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IT Human Capital Development: Delivering Value on the Human Side of IT

Take the toughest technology challenge of your career. Remove all the training and experience you've amassed. Impose irrational deadlines. Turn up the heat, pump steam into the room and make things physically uncomfortable. Ensure that your only available help is accessible on an unpredictable, sporadic basis.

Welcome to the world of IT human resources management. This is where you'll discover the No. 1 differentiator between a great IT organization and a marginal one: how well it manages and develops technology people.

As society becomes more digitally aware and business executives more IT-literate, poor performance from IT becomes impossible to hide. This is especially true in the midmarket enterprise, with its smaller resource pool and limited staff. The only sustainable and affordable option for acquiring exceptional performers is to develop them.

Following up on our May CIO Habitat report ["Can the Broken IT/HR Relationship Be Fixed?"], we asked 125 executives (79 from midmarket companies, 46 from larger enterprises) how they find, nurture and develop IT talent.

IT human capital development has two primary components: performance measurement and performance management. Our research shows that many midmarket organizations aren't very good at the first and many don't even bother with the second (see Figures 2 and 4). The results also illuminate the magnitude of this struggle. Talent development resources are limited in firms of all sizes, but our research shows how differently midsized firms ration resources (see Figures 1, 2 and 3). A midsized company, for example, is far more likely to build skills internally; large firms approach skill building with a more structured process (see Figures 2 and 3).

This was first published in June 2006

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