How do we handle uncertainty and technological change?

Strategies for responding to uncertainty in the IT staffing life cycle Uncertainty
Qualian proposes four organizational responses to deal with uncertainty and respond to technological change.

Slack resources
At Qualian we use slack resources to buffer uncertainty by acquiring additional resources or lowering standards and expectations; either response increases performance costs.

Self-contained units
Qualian creates self contained units by forming organizational units with relatively complete sets of resources needed to accomplish the tasks, thus reducing the amount of communication and coordination required among organizational units;

Vertical information systems
Qualian uses vertical information systems to help reduce uncertainty and respond more quickly to change; these systems may be either computerized or organizational; Lateral relations and delegations: Qualian distribute coordination and decision making to units with the necessary information; in addition, it may designate liaisons or other roles to help smooth communication and coordination difficulties.

Process of tracking IT skills

This approach includes two ability groups—process and technology—each with four abilities:

  • Strategy and direction
  • Business integration
  • Change management
  • Data management
  • Infrastructure support and integration
  • Application delivery and support
  • Alliance management
  • Data services

Each job in the IT department is tied to a primary ability each ability may cover one or more job types or roles. The link between a job and its primary ability is a reference for job postings and staffing/sourcing decisions for these positions. Four to six skills are associated with each ability. A skill is the know-how to provide products or services; for example, data services require four main skills: business acumen, industry acumen, performance tuning, and technology design. Collectively, they are critical for distinguishing one ability from another. Employees are evaluated on these skills and abilities to plan their individual career-development trajectories. The organization refers to this approach to staffing decisions as the “bench strength process.” Each leadership position involves certain skills. Staffing and recruiting decisions are based on gaps in skills and abilities. Thus, we in Qualian has a bottom-up skills-identification process based on where individual employees map into a matrix.

For example, if a large percentage of employees (90%) fall into a cell, no further development of skills or functional exposure is needed for that cell; more training is planned for cells with a limited number of employees. Staffing and recruiting coordinators in the business units evaluate skills. HR uses validated aptitude tests to evaluate individual employees during on-site visits. The skills model is used to fill gaps in skill sets with training, new hires, and contractors. Supervisors know the needs of their individual units and prepare targets for developing their employees, depending on our business needs. They look at the functional skills of the people to identify where they lack the needed skill sets to support business needs. During annual reviews our employees indicate where in the organization they might want their careers to go. If a business need matches the desired individual need, supervisors try to assign individuals so they can acquire the desired skills. The organization also uses a management team for succession planning.