Labeling skills as soft undervalues them. To prioritize skills such as communication, IT leaders must call them what they are in the digital era: Core.
3 automation lessons learned for 2019
Do you plan to experiment more with IT automation in 2019? CIOs share real-world experiences to help guide your efforts
3. Automation means managing staff fears
Naturally, all this talk of automation is bound to bring up feelings of fear and uncertainty. Part of the CIO’s role is to communicate to teams what this shift means for individuals and their roles.
“You’ll want to consider what your automation plans mean for your IT team and manage their expectations – and in some cases, ease their concerns – as appropriate,” writes Lee Congdon, CIO of Ellucian, which offers software and services for higher education management.
Congdon offered this example, which many CIOs can understand:
“Suppose I am a network person, and my IT organization is busy upgrading network technology around the globe and providing mobile connectivity. I need to understand that at some point, we may not have a network anymore. Everything will simply be internet-connected. But I may start to get worried about what this means for my job moving forward.” Congdon wrote.
“In this example, IT leaders need to be upfront about how the network is going to evolve, when it’s going to evolve, and frankly, how many people are going to need to run it over time. They need to ask employees, for instance, do you want to work with us to be one of the last people running the network? Do you want to work with us to get a great reputation and find a career with another company that may be on a slower technology trajectory? Or do you want to work with us to become a business consultant and a connectivity expert so you can talk to the business about mobile technology and how we might optimize our growing portfolio of applications from a performance or cost standpoint? All of those are possibilities. Standing still is not, at least in the longer term.”
These are important conversations that CIOs need to be willing to have with anyone who could be impacted by automation, Congdon said.
“Because this is the direction IT is heading. It may not happen right away, but it will happen over time. If you’re not at least acknowledging that with your team, you are letting them down as their leader.”
Thoughtful automation will continue to play a key role in Ellucian’s automation strategy. It’s an approach he recommends others consider:
“As we continue to turn over routine and repetitive tasks to trusted partners, thoughtful automation is essential to our strategy going forward. If you are in the same situation, I’d urge you to think about these risks and considerations early in the process and to incorporate them in your planning.”
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