Consultancy forum highlights skills gap

A skills gap between system development and IT consultancy has been highlighted by the first meeting of the new BCS Consultancy...

A skills gap between system development and IT consultancy has been highlighted by the first meeting of the new BCS Consultancy Specialist Group, writes John Kavanagh.

Last month's inaugural meeting in London was three times over-subscribed. This reflected the huge demand from BCS members and non-members, in both consultancies and user companies, for a specialist forum.

"The message that emerged was that people can be specialists in a particular field, such as IT, but very few are trained in consultancy skills," says group chairman Rajan Anketell.

"These skills include getting clients and gaining their confidence, managing an assignment, dealing with problems, and disengaging from an assignment on completion. The education system doesn't cover such things.

"This applies across the group's membership. They include people from large and small consultancies, and user companies' own internal consultants - and they all have a core need: an understanding of the consulting process and the skills to carry it out."

The Consultancy Specialist Group will aim to fulfil this need with meetings at various venues including London, and possibly hold an annual conference. It will also forge links with other consultancy bodies and seek to hold joint meetings rather than duplicate effort.

Work on these links is already evident, with Mike Kearsley joining the group's committee. As a member of the council of the Institute of Management Consultancy, Kearsley also chairs the group overseeing the new certificate in information systems consultancy practice, run by the BCS IS Examinations Board. As part of its aim to promote best practice, the new specialist group will help to develop this and any further qualifications from the board in this field.

The response to the specialist group reflects the interest in the new certificate. Three companies are now accredited to run courses leading to the exam: KnowledgePool, Parity Training and Xansa.

KnowledgePool boasted more than 100 enquiries in two months, which beat all expectations.

The contact for the Consultancy Specialist Group is rajan@anketell.com. Details of the certificate in IS consultancy practice are available via www.iseb.org.uk/conskills or 01793-417542.

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