How Good Competency Planning Helps Drive SITA’s Success

A driving goal for SITA is to be recognised as an employer of choice in what is a highly competitive market for excellent talent. Attracting and retaining top talent is fundamental to maintaining their competitive position as an expert technology adviser and solution provider to their clients.

They truly understand the need to offer their staff a successful and rewarding career with SITA, and to this end they took feedback from their annual employee engagement survey and commissioned Lexonis to help them implement a competency planning infrastructure.

The Challenge

SITA is a technology company that depends on a highly skilled workforce. SITA’s value comes from their technical expertise – whether it is consulting, solution development and deployment or maintenance. Success is built on clients’ trust in that expertise. In order to maintain a competitive edge, they must maintain their level of expertise. This presents two core objectives: to understand strategic capability required to support current and future business need; and to attract, retain and develop the right highly skilled individuals to fulfil this need.

A number of challenges presented themselves in the journey to meet these objectives:

• Existing career paths were not clear, well defined or usable – no clear progression for staff is a demotivating factor.

• Content was being held in document format and not integrated with SITA’s existing systems – causing inefficiencies and difficulties in managing competencies

• A holistic view of strategic capability was not available – making it difficult to identify capability requirements

• SITA maintained many legacy systems requiring technical capability that was rapidly approaching retirement age – it was critical that SITA manage knowledge transfer

The Solution

Focusing initially on the Technology Management profession at SITA, Lexonis worked with the team to implement a scalable competency management solution that would support these objectives and deliver these necessary outcomes:

• Ability to clearly define capability requirements that meet business and client needs

• Provide learning plans and clear competency-based career paths

• Include development opportunities for individual contributors (technical experts) as well as for management roles

• Improve engagement between staff and managers

• Identify and capitalise on SITA’s existing internal capability

• Utilise SITA’s existing learning assets and platform

• Understand strategic capability and identify skills gaps

The solution comprised three core pillars: initial consultancy; competency frameworks; and an online competency management and assessment tool.

Consulting for success

Lexonis consulted with SITA to understand their business, their skills and how best to optimise existing assets. A competency management solution comprising IBM competency frameworks and Lexonis’ competency management and assessment software was the agreed solution.


Competency Frameworks

Through careful analysis of the IT competency framework from IBM (the IBM IT Talent

Framework) compared with another excellent public domain IT skills framework, Lexonis helped SITA conclude that the IBM framework was ideally suited to their needs – it covers more areas and goes into finer detail, it includes a greater depth of functional competencies.

Chris Webb, Head of Quality Assurance at SITA and a key driver for the initial project explains;

“Without the IBM IT Talent Framework, the process of developing competencies would otherwise be extremely expensive in terms of time and cost. We also knew that we would need other frameworks to cover the rest of the organisation and buying into the solution from Lexonis and IBM meant that we could add other frameworks and that they would be consistent – future extensibility and consistency were important to us.”

Lexonis TalentScape

Lexonis TalentScape software enables SITA to capture employee competencies, analyse gaps, create individual competency based learning plans, develop career paths and identify people with the right competencies to use on projects.

Using the framework, Lexonis online consulting tools and with the help of Lexonis’ consultants, SITA were able to identify and define competency-based job profile definitions and well-structured career streams. Chris Webb summarises; “The Lexonis solution, including the IBM framework helps us to understand the capability of the organisation, how many people have each competency, what their level of expertise is and where our biggest skill shortages are – useful from a risk assessment, workforce planning, learning and development and succession management perspective.”

The Results

Ultimately, with the ability to maintain their high level of skills and capability, SITA can continue to deliver first class service to their customers and maintain their competitive edge.

• Strategic capability gap analysis – comprehensive capability planning ensures SITA can identify the right skills needed to meet client needs, and enables them to set appropriate development goals

• Clearly defined, accessible career development paths – greatly improve skills development and motivation, safeguarding retention of expertise

• Clear visibility for staff of the requirements for their jobs, the competencies that they have (including those outside their job requirements), gaps for development and related learning and development assets

• Better return on investment on their learning assets

• Improved collaboration and engagement between different managers and functions through a shared objective using a common competency definition language

• Effective and lasting implementation – scalable to other professions within the organisation

Using the Lexonis approach has helped SITA to completely restructure the career streams within the Technology Management profession. There are now 6 new career streams with a total of 81 job profiles for career development purposes. The job profiles are anchored to the organisation’s grading structure and each profile clearly indicates the behaviours that each employee and manager needs to display to be successful, and the competencies and levels that they need to develop for their career path.

The Future

SITA are a progressive employer who invest in their workforce for the long term and are committed to constant improvement. Based on the proven success of the initial implementation for the Technology Management profession, SITA has extended their use of the Lexonis software and have also acquired the IBM General Corporate Functions (GCF) Talent Framework. The GCF framework includes competencies and job profiles that cover corporate functions such as HR, Legal, Finance and Accounting, Purchasing, Project Management, Sales, Administration and more. The HR competencies in the GCF framework have recently been deployed to the HR function and the intention is to use this framework in Lexonis TalentScape for other parts of the organisation.

Taking the Lexonis approach to job profiling has helped SITA to appreciate the importance of engaging the workforce in the competency consulting process, the importance of getting workforce buy-in, and of providing accessibility to the IBM Framework content during the process.


SITA is a multinational technology company for the air transport industry and provides IT, infrastructure and communication services. SITA delivers services to around 90% of the world’s airline business. The organisation comprises 430 members and supplies 2,800 customers worldwide.

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