Employing new IT Skills Fastens Business Process
By Marc Hoit, Ph.D., F.SEI, F.ASCE, Vice Chancellor for IT & CIO, NC State
Change is required in the old IT skills for the new evolution. Past IT skills have been very technology focused like the coding, databases, hardware, OS support, Sysadmin, etc - very hardware and OS level focus. The new skills in higher demand business analysis looks into how to apply technology for business functions, cloud integration, more middleware, more data sharing. Big data focuses on how to use, integrate and derive insight from data and combined data, finally there is much greater emphasis on security. I prefer having expertise on this level in-house. This is the type of expertise that allows for good solution evaluation and selection, good management of mixed teams (in-house and external), cost effective handling of constant change and needs updates.
Outside services will be at the Infrastructure and platform level - which is a huge benefit. Having the new type of IT staff who can work with the customers, with consultants if needed, help convene the participants and develop requirements and most important manage data governance.
Technology with competitive edge
Analytics-use of data to understand anything and everything in your business. This is much more complex than it sounds-you need data, access to the data, ability to clean and clearly define the data, connect the data (how do you connect the different information when for many things, you do not have the "data keys" for all your different data)- and then finally, analysts who can do deep analysis on the data and not confuse correlation with causation.
IoT is a huge area where the hype is so much greater than the reality.
Change is required in the old IT skills for new evolution
Security is the other area that we have an enormous number of solutions, but we do not really have great answers. We continue to play whack-a-mole - which causes IT departments to invest huge sums of money on "solution", appliances,software, scanning, etc - but I not think we have very good holistic solutions.
Online education is causing huge disruption in education. This is another technology that is still in its infancy. MOOCS, adaptive learning, and other online solutions are not very robust yet. There is a huge shift towards data collection a n d use (like consumer prediction models for shopping). However, we do not have sufficient understanding of cognitive learning (and more importantly correcting cognitive misunderstanding) and how to determine this from learning and behavior data. This is what great teachers do: see where a learner has misunderstood or has a fundamental error in some knowledge - and how to help the learning fill in the missing relationships and then learn the new concept. Computers a moving in that direction and will continue to get better.
We are business enablers-the trends toward "chief Digital Officers" and similar functions is recognizing that some CIOs are more technology focused and do not have the experience or skill to improve, direct and collaborate around business functions with technology as a component and not the answer. As an example, you cannot improve a business process by automating it - you must first improve the process.
Strategic IT plan
We have instituted both a strategic IT plan for the whole organization as well as IT governance across the organization.
The strategic plan implementation is comprised of six initiatives: Broader implementation of Service Now (all IT uses it for service, we are expanding to business offices), implementation of a service catalog, creation of a data hub and data governance system, creation of a technology master plan (a five year roadmap for all campus) and a refresh of our IT governance. Huge. As CIO I take on a big role of evangelist and gaining support for increased data security. The CISO works with many of the folks on campus setting requirements, drafting policy, working on implementation, etc - it is a very big PR, training and marketing effort - not to mention the technical work to make it all function.