Darrell Hudson

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IT Pros Need People Skills

The new IT pro is going to be like a turtle — a shell of technical or “hard” skills surrounding an underbelly of people skills, otherwise known as “soft” skills. Jobs will of course continue to demand the analytical prowess we traditionally expect from IT as companies update their infrastructures to meet increasingly erratic and complex business demands. However, the omnipresence of technology in peoples’ work and daily lives will force CIOs to add descriptors like “emotional intelligence” to their hiring vocabulary.

One of the first places we’re seeing this is with Customer Relationship Management (CRM). As “social” gains prominence at the enterprise level, CRM is being transformed into a new concept: the Customer Social Network, or CSN. Where we once had linear communication through transaction-based applications, we now face an exercise in controlled chaos as management, employees, customers and the public at large all interact in real time through collaborative applications.

I’d wager it’s not an IT buzzword yet, but emotional intelligence — the ability to discern and address the emotional responses of others — is vital for tomorrow’s IT pro. Peoples’ ability to effectively leverage technology in their work may largely be based on emotional, rather than intellectual criteria. Social media fuels a basic human desire to connect. Employees aren’t going to invest themselves in enterprise software that resembles Facebook for entirely intellectual reasons, but rather because of the emotional charge they get from connecting with co-workers and customers to draw meaning from their work.

Perhaps it goes without saying that IT professionals will need expertise in collaborative technologies, and we’re certainly seeing this bear out in demand for developers with skills in that arena. What many fail to recognize, however, is that IT staffers will also need to be experts in communication. In order to architect and manage the systems that connect employees across departments, management and customers, they’re going to need an intimate knowledge of not just how the organization operates, but how people communicate.

They’re going to have to make sure systems are in line and reporting to each other, and map the technology to business processes so that employees can iteratively improve practices on a daily basis. They’ll need to do all this and more…within the context of human communication. IT is not only going to have to build technology for the non-technical, but explain it to them as well.

Read more via Computerworld By Eric Berridge


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