IT/business alignment doesn’t just mean doing the work that business needs done; it also means having the foresight and intuition to speak to business stakeholders about what is being done, buying in and supporting strategic efforts, and understanding the importance of innovation. Karen Goulart cites the needs of former CIO and current COO Dan Sheehan, who explained that technical skills can be taught to anyone, but soft skills such as those listed above are harder to come by. In fact, many IT and business professionals are noticing the trouble with filling the soft skills gap:
The dual needs of IT alignment with the business and alacrity with emerging technologies are more important than ever. But a skills gap in many IT organizations may be hampering these efforts, according to a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). And while technical skills are the main focus, a perceived lack of soft skills is a big concern. The study, reflecting responses from IT and business professionals at 500 U.S. companies, revealed that 93% of those surveyed feel that a skills gap between what exists and what they desire among their IT staffs. Nearly 60% said they were not close, or only moderately close, to where they want their staff to be with regards to IT skills.
Connecting to the “big business picture” is becoming more and more important to companies, and having an IT department that is full of people who can make that connection will be a heavy consideration in the future. As Goulart explains, the future of a successful IT department will be one that can aid and affect the business as an asset and not a service.