Selling The SFIA IT Skills Framework To Your IT Leadership Team

Andy Andrews

“Skills management is not a priority for us, we’ve got enough on our hands to worry about that!“ This isn’t an uncommon sentiment from members of the IT executive team, managers and employees in response to a proposal to utilise the excellent skills framework for ICT professionals, SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age – see below for reference). At Lexonis we have learned that the biggest cause of success vs failure is helping every sponsor, stakeholder or participant to understand how they will benefit from a skills management initiative, and this engagement starts from the top, your IT Leadership team.

“Digital Transformation, DevOps, Agile, Cybersecurity” may be hot topics taking their attention at the moment, but do they know that the latest version of SFIA helps IT departments to define the professional skills to address these skill areas and many more besides? Not only that but SFIA defines well-articulated levels of proficiency for each skill and levels of responsibility that can be used to develop and update job descriptions.

So, our first tip is to choose ‘hot’ areas of interest, either because they are industry trends or because you know that they are ‘pain points’ for your organisation.

Also consider, what are some of the real-world applications that SFIA can be applied to, which may help to ‘sell’ the framework to your IT Leaders?

Here are a couple of examples of how you might think about this…

Your IT Leadership team is interested in business improvement and performance. Since SFIA can be used to consistently define the skills, knowledge and levels of proficiency required to drive excellent performance, the connection is a logical one. The performance of the IT function is directly related to the skills of its constituent teams, managers and employees. Not only does this relate to the degree of performance, but also to the alignment of performance with the organisation’s IT business strategy.

For example, consider the performance of the Technical Support team within the organisation; the link between the performance of the team and customer satisfaction is a very obvious one. Good customer satisfaction leads to happy and retained customers. Modelling the skills of a high-performing Technical Support person can help to identify skills gaps for learning and development purposes, improve your recruitment criteria and so on. If this leads to a 10% improvement in performance, consider the impact it will have on customer satisfaction and ultimately on the organisation’s P & L. What about a 20 or 30% improvement?

Another area of keen interest to the Senior Leadership Team is simply having the reassurance that its workforce has the capability to continue to operate, despite unexpected departures. Which skills are critical to the smooth running of the organisation? Which ones are at risk and how would the organisation most effectively bridge them if the unexpected occurred? How is it possible to answer any of these questions successfully if the skills of the workforce have not been captured and measured against a consistent framework such as SFIA? This is something that only an effective skills management program can achieve.

Most importantly, the closer you make the rationale for skills management to the IT function’s business strategy and its ‘bottom line’, the more likely you are to sell a skills approach and SFIA to your IT Leadership team.

At Lexonis we have developed a Project Launch Pack that we use whenever we implement SFIA for our clients. So, if you are interested in selling SFIA to your IT Leadership team or to any one of your other stakeholders or sponsors, have a chat with one of our SFIA Accredited Consultants.

Attend our free Lexonis webinar ‘3 Hot IT Talent Management Topics – How SFIA 7 Can Help’ on 13th September 2018  to learn more about making the most of SFIA.

Also, read more about the changes in SFIA 7 in our blog post ‘SFIA Version 7  – What’s all the Excitement About?’

The compelling reasons for IT skills management are greater than can covered in this blog (visit https://www.sfia-online.org/en/framework/sfia-7/sfia-and-skills-management for some more ideas).

Useful Resources and Links:


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