DANSK IT is a professional association that offers its members a discipline-specific network for members to create personal relationships, professional coaching and personal development. This is facilitated in a confidential forum with like-minded IT professionals. We caught up with Per Andersen(PA), Managing Director, to understand how its members are dealing with changing IT consumption models.
RF: Tell us about your membership. How are the sentiments and priorities of in-house IT professionals different from those who work for technology vendors or services providers?
PA: The members of DANSK IT span the spectrum, from top CIOs in the largest companies to software developers and operations staff. If any, the typical profile is working with IT/Enterprise architecture, project management, governance, IT management, consulting and developers. What they have in common is a passion for their IT subjects – which might be the reason we in our daily work do not really notice a lot of differences between IT staff from companies compared to vendors. To a large extent they all share the same challenges in terms of economic pressure on budgets and the same trends toward the needs to integrate better with the business side and trying to understand the implications of users/LOBs taking more control over IT.
RF: The profession went through an adjustment when large scale outsourcing became fashionable. What adjustments do you expect to see as cloud models become more common?
PA: Solutions from the cloud will be used increasingly in the future and this continues the trend for several decades of using increasingly standardized solutions from external providers and taking a more service oriented view of IT. This means two significant things. First, there is a stronger need for IT staff with a combined business/technology understanding as well as non-technical core skills such as project management, change management, architecture, solution design, usability knowledge, and business case understanding. But do not be mistaken, secondly there continues to be a strong need for IT specialists with deep technical knowledge in areas such as integration, security, platforms, mobile solutions and business intelligence. We expect to see an increasingly specialization in the technical fields.
RF: What do you see as the key challenges facing IT professionals today?
PA: We see five recurring themes. Managing unpredictability as IT is controlled by the users/LOBs rather than a central IT department. Anticipating disruption to deal with rapid technological changes and increasing complexity. Becoming consultative and understanding the business use of IT and how to influence the business through innovation. Cultivating good house-keeping as the need to do more with less persists. And of course, keeping pace with security best practices.
RF: The need for IT professionals to influence their customers (internal and external) continues to rise. What activities have you seen among your membership to sharpen these ‘soft’ skills?
PA: Coming out of the financial recession we again see a lot of interest in our training activities within project management, team building, IT business transformation, communication, business understanding, process facilitation and more. So, we definitively witness increased activities in the “soft skills” areas. There is also more interest in joining our networks that deals with these subjects.
RF: In the area of the digitised corporation your members role are obviously becoming still more important. So, in general, would you consider the job of the typical IT professionals moving more in the direction of information managers, infrastructure managers – or something completely different?
PA: We see the need for IT professionals in two areas, both highly technical skills and highly business oriented skills. A third important factor here is that the use of IT continues to increase and all companies, although to different degrees, become more and more dependent on digital service, digital solutions and digital processes. This means that there is going to be an increasing need in almost all areas except for basic operations, so the opportunities for IT professionals continue to be diverse and significant. This is also the reason why, despite recession, outsourcing, cloud etc. there continues to be areas where there is a lack of IT professionals today.
You can follow Per on Twitter at @p_andersen