Strategic Architecture Forum 2008

I'm back having completed more than 10 keynotes/presentations the last few weeks. I'm providing a blog series from these keynotes--lessons to be shared. This blog will focus on the SAF (Strategic Architecture Forum).

Ruth posted a blog on the Strategic Architecture Forum where I keynoted on the opening day. Sasha Krsmanovic, Canadian MVP Lead, noted in his newsletter that the event received a 97.5% recommendation rating; MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) were represented in force delivering breakout sessions, receiving the highest rankings: Nelson Ruest, Danielle Ruest, Richard Campbell, and Dana Epp. Other MVPs contributed to the discussions (James Kovacs and Daniel Carbajal). From Sasha Krsmanovic: "Thanks a lot guys!!"

One of the key lessons that I'm driving home in my keynotes is that career growth for IT practitioners requires BAIT attributes with an increasing focus on "Business Skills" and a sound knowledge of "Core Industry" processes.

Current State of IT: BAIT

On the business side, this means the IT worker understanding the business goals or long-term results found in organizations. These goals can be summarized in the areas of:

  1. Development: continuing innovation, capability growth, culture improvement. As a side-note, an encouraging "Culture" trumps even business strategy.
  2. Employee: collaboration, productivity, efficiencies, satisfaction, development.
  3. Financial: increased funding, revenue, value; lower costs/expenses; increased surplus, profit, doing more with existing resources.
  4. Customer or Client: engagement, retention, satisfaction, strong relationships/intimacy.
  5. Competitive: entering new markets, segments, client areas; growing existing markets, client base; ensuring differentiation and distinct advantage.

In addition, the IT worker should have a good understanding of the "core processes" in the industry they are working in: government, education, banking, mining, ...

In my travels and discussions with business and technology leaders, they also cite a good "Attitude" as a core attribute they encourage. So, a service-orientation with a focus on customer or client intimacy, and user experience.

Connecting is a foundation for all activity today. There's this rule of thumb based upon research that states, 93% of any engagement is message and delivery, and only 7% is content. This means strong "Interpersonal" skills are needed linked to project management, client/customer relationship management and communications capabilities.

Rounding out all of this are technical skills and competencies where competencies reflect what you can actually accomplish when confronted with problems and challenges. There's a framework for abilities starting with knowledge, comprehension and ending with application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Skills are knowledge-based but through practice and experience lead to application, analysis (of problems) and then finally synthesis and evaluation. Synthesis means you can take diverse subject areas and integrate them in solving situations and evaluation allows you to act as a judge or gives you the ability to fully evaluate the performance of others. Competencies are about "application to evaluation."

Best regards,

Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., MVP

Comments (2)

  1. pete says:

    An eye opener. Should I get an MBA?

  2. Stephen Ibaraki says:

    Hi Pete,

    The 4 elements given are the building blocks that can be developed over the longer term for sustained career growth spanning an entire career path. Outside of technical competencies, elements can be added, one component at a time. In the shorter-term, acquiring business acumen is a definite plus. I’m finding that IT professionals of all ages are asking this question a lot and opting in this direction. Just in the last few weeks, several under 30 IT workers indicated they just enrolled in MBA programs and some working for an EMBA or executive MBA. An MBA program would definitely give you an understanding on the busines side and also align your career for leadership roles. With many online part-time programs now being offered, this fits into the schedule of busy IT professionals as well.

    Best regards,


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