Skill framework for the information age


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In this report, containing what is Skill Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), how is SFIA works and how is SFIA been used recently. The career management system been referenced is SHELL oil company which using SFIA Version 3 started from 2008.

Question 1

In 21st century, the fast growing and moving up of technology, so there are needed of some identifying skills for IT professionals and improve their working effectiveness. To overcome the problem of identifying the needed skills, a trustable and understandable framework is needed, building-up this framework always a challenging task.

SFIA, which stands for Skill Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and also pronounced sound like the name SOPHIA.SFIA is a referencing tool for people to identify and understand Professional IT Skills to build an effective Information Systems (IS) with using Information Communications Technologies (ICT). SFIA also created for busy people who are managing IT professionals, and wish to improve results. SFIA is a framework that including two-dimensional which is Work and Level of Responsibility. SFIA can be a reference script for those new user who don't understand IT skills, and it defines professional skills which needed and provided diagnostic information.

The purpose of SFIA is to help employers of IT professionals to lower the project risk, retain employees, have more effective recruitment and increase quality and efficiency of IT function. The correct skills would help the employers have a best way to make a proper career way for the staffs. SFIA foundation describes SFIA as "SFIA enables employers of IT professionals to carry out a range of HR activities against a common framework of reference - including skill audit, planning future skill requirements, development programmes, standardization of job titles and functions, and resource allocation."

SFIA is built as a simple two-dimensional matrix, one axis shows the skills in categories and subcategories, another axis describes the different levels of responsibility and accountability for IT staffs. SFIA including 86 skills, each of the skills has an overall definition and then recognized seven level skill with more detailed descriptor. There are total amount of 295 descriptors. For user easier to recognize the areas of work in IT, the skills are separated into Categories and then separated again into Subcategories. The six Categories are defined in: Strategy & architecture, Business change, Solution development & implementation, Service management, Procurement & management support and Client interface. There are some Subcategories in each Categories to make the information and definitions be more detailed.

There are seven levels of responsibility in SFIA, all of the levels define 4 key dimensions of responsibility which is autonomy, influence, complexity and business skills. For easier to refer, the levels are set in number from 1 to 7 with a simple description :

  • Level 1 - Follow
  • Level 2 - Assist
  • Level 3 - Apply
  • Level 4 - Enable
  • Level 5 - Ensure, advise
  • Level 6 - initiate, influence
  • Level 7 - Set strategy, envision

SFIA makes the organization to provide what is the job's requirement or capability to the interviewee and there is no fixed conditions for the job. Managing and developing skills are the main points due to both employees and employers. By using SFIA, the organization identifies each roles which needed to make the process of business be successful. Through SFIA, the interviewee will be helped to map their skills and experience within an IT job, and also makes individual's career path much clearer. Capability of person would be the main characteristic from the management cycle. SFIA also used by the organization to measure and evaluate skills to the industry standard, other than that, SFIA can be a model to plan training activities to the staffs and determine skills gaps between the time.

Question 2

A career management system of a organization has been research and reference which is SHELL Oil Company. As all of us know, SHELL petrol station located everywhere in our country and SHELL is the largest oil company in the world. In 2008, SHELL used SFIA V3 Based IT Competence Framework. To improve the business demand, SHELL designed the new IT Competence Framework to help them reach the task. The character of IT in SHELL is refreshing which means the what is the method for SHELL to provide IT services from is refreshing, so SHELL has created a New Integrated Delivery Model (IDM). There are some different set competences for new / different IT job families, which needed by the new IDM. So SHELL changing the IT competence framework and improve the chances for IT learning and development.

Why SHELL choose SFIA as their framework. Because of SHELL's main market is not on Information technology (IT), so SHELL rather to use a built and mutual framework than to build a framework by own self. SHELL as a worldwide organization, so they have to able to overcome all of the interests, and SHELL just can choose the only workable competence model which is SFIA. SFIA provides the chance to SHELL to benchmark themselves and comparing with other major user.

The earlier framework using by SHELL started in 2001 which is BSC Industry Structure Model Ver.3 (ISM3). SFIA Plus was designed to map with the ISM3, SHELL were able to map ISM3 with the SFIA Plus and SHELL gain confidence in framework. According to SHELL, "We were able to map the Shell Job Grade structure to SFIA levels via the mapping guidance between ISM3 and SFIA.". SHELL had a step forward by changing to SFIA framework.

The new framework in SHELL list out the skill / knowledge to the individuals must required Analytical Thinking, Attention to Detail, Organizational Awareness , Decision Making, Goal Orientation and etc. These make the organization and the individuals have and know the basic condition for the job application. The framework describes the jobs and competences in few steps: 1. A position is including in a job family 2. Defined the job family by using SFIA 3. Determine the proof points to each job family which has a competence profile. 4. Staff develop a personal competence profile 5. Comparing the personal profile with the job profile to identify development needs 6. Plan staff's future career by using job map.

SHELL had launch My:IT portal and booklet, which use to implement and use of the new IT Competence Framework. The My:IT provides IT staff about the information which needed in the services, and descriptions of the IT competence and the different levels for every line in the organization. My:IT also provide the learning and development chances of job and for each IT functional Competence. There are 4-box models that use to learn and development guidelines to address competence gaps: Reference Materials, Training Courses, Professional Experiences and On-the-Job+Coaching.

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