Electronics firm Philips has called on skills specialist The Open Group to reorganise its IT workforce.
The move enables Philips to identify the skills already available within its company and to create a clear career development path for new and existing employees.
In 2009, Philips decided to transform its internal IT organisation from a distributed operation to one that was centrally run, with specific domains for each IT discipline. The aim was to improve employee engagement and offer employees clear career development opportunities. This path was previously different for each IT segment.
Philips chose The Open Group Certified IT Specialist (Open CITS) framework, which identifies each employee’s competencies and places them within one stream.
The electronics firm carried out a series of assessments and one-on-one interviews with over 900 staff. These employees were then benchmarked against the different levels of the Open CITS framework.
The interviews enabled Philips to define career development plans for its employees, and ensure its staff had a rounded skill set which was not based solely on technical knowledge.
It is important that organisations understand the skills, strengths and weaknesses of their IT workforce
Open CITS certification a good fit for Philips
Since its deployment, over 100 Philips employees have been Open CITS certified, with an additional 50 preparing to receive the certification by the end of 2012.
“Open CITS has been a great fit for us, generating some clear and immediate benefits in terms of staff retention, recruitment, development and cost savings," Paul Nijenhuis, competence group manager at Philips told Computer Weekly.
“Previously IT was fragmented at Philips, and we saw that different applications, skills and career paths were present in different areas,” he added.
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IT skills benchmark
James de Raeve, vice-president of certification at The Open Group, said it is important that organisations, especially the larger ones, understand the skills, strengths and weaknesses of their IT workforce, and can benchmark them against the industry standard.
“First and foremost for the administration of effective training and career development plans, but also because, by understanding the true technical capabilities of their team, organisations such as Philips can reduce their dependence on outside contractors and dramatically enhance recruitment and retention of IT staff," he said.
“The standard enables a company to identify experts and who to call upon for certain skills when wanting to start a new project.”
De Raeve told Computer Weekly that Philips, and other companies using such a framework, experience a reduction in contractor costs on projects, after a company realises what skills are available internally.
The partnership between Philips and The Open Group is on-going as new employees continue to join Philips and the Open CITS programme makes minor changes through growth. De Raeve said The Open Group currently has 21 different streams, including recent additions in service management.
Nijenhuis said there are plans to expand the framework outside of the company’s IT departments too, for instance across service operations and service management.