because they are too specialised in disciplines that are increasingly being outsourced.

Speaking at a roundtable held in London to launch the report, EMEA CTO of VCE Nigel Moulton said: "Traditional IT people still think very much in the 'build it yourself mentality', [whereas] business leaders want them to think in the buy/acquire capability mentality.

"So here you start to see a set of data that actually, when we go down this route, the traditional approach is not going to serve us well."

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The survey showed that the move towards "buy", which is to say cloud and managed services, leads to a reduction in IT budgets but also exposes a significant skills gap between IT workers, the way that they interact with each other, and the way they interact with other areas of the business.

"If you think about the way that IT has been traditionally constructed, I have siloes of IT people in my IT department  I have storage guys, I have server people, I have network people, I have virtualisation people and I have this bunch of guys called app developers who are responsible for creating the end product," explained Moulton.

"But those divisions within IT don't speak to each other and when they do it's a completely different set of languages... because the languages that they use are embedded in the technologies that they know," he said.

This communication problem can become even more stark when they are dealing, or failing to deal with, other areas of the business, which leads to departments acquiring their own technology outside the purview of the IT department.

But all is not lost. According to the survey, some CIOs are now taking action to train their staff so they understand multiple disciplines and not just one. That also requires them to become more integrated with the rest of the business, particularly their C-suite colleagues, to better understand its overall needs and champion the IT department.

"The executives leading IT and those leading business functions need to and common ground in terms of the technology challenges and opportunities facing the business over the coming years," the report concludes.

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