I&O skills gap will cause 75 percent of organizations to experience visible business disruptions by 2020. Source: Pixabay

Does your business have the infrastructure and operations skills it needs?

COMPANIES that want to transform their business and keep up with customer expectations must learn to survive and thrive in the digital age.

To do that successfully, businesses need plenty of support from infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams within the business, comprising of professionals who understand today’s digital mesh of interconnected people, devices, content, and services that create new business and operating models.

Gartner, in January, predicted that I&O will have a key role to play in building an organizational “nerve center” that can quickly sense, respond to, and provision applications and infrastructures.

Their most recent study, however, finds that 75 percent of businesses will experience visible business disruptions by 2020 because they simply the skills needed to staff today’s evolving I&O teams are scarce.

The research giant believes that successful I&O organizations will need to implement vastly different roles and technologies during the next five years, but two-thirds of organizations are not adequately addressing the I&O skills gaps that will impede their digital business initiatives.

According to Gartner’s forecasts, by 2019, IT technical specialist hires will fall by more than 5 percent. Moreover, by 2021, 40 percent of IT staff will hold multiple roles, most of which will be business-related rather than technology-related.

However, Hank Marquis, Research Director, Gartner quickly pointed out that what made I&O leaders successful in the past is not what will make them thrive in the future.

“Instead of focusing on the ‘what’ of I&O jobs — such as technical knowledge, education, and training — I&O leaders need to shift their focus to the ‘how‘ — the behavioral competencies required,” said Marquis.

According to Marquis, IT operations organizations are being forced to redefine their roles and value propositions from those of technology providers, to become trusted advisors and differentiated business partners. The challenge is that most I&O professionals do not yet have the broad skillsets that organizations will need from them.

Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 75 percent of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to I&O skills gaps, which is an increase from less than 20 percent in 2016.

Given the lack of digital dexterity for hire, I&O leaders must begin by developing these skills with the talent they already have. Most companies don’t have an accurate inventory of the available skills of their current IT workforces, so this must be the first step.

“I&O leaders should work hand-in-hand with HR to shift away from position-based development, develop a tactical skills gap analysis, and utilize tools and methods for improving I&O skills in-house,” explained Marquis.

The key to delivering digital value at scale is having the right people and the desire and aptitude to exploit existing and emerging technologies.