Streamline Your IT Workforce by Consolidating Roles, Not Workers

Today’s IT landscape is constantly progressing, making adaptability and agility key traits for an organization's tech workforce.

Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer

February 20, 2024

4 Min Read
Action plan and communication structure for a successful solution.
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Maintaining an agile IT workforce is critical if an organization is to ensure they have the right skills and capabilities to address rapidly shifting business requirements.

Streamlining roles within IT can help the business better address cybersecurity issues, preserve the best data management protocols, or boost operational efficiency.

Because workforce streamlining can also be stressful for teams -- with the assessment of any organization comes the threat of role elimination -- it is crucial for organizations to maintain transparency throughout the transition processes.

Benefits of an Agile Workforce

Dave Walters, CTO of Hired, says IT leadership can streamline their workforce and still maintain key knowledge and technical skills by offering continued learning opportunities for their employees to continue upskilling. “This allows employees to continue learning and maintain their skill sets while helping companies retain talent,” he explains via email.

The second way to achieve a streamlined workforce is by conducting regular skills assessments to help employees pinpoint areas where they need to improve while allowing them to learn these new skills.

“The third way to achieve these goals is by leveraging opportunities for employees to work on other teams or pods to support different parts of the product and technology,” Walters says. “This encourages knowledge sharing and helps retain talent by offering them additional learning opportunities.”

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Initiate a Skills Gap Analysis

Vara Kumar, co-founder and head of R&D at Whatfix, explains IT leaders should initiate a comprehensive skills gap analysis to assess and optimize organizational models in alignment with evolving skill sets and shifting business requirements.

“This entails evaluating the current workforce’s skill sets, identifying emerging technologies, and aligning training and development initiatives with evolving business needs,” he notes in an email interview.

Collaborating with HR and leveraging digital transformation tools can enhance this process, offering streamlined real-time training, improved user proficiency, and increased efficiency.

“This can have a positive impact on business outcomes including revenue win rate, cost reduction, risk compliance, and beyond,” he says.

Communication With Employees Critical

Before assessing organizational needs, IT leaders should proactively communicate their plans to the organizational structure. This helps build and keep trust between employees and leadership, which can encourage employees to contribute more effectively.

Related:Top 5 Skills Gaps Every Cloud Practitioner Needs to Close

“When evaluating organizational models based on skill sets, prioritizing skills-based teams can ensure greater diversity and equity,” Walters says. “This approach is better than assessing candidates and employees solely based on their pedigree or experience.”

After developing the transition plan, the IT leadership should communicate it intentionally to the employees.

As the process of transition begins, leadership should continuously ask for feedback from employees to ensure that the process is going smoothly and adjust accordingly.

“It is essential to note that the transitional period should have a clear start and end time, and this should be communicated to everyone involved in the process from the outset,” Walters says.

Analyzing Structures, Eliminating Silos

Amir Khan, CEO at Alkira, says leaders should analyze how teams are structured and if there are opportunities for certain teams to work more closely together.

“In the networking space, there’s a lot more complexity for organizations to deal with today, which is leading to a convergence of network, cloud, and security teams to tackle these higher order challenges,” he explains in an email interview. “This type of collaboration is now happening across many different enterprises.”

Related:Is Now the Perfect Time for CIOs to Grow Their Teams?

In addition to uncovering opportunities to eliminate silos, IT leaders must identify redundancies and look for areas in which tasks are being duplicated.

“This can provide a great chance to upskill and reskill certain employees to move your organization forward,” Khan says.

He points out streamlining work processes does not necessarily mean layoffs, as enterprises discover creative ways to streamline their organizations while maintaining functional knowledge and technical capabilities.

“Sometimes it’s about evolving certain roles within the organization to eliminate redundancies and increase capabilities and service offerings,” he explains.

Balancing Benefits and Challenges

Kumar cautions there is a risk of negative impacts that comes with streamlining, including potential loss of institutional knowledge or reduced innovation due to a narrower skill set.

“Balancing these aspects requires a careful approach that considers both short-term gains and long-term strategic objectives,” he says.

Jasson Casey, CTO for Beyond Identity, points out most employees enjoy and expect personal growth.

“Continual education and cross training is an obvious and inexpensive way for any company to signal its commitment to its workforce, increase morale and generalize the workforces skills,” he says in an email interview.

He added these individuals will be more impactful to the organization over time given their broader understanding of the business and its systems.

However, Casey cautions some individuals enjoy being the expert of a particular discipline and may resist more cross functional expectations.

“Ultimately, you need to decide what percentage of your workforce you truly need for these specialist roles,” he explains. “This may result in a situation where you have individuals that have no interest in fitting in with your new operating model. You get to choose whether they fit within your specialist budget or need to be moved out of the organization.”

About the Author(s)

Nathan Eddy

Freelance Writer

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.

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