Riding the Next Big Wave… 2015 and Beyond (Part 1)

How is the IT Training Landscape Evolving?

The IT best practices domain is undergoing some significant changes as organizations and IT professionals are creating powerful new ways to use the technologies that are provided to them.

Software development teams are able to test and deploy packages much faster as technology has enabled them to automate the deployment process. Cloud-based solutions allow organizations to deliver new business services at a speed that was unheard of five years ago, delivering these services to everyones personal devices.

The massive amounts of data collected in this process provide further insights into strengthening the business solutions that organizations provide. At the same time organizations are also negatively affected by these advancements such as being subject to hackers who look for weak spots and information.

By 2017, 80% of the CIO’s time will be focused on analytics, cybersecurity and creating new revenue streams through digital services.
Louis Columbus, IDC

McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) further says that movements like Big Data will result in a shortfall of up to 190,000 professionals with data analysis skills by 2018 and 1.5 million managers that require the know-how on using data to make decisions.

I am sure that all of you can relate to some of the examples that I described above. Within ITpreneurs for example, we migrated to Google Apps for business this year. Already I cannot even imagine living without an online collaborative development environment or not having access to my data anytime, anywhere.

What Does This Do to the Requirements for IT Skills?

This rapid changing landscape has forced organizations to change their business practices quickly and has led to the requirement for new skills within their workforce.

Diagram 1 – Skill Requirements Now and In the Future

blog-diagram1

I found the above diagram from an IBM whitepaper extremely useful, based on an IDC study, and I decided to use this as the basis for my analysis (and modify it slightly).

Some of the skills that are very relevant today are not so relevant in the future anymore because technology will have made the skills redundant to some degree. At the same time, some skills that are very relevant today, become even more relevant tomorrow. IT service management is an example of a mature IT domain that continues to be relevant, the body of knowledge just has to evolve to become more agile and flexible to adapt to cloud and faster deployment (makes it sound so easy huh?). New and emerging areas include business intelligence and data analytics, a logical result of the need to analyze the massive amounts of data collected and build new services on to that. Security refers to cyber security/resilience and the requirement to harness organizations against cyber threats.

The Next Wave

So why is not everyone delivering IT certification programs on all of these new areas? What is the largest cyber security credential in the market today? Who is delivering the most popular continuous delivery programs in the market…?

I am sure you had to think a moment before you could answer that question. You probably arrived at the conclusion that the emergence of these new concepts has not yet made it into the world of IT certification bodies and / or training organizations… and here is why.

The reason the market often is lagging is that training programs are typically only developed when there is a critical mass. Standards and bodies of knowledge are not developed overnight, it is only once when standards are commonly accepted, do training programs derive from them.

Diagram 2 – Market Adoption Curve IT Best Practices

blog-diagram2

If we make a move from skills and look at the topics that lie behind the skills and map these to a market adoption curve, a picture like above appears.

ITIL®, PRINCE2®, COBIT®, PMP® are best practice frameworks that have evolved over decades and have been heavily adopted by corporations (early/late majority). These best practice frameworks are now managed by established accreditation bodies and are adopted by a solid training community. For many training organizations, as well as for ITpreneurs, operating in this world, it is their core business. The market is characterized by a single dominant IT best practice, and a highly competitive training landscape.

If we look at the early adopter stage, it includes frameworks and movements that are being increasingly adopted by organizations across the world. This means that the practices are being recognized within the organizations and deliver value to the business. In the best practices space, all relevant parties are now looking to claim a position. Agile as an example, now includes over five major Agile related certifications (PMI-ACP®, AgilePM®, AgileScrum, ScrumMaster, Agile Foundation), and there are more coming (e.g. PRINCE2-Agile). Initially, highly specialized companies were offering consulting and training on these topics, but in this stage in the adoption curve, the major training houses are now stepping into this territory.

The first stage in the adoption curve is for innovators and early adopters, and include movements, frameworks, ideas that now are in the inception or introduction phase. There are no major skills qualification schemes driving these movements (but we expect there to be in the next 12-36 months). Often there is still no consensus within the community on fundamental things like common terminology, let alone who defines what qualifications an IT professional should have. The market is primarily served by speciality providers, typically experts in their fields. The market is buzzing with enthusiasm, and informal gatherings, internet fora, and early events are packed with people who are keen to contribute and share.

As a training provider, where do you want to be…? Find out in my follow-up post!

Need more information? Please contact ITpreneurs.

Arjan Woertman
Arjan Woertman is the product portfolio director for ITpreneurs. Since starting his tenure at ITpreneurs in 2001, Arjan has lead a number of key initiatives within ITpreneurs including the launch of the IT Governance portfolio, the ITIL Expert Program, Metricus, and other leading programs in ITpreneurs. In his role as VP of R&D he is responsible for nurturing the existing portfolio of learning solutions and expanding the portfolio to include relevant IT management frameworks.