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BUSI 4400 Management of Information Systems. Recruiting and developing IS human resources. Dr. Gerald Grant. Introduction. Effective deployment and exploitation of information technology depend on high levels of managerial, technical and operational competencies

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busi 4400 management of information systems

BUSI 4400 Management of Information Systems

Recruiting and developing IS human resources

Dr. Gerald Grant

  • Effective deployment and exploitation of information technology depend on high levels of managerial, technical and operational competencies
  • People make the difference between effective and ineffective organizational performance
  • Organizations need to harness the knowledge, skills and experiences of its staff to deploy and use IT systems
introduction contd
Introduction (contd)
  • "One of the critical factors for any organization in achieving the best results from IS/IT is the quality of people involved in terms of skills and experience. The ability to obtain and deploy highly skilled IS/IT resources in adequate numbers will determine in the long term how well the business and IS/IT strategies are brought together" (Ward and Griffiths, 1996 pp. 352-353).
introduction contd1
Introduction (contd)

Brancheau, et al., 1996

  • Recruiting and developing IS human resources ranked 8th most important issue by IS managers
  • Shortages of qualified IS personnel will have a significant impact, both now and in the future, on the ability of organizations to effectively deploy and use information technology
  • Emphasis needs to be put on developing business skills such as teamwork and leadership
  • IS personnel must also stay current with emerging technologies
introduction contd2
Introduction (contd)
  • Having highly qualified staff is not enough to ensure success in implementing and exploiting IS/IT systems
  • Firms need to develop key managerial, technical and operational IS/IT competencies at individual, work group and organization-wide levels
  • Organizational IS/IT competencies will develop more effectively if the business possesses adequate numbers of people with sufficient level of complementary training and experience
group exercise is project group
Group exercise (IS project group)
  • You are a group of consultants that have been tasked with reviewing the IS roles at Carleton University
  • Your task is to:
    • Review the IS management roles in the chart (next slide)
    • Identify the competencies needed to perform the roles
    • Determine typical roles to be played by staff under each of the managers
    • Determine whether staff will be permanent, contract, provided through outsourcing, arrangement
    • Suggest ways of recruiting, inducting and retaining staff
  • Present your report
is management roles cu
IS Management Roles - CU

What staff roles would be needed to support each of the managers in the four areas outlined above?

is skills planning luftman et al 2004 pp 171 172
IS Skills PlanningLuftman, et al. (2004 pp. 171-172)
  • Define the manpower requirements to support the systems plan
  • Consolidate manpower required to support the project and systems plans as well as develop formal career paths
  • Identify existing and planned manpower skill requirements
  • Establish and evaluate alternate manpower plans, including sources of manpower
  • Define an effective education plan
  • Document manpower and education plans
role and skill requirements of is it personnel
Role and skill requirements of IS/IT personnel

Keen (1988)

  • The organization of work for IS professionals is moving away from focus on tasks to one that focuses more on fulfilling certain roles
  • New roles require IS people to exhibit a far wider range of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) than previously required in task-oriented structures
  • IS roles are no longer isolated from everyday business
  • IS people must now exercise greater levels of organizational and business skills
key is roles and skills
Key IS roles and skills

Keen (1988)

  • Technical services -- very strong technical skills: business and organizational skills of minor importance.
  • Development support -- strong technical skills: fairly strong business/technical orientation
  • Business support -- strong business/organizational skills; fairly strong technical skills.
  • Business services -- strong business/organizational skills: technical skills of minor importance.
key is roles and skills contd
Key IS roles and skills (contd)

Ross, Beath and Goodhue (Sloan Management Review, Fall 1996 p. 33)

  • Technical skills- rapidly changing technologies are putting increased focus on technical skills that can bridge the gap between existing technology and legacy systems and exploit opportunities for deploying new technologies in the future.
  • Business understanding- IT staff now need to interact more frequently with clients in order to help solve business problems.
  • Problem-solving orientation- every member of the IT team need to assume responsibility for tackling business problems
key is roles and skills contd1
Key IS roles and skills (contd)

Lee, Trauth, Farwell ( MISQ, September 1995)

  • Technical specialties knowledge and skills-- technical skills relating to operating systems, programming languages, DBMS, networks, telecommunications, etc..
  • Technology management knowledge and skills-- concerned with where and how to deploy information technologies effectively and profitably for meeting business and strategic objectives.
  • Business functional knowledge and skills-- increasingly businesses are putting emphasis on applying information technology to serve business goals and to re-engineer business processes before the adoption of new information technologies. This requires IS professionals to possess in-depth business functional knowledge and skills.
  • Interpersonal and management knowledge and skills-- are necessary because of the substantive boundary-spanning roles played by IS professionals
it skills set


  • Communication
  • People Development
  • Influencing
  • Market-based decision making
  • Teamwork
  • Marketing
  • Managing change
  • Quality
  • Technical
  • Infrastructure components
  • Developer tools
  • Architecture



Project leader

IT Skill



Business analyst

Development specialist

Operations specialist

IT executive

IT consultant

  • Business knowledge
  • External market knowledge
  • Internal customer and business process knowledge
  • Organizational philosophy and principles

Source: Gartner Group, in Luftman, et al. (2004, p. 172)

IT Skills Set
core is it skills horizon consulting 1997
Core IS/IT skills (Horizon Consulting, 1997)
  • Employability Skills
    • Communication skills (oral, etc.)
    • Interpersonal skills (Teamwork, people management)
    • Thinking skills (problem solving, decision making, …)
    • Work skills (self-management, adaptability..)
    • Business skills (leadership, project management
    • Technological literacy (awareness and usage of technology)
core is it skills horizon consulting 19971
Core IS/IT skills (Horizon Consulting, 1997)
  • Technical Skills
    • Policy and management (strategic view, coaching, etc.)
    • Development
      • Business analysis, design, programming, software engineering, hardware engineering
    • Service delivery
    • Technical support
    • Audit
    • Research
    • Boundary-spanning management
    • Education and training
    • Technical authorship
    • Technical marketing and sales
is job streams
IS Job Streams
  • Software Human Resources of Canada (SHRC)
    • Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM)
it skills demand 2003
IT Skills Demand (2003)

197 executives in the July (2003) CIO.com survey

What IT skills are most in-demand in your organization currently?

  • 58%Application development
  • 42%Database management
  • 42%Help desk/user support
  • 5%Open source development
  • 37%Networking
  • 47%Project management
  • 32%Security
  • 30%Website development
  • 16%Web services
  • 10%Other
key roles of hybrid is managers earl skyrme 1992
Enhance business orientation of IT

Increase IT specialist's awareness of business opportunities.

Enhancement of IT capabilities

Increase awareness and responsiveness to different business needs.

Constant retooling of IT infrastructure.

Continual honing of IT skills and professionalism.

Appropriate selection and use of specialist skills.

Key roles of ‘hybrid’ IS managers (Earl& Skyrme, 1992)
key roles of hybrid is managers
Enhance organization's understanding of IT

Re-focus the organization to understand IT.

Educate and consult on the strategic use of IT.

Reinforce IT's benefits and potential to business managers.

Build successful/IS business partnerships

Develop shared vision of entire business.

Share responsibility for projects between IT and the business.

Help line managers make IT decisions.

Key roles of ‘hybrid’ IS managers
organizational is it competencies
Organizational IS/IT competencies
  • Highly competent IT staff alone not enough
  • Organizational competencies more than the sum of individual competencies
  • Effective deployment of computer-based systems is not dependent on a single person
  • A variety of IS/IT competencies must be developed
categories of competencies
Categories of competencies

Grant, Liebenau (Working Paper)

Managerial competencies

The skills, knowledge and attitude needed to conceptualize, plan, manage and evaluate the design, acquisition, deployment and exploitation of computer-based information systems.

Technical competencies

  • The skills, knowledge and attitude needed to design, acquire or develop and deploy the technical and operational systems.

Operational competencies

  • The skills knowledge and attitude needed to efficiently operate and maintain the technical and non-technical systems and processes
is it competence map grant liebenau 1997







IS/IT Competence Map (Grant/Liebenau, 1997)
organizational is it competencies1

Computer network operation

Telecommunications network operation

Database resource management

Data warehousing operations

Information center operation


Mission definition

Environmental analysis

Strategy development

Strategy integration

Financial planning

Resource allocation

Policy making

Structuring the organization

Human resources planning

Performance evaluation

Managing inter-organizational relationships

Organizational IS/IT competencies
  • Enterprise communication network management
  • Enterprise database management
  • Technology assessment
  • Decision support & EIS
  • Inter-organizational networking
  • Standard setting
  • Procurement
  • Technical systems integration
  • Systems Research & development
group is it competencies


Shared information handling

Application sharing

Procedure automation



Electronic meetings


Task identification

Task structuring

Role assignment

Group project management

Conflict resolution

Group problem solving

Project assessment and evaluation

Managing inter-group links and partnerships

Group IS/IT competencies
  • Process and systems design
  • Systems engineering
  • Systems development
  • Systems implementation
  • Process re-engineering
  • Work design
individual is it competencies

Information processing

Application software usage

Data entry

Information presentation

Personal communication

Information storage and retrieval





Personal networking



Project management

Knowledge of the organization

Change management

Logical thinking


Individual IS/IT competencies
  • Business & systems analysis
  • Systems design
  • Systems & applications programming
  • Systems & application testing
  • Teaching & training
  • Information searching
  • Research
  • Formal modeling
  • Technology awareness
developing is human resources
Developing IS human resources
  • Focus on outsourcing has led to a reduced commitment IS employee development
  • Neglect of IS personnel development and motivation a substantial risk
  • Organizations still need to develop high levels of managerial and operational IS/IT competencies
developing is human resources contd
Developing IS human resources (contd)

Continuous development programs

  • education and training
  • research and personal learning
  • satisfying jobs (job enlargement, job significance, etc..)
developing is human resources contd1
Developing IS human resources (contd)

Keen (1988)

Three types of education that IS professionals should be involved in.

  • Maintenance -- What the professional needs to know to keep up with his/her job
  • Development-- What the professional needs to know to develop his/her career in the field
  • Innovation -- What the professional does to enhance personal growth
obtaining is it human resources
Obtaining IS/IT human resources
  • Training new recruitsfrom school or university.
  • Recruiting experienced stafffrom other organizations.
  • Training existing non-IS people, especially in application skills.
  • Using external resources through outsourcing arrangements.
benefits and risks associated with new recruits
Benefits and risks associated with New recruits


  • opportunity to shape the development of their knowledge, skills and attitude to suit the organization's goals
  • they bring fresh energy and ideas to the work place.


  • expensive to recruit and train
  • require much investment in time and resources with little expectation of immediate payback
  • likely to move on within 3-5 years
  • providing trained personnel for other companies (Keen, 1988 p. 263).
benefits and risks associated with experienced people
Benefits and risks associated with experienced people


  • immediate benefits from their already developed skills
  • the competence of the organization augmented immediately
  • can be expected to become productive in a short period of time


  • expensive, especially if the knowledge and skills being sought are scarce or in high demand
  • they may not be able to assimilate well into the culture and working practices of their new company
  • may bring habits and working patterns do not fit the new organization
  • may not have the right complementary skills
  • may quickly become dissatisfied and leave
benefits and risks associated with training non is staff
Benefits and risks associated with training non-IS staff


  • have a better understanding of the organizational routines and culture
  • do not need to be indoctrinated
  • gain new skills thus improving morale and motivation
  • present opportunities for improved productivity
  • less concern about loss of jobs


  • may mean the creation of new job categories and roles
  • existing staff may bring old working habits to the new positions
benefits and risks associated with outsourcing
Benefits and risks associated with outsourcing


  • way of gaining new skills without the investment in training and development
  • organizations can deploy new IT systems quickly
  • possible cost savings

Risks (Ward and Griffiths, 1996, p. 353)

  • An open-ended contract to meet an ever-changing requirement for strategic development.
  • No one in the IS/IT department is capable of understanding the new systems and supporting them in due course.
  • concern about what the "contractor" will do with the new knowledge
  • Demoralized staff
retaining the most skilled is it staff
Retaining the most skilled IS/IT staff

"If the organization is to develop its competence and provide an attractive environment to retain its most skilled and effective people, its own resources, IT and user, must be deployed on the challenging strategic or high potential systems" (Ward and Griffiths, 1996 p. 354).