How do you identify skill gaps in your organisation using formal and universal codification?

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) defines the skills and competencies required by professionals who design, develop, implement, manage and protect the data and technology that power the digital world.

Other benefits of SFIA include:

  • Shedding light on personal objectives and goals

  • Generating learning plans.

  • Closing experiential gaps through training

Learn more about SFIA in this blog post.

Lumify as a SFIA and SkillsTX partner

Lumify is an official SFIA mapping partner for Australia and New Zealand. Our team will work directly with you to map our 700+ courses into your organisation's SFIA competency management portal.

If you wish to adopt a management portal, SkillsTX can provide the portal. If you need SFIA mapping and consultancy, you can engage Lumify for mapping and SkillsTX for consulting.

In this video, Gary Duffield, Lumify Group Head of Vendor Partnerships, and Paul Collins, SkillsTX CEO share what this means for public sector organisations and corporations.

Let's talk about SFIA

You can visit the SkillsTX website at https://skillstx.com/ or contact SkillsTX with details from this page: https://skillstx.com/contact-us/

You can speak with your Lumify account manager about SFIA or contact us. You can connect with us through: [email protected] or 0800 835 835.

Read the transcript here

Gary Duffield: Thank you! Hello, and welcome to this very short video introduction. My name is Gary Duffield, and I'm the Head of Vendor Partnerships here at Lumify. One of the partnerships I actually manage is with an organisation called the SFIA organisation. And today, we're going to meet Paul Collins who we've also partnered with recently from SkillsTX.

Really, to help organisations understand the value we can bring in SFIA-type engagements.

Before I introduce Paul, I just wanted to do a very quick introduction of SFIA. Now,
this session isn't about what SFIA is; we're assuming at this point, you already know where SFIA sits or may sit in your organisation.

But for those who may not know, SFIA is NOT a trained needs analysis tool. A lot of people assume that it is - it's actually a framework, if you like, for describing and managing skills and competencies for professionals working in ICT.

Think of it as sort of a common language for describing skills and competencies, sort of the XML for competencies in the digital world.

Now, I'm delighted to say that Lumify is now SFIA partner. We're actually a mapping partner. This status is for organisations who have the ability and the skills to map qualifications, certifications or training courses into the SFIA framework.

And if you think about that, if you know Lumify, you'll know we have a very extensive network of training courses from Microsoft AWS Google through to ITIL, project management, Agile and change management.

We can help organisations map those courses into their SFIA implementations from the skills management point of view.

But that is a very small part of the SFIA story. Now, with that, I'd like to introduce Paul Collins. He'll do a very quick introduction of his organisation and then perhaps Paul will pick up a scenario and talk about how SFIA may be implemented in a government organisation or in an Enterprise type business.

Paul Collins: Yes, so just picking up really. We are a SFIA partner as well, a global partner. SkillsTX is a SaaS platform for managing digital talent within an organisation.

So, we start with "What skills do you have as an individual as an organisation? What skills do you need both now and in the future? And then what do you do to bridge the gaps between those two data sets? And that's where this mapping partner thing comes in that Gary's just mentioned.

Where we map the available upskilling options from Lumify and we can immediately signpost that to people that need that particular skill.

And obviously, a crucial part of that is upskilling talents to meet the organisation's demands. And of course, that's where Lumify comes in. And really, what we try to do in a very sort of macro level is join the dots.

Gary: We've partnered with you guys, obviously for a whole heap of reasons. One of which is your access to the platform that you guys have actually spent a lot of time, effort and money actually putting in place. Can you give me sort of a 30 -second overview as to where that might sit in an organisation and then we'll perhaps dive into an organisation in more detail?

Paul: In terms of mapping and SFIA, we come at it from the point of view of uh employee experience, to be honest, as a starting point. And then there's lots of benefits that flow from that. So in terms of a classic, let's take a scenario. And so we work with Governments.

Particularly, just out of interest, Australia and New Zealand have got country-wide licenses for SFIA. So, of course, they've clearly seen the need for consistent language.

Gary: I think my understanding is that means Government organisations can use the SFIA framework without charge, is that correct?

Paul: Yes, better than that any organisation within Australia can use it without charge.

It's a country license, not just a Government one. I'm not too sure about New Zealand. so I'll be a little cautious there.

Gary: It applies to New Zealand actually. So, basically, it's a free-for-all.

Paul: That's right and from my point of view, so where do we sit in an organisation? We bring SFIA to life. I mean, it's a framework, it's lots of words, it's a download, it's a PDF, it's a spreadsheet. But in order to get value from that, if you documented the skills of your workforce in a spreadsheet, it's going to be out of debt like the second you've done it.

So when we get involved in an organisation, and it's a very broad school these days, where the digital professionals are. And we do the deep dive into the skills that they have and where they are required.

And as we know in a digital world that changes very quickly. So we often work alongside a learning management system or training providers.

And we certainly integrate into the likes of the general HR systems. We're the ones that really focus on that digital group of people who are pretty important these days in most organisations and Governments.

Gary: And obviously about training courses, I mean, it's a happy by-product that
you're able to map training courses against it. So if I was thinking about an ICT Department, let's say inside a Government organisation, SFIA will have a range of competencies (as most people watching this will be aware of) that you can map against.

And I think what Lumify wants to bring to this party is to say, "Okay, you've identified these individuals of this department. They sit here. In order to move them further up the food chain. Or perhaps to look for an arrow and spare-type scenario, here are some courses that map into this framework that might take you on that journey. Is that a fair assessment?

Paul: Exactly it and if we look at it from individual point of view and then aggregate that across a team or an organisation. So we come at it from an individual point of view.

They will have skills and those skills are not directly related to the work they're
doing.

At that point in time, they have skills that they've acquired over their career. So that's that's one aspect. Then there are those requirements we can document. What is it you need to be able to do to perform your role successfully in this organisation?

And better than that, what are the skills you need to go to the next role that might be something you're interested in? It could be a job family, it could be a complete pivot.

But once you put that together, as I said, we end up with this Delta which is, "These
are the skills I have but there's always a gap because it just moves too quickly these days.

And the last thing we want to do is leave people high and dry with "Hey you have a lot of gaps, thank you very much!"

And that's where you guys come in and that's why we work with yourselves, to say "Well if you've got something that's going to help address those gaps. (so, we're a little bit like training needs analysis I guess). But it really is down at an individual level, like "Oh look, I've got a requirement. Suppose it's problem management."

"Oh, there happens to be something that Lumify offer that will help me with that." And we just put that in front of them. Of course at a larger scale that can be really good for the economies-of-scale point of view. That it might be, "Let's put the team through a program because they all need this particular skill."

Or organisation-wide you know, let's talk to the folks at Lumify and put some programs together to address the big issue that we've got because we're moving to cloud and we're doing digital transformation."

Gary: And that sets a level and that also works for recruitment when you bring need to bring new people into an organisation. You can assess them against what is defined as normal for that particular role inside that particular organisation.

Paul: Absolutely. And contractors likewise, we've got these four concepts of the different options you have when you identify skill gaps and the one that we're discussing here (which is really the most prominent) is upskilling. We call it building, so skill building within the existing cohorts. But then if you can't do that quickly enough, then you fall into "Okay, what about buying skills?", which is recruitment. "What about borrowing skills?", which is contractors.

And the one now that is proving really quite powerful is mobilising skills. So "Forget about your job title. I don't care whether you're a BA or a project manager a DevOps engineer, if you've got a particular skill and we need it now then let's just move that skill to where it's needed."

And the other thing worth pointing out here, without getting too nuanced about this. But again it's really relevant to the mapping aspects that we've been discussing. Certainly, the way that we Implement Sophia in an organisation is not to see a skill as a binary choice; it's not "I don't have, now I do have" because that's just not how the world works.

When when we get involved with organisations such as Lumify, we start helping people move on that journey from "I now have knowledge of the skill because I went through a training course." And your training goes deeper than that and probably takes people to proficiency where they've actually got their hands dirty a little bit.

And then ultimately through practice, they become competent and that is a good reflection of what really happens.

Gary: That's the beauty of this partnership. And I mean a partnership with yourself as well as almost the Australian and New Zealand market.

If you're looking at SFIA then we can obviously bring the skills slash courses that will take you on that journey.

But because we're a training services business, one of the things that we're doing right now is helping organisations find people with cyber skills and part of that process is actually doing a deep dive of their actual abilities, testing their penetration testing skills, testing them for their knowledge of how to spot a denial of service attack. Those are very hands-on tests.

So, that's not something you'd measure in something like SFIA but it feeds very directly back into SFIA. And then clearly, the courses in Cyber that that we have in
our portfolio would also map into SFIA.

So I just see this as being a beautiful union of competencies and training, and individuals and organisations often achieve their aims from a skilling perspective.

Paul: Absolutely and of course, one of the things that we were just chatting about earlier is you know everyone wants to use their budgets wisely. Even more so these days. We've read in the press, we know about inflation. To give people an opportunity to focus their time and attention on the services, for example, that you guys are offering, it's going to make an immediate difference. It gives organisations that edge. Because we've not got the opportunity for people to just you know wander around picking up skills just because they feel like it. We've got to be a bit more focused than that.

Gary: Sadly, the days that everybody's got a four or five thousand dollar budget every year for training, I think, are long since gone. There's a little bit more strategy required now when it comes to training. And at an organisational level then SFIA
can obviously help drive that strategy.

And I think from a partnership point of view, what are our next actions from here really if you'd like to have a conversation about SFIA, we would be delighted to have that.

I'll involve Paul, and get in touch with your Lumify account manager. I'll happily jump on any meetings ready to talk about what SFIA is how we can help you how can help map our courses and also other learning that you may not get through Lumify.

Then we can also work to actually bring some of that into an organisation.

Paul, I think you've done a stunningly good job at taking a subject which is potentially very complex, with lots of moving pieces and actually summarising it beautifully.

I'm going to put you on the spot. As you're parting words if you had to give me sort of the value proposition for SFIA, the kind of elevator conversation, the kind that if you've got a few red wines in a pub, and you might randomly speak to somebody about it. What's the SFIA value prop for an organisation today?

Paul: I'm going to just go a little bit beyond the elevator pitch there. But I will start with something that is just obvious; it's a Common Language and if we speak the same language good things happen. So consistency is a big part of the value proposition and that translates into retention and engagement. People can see the future in a very practical sense with an organisation.

The other thing (and I'm a little bit controversial about this) you ask somebody about skills and I immediately realise that we're not talking we don't even know what a skill is, in some cases so. And I'll just leave you with one tiny little example. I see a job advert it will say, "We want a JavaScript programmer. In the world of SFIA, we'll ask for a programmer with JavaScript. Now that might sound like it's the same thing, it's not.

We shouldn't lead with the technology; that'd be like saying "I need somebody that can use a particular power tool on a building site." Rather, what I actually need is a carpenter and the power tool is a secondary piece. That's another really powerful thing that opens the eyes of a lot of our clients.

So not just the common language but truly understanding what a skill is.

Gary: I've never thought about it like that but you're absolutely right. One of the things I sometimes do is I go look at SEEK for SFIA and you'll find exactly what you've just described, they're not putting the hammer first.

Paul: That's right they'll talk about the skill and to be perfectly honest, that's how it should be. Technology is important, we need to know it. But we need to know what the skill is before we know what the technology is -- not the other way around.

Gary: That's an interesting way to look at it. Now could we do another ride on the elevator soon? We probably will, maybe we'll do another one of these videos. But I did want to thank you for your time.

And as I said the call to action from this if you'd like to know more about SFIA or if you'd like to connect with SkillsTX, we would certainly love to take you on that journey. Thank you so very much for watching.



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