HR can give techies professional clout

David Taylor says it is time to realise that IT departments can play a
strategic role in companies


Change is
endemic in business today, but the sheer scale of change in every facet of IT,
particularly within the fast-moving environment of e-commerce and
communications, is without modern parallel.

businesses are growing at a remarkable pace and need to keep finding staff with
the right skills levels in management, communication and leadership if they are
to succeed.

directors and those involved in training and developing IT professionals must
not ignore the need to develop leadership skills.

those involved in IT have been, to a degree, isolated from other functions. Now
the emergence of e-commerce has reinforced the need for the IT function to play
a key strategic role at the highest level.

Develop skills

directors need to develop management skills to add value across an organisation
or business rather than simply manage a set of projects. There are still IT
people who have risen through the ranks and who are only now being told that
they need to develop leadership skills – and in many cases they do not know
what these are.

Strategic opportunities

The new
breed of information and technology leaders will be quick to see strategic
opportunities outside their organisation and can combine this intuition with an
ability to illuminate the most complex of these to business colleagues, the
board and the chief executive.

Buoyant market

planning in an e-commerce environment is especially important.

The market
is buoyant and it remains a challenge to recruit and retain the best.
Businesses need to be ready to quickly plug gaps when people move on.

The new
brand of leaders in IT will take succession planning seriously and work to
develop, motivate and promote people to become better than them.

Personal power

development practitioners refer to these new dimensions as personal power – a
combination of attitude, belief and behaviour. How IT emerges this century will
depend on the identity, attitudes and spirit of everyone, but in particular of
its leaders.

Open approach

IT leaders
in this new age will combine an open approach to relationships with positive
energy and a dynamic, can-do attitude.

They will
have the ear of the chief executive and be seen foremost as a successful
business person at the heart of the organisation rather than a technical person
from a department that has often been sidelined.

New strategic role

The HR
function has an important role to play in helping to bridge the gap between the
perception of IT professionals as techies and the new strategic role they have
to play which will be central to business.

Taylor is president of the association of IT directors, Certus.

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