Irish organisations fail to balance new and old in skills demand

Carmel Owens, Sungard Availability Services



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10 November 2017 | 0

Irish organisations are failing to strike the right balance between old and new technologies when it comes to skills and training.

According to Sungard AS, Irish organisations are lagging on global trends that have seen 58% of organisations spend on training and skills around changing infrastructure, whereas in Ireland that figure stands at just 34%.

Sungard’s Irish general manager Carmel Owens speaking to TechPro, said that according to research carried out for the company by Vanson Bourne among more than 1300 IT decision makers globally, including Ireland, spending on training for new market technologies was running at 56% for organisations globally, compared to just 40% in Ireland. Spending on training around operations infrastructure and interfaces, is 48% globally, and just 37% in Ireland.

Furthermore, the research found that just 7% of time for IT staff here is spent on training, which, said Owens, could be seen as quite little.

Almost three quarters (73%) of IT teams are made of full time workers, said Owens, and given the critical skills shortage in ICT, we see it as really important for organisations to invest in employees, giving them the tools that are required to drive towards a more digital future.

What is interesting overall about all of this, said Owens, is the idea that companies need to become more agile, they need to achieve a more adaptive company culture to ensure that they remain competitive, and that their investment in digital technologies and platforms can drive their growth, so the investment they need to make in skills is key.

The research found that less than half (40%) of Irish companies said that training and development was focused on new market technologies, such as AI and analytics. This appears low, commented Owens, given the promise of these technologies, and the fundamental changes they are making for business.

It is important to balance between the new technologies and the legacy, said Owen.

She pointed that service providers are becoming increasingly important in this context, as they can allow companies to outsource, particularly the legacy systems and management, to allow them to focus on the new and digital technologies, those that engage staff and create opportunities for the business.

The business has to invest, said Owens, and not just the IT arm. There is certainly a feeling of ‘get the technology or lose the talent’ in the market.

“Keeping the best talent has always been a challenge and for some companies, it is getting harder,” she said.

If organisations are tasked with looking after legacy systems that are not necessarily going to be major contributors to growth, then it might make sense to outsource them, Owens argues, rather task employees with looking after things that may not be worthwhile investments in terms of skills and training.

“Another thing is that we would be in favour of is a digital training officer (DTO),” she said. “More and more organisations are creating a role of DTO to future proof workforce digital skills and fortifying the organisation’s digital transformation roadmap to smooth its transition into the digital age.”



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