Managing human IT capital

Marie-Noëlle Gibon
Marie-Noëlle Gibon

“In the IT world human resources are definitely the main assets. The value of human capital leads a company to either success or failure. Human capital encompasses knowledge, competence and know-how. Unfortunately today still too few companies are able to manage skills and knowledge as they would do with any other assets”, says Marie-Noëlle Gibon.

Marie-Noëlle Gibon was a key contributor to the successful deployment of Groupe La Poste’s large IT transformation projects. One of her leading projects was the HR-oriented deployment of the information system. Marie-Noëlle Gibon was, with INSEAD’s Bruno Lanvin, one of the speakers of the IT Talent Management seminar that took place in Paris last November.

Accent on human assets
Marie-Noëlle Gibon is strongly convinced of the usefulness and necessity of developing a strong, open and active CIO community. “In this respect, I am happy to contribute to CIOnet France that started a few months ago. Discussing with my peers it appears clearly that such a community should encourage sharing ideas and experiences on the most structural and strategic issues CIOs have to face. It is therefore no surprise that CIOnet France chose IT Talent Management and Social Media as themes for its first two seminars. It is also obvious that the strength of a company is tightly connected to the quality of its non-material assets. In this context companies have to emphasise human, information and organisation assets, as Norton and Kaplan would demonstrate in the second volume of their Balanced Scorecard trilogy.”

The ‘Poste’ project
The project of Groupe La Poste was based on the referential database of CIGREF (Top 100 French accounts Association) together with the ABC methodology for analytical accounting. The objective was to assure a better control over costs, a prerequisite to the internal invoicing of the company’s services. This step was part of an overall estimation process of the non-material IT assets carried out using the ICdVal (Intellectual Capital dynamic Value) methodology. In conjunction with this evaluation process, Gibon rolled out a Management System of Value Destruction backed up by a risk management methodology resulting from the company’s use of information systems (MRB: Management of Business Risks). This way the company could take appropriate measures. At the end in 2006, Groupe La Poste deployed business referential databases such as CMMI, COBIT (mainly PO), ITIL (itSMF Grande Entreprise 2008 prize) as well as eSCM.

The quest for competence
This project strengthened Marie-Noëlle Gibon in her conviction that the number one priority of most CIOs is getting the right person at the right place. “This is not an easy task because of three reasons. Technology cycles are accelerating. They are in fact getting quite shorter, making both individual and collective talent one of the key challenges of the next decade. IT employment will face hard times as a result of both a restricted interest of the younger population and the scarcity of requested profiles while the demand remains high. This will even be the case while outsourcing tries to solve the lack of expertise. In the meantime, maintaining the expertise level of the teams remains important at a time when careers are getting longer. Having well-trained, highly skilled and motivated teams is key to fulfil demand and to meet expected performance.”

Attracting external skills
“If we regard talent as a person including his know-how and capabilities – as we consider talent as one of many assets for the company – the joint between talent and human asset will become obvious. This innovative approach makes it clear: talent is just like any other asset: it has to be developed to avoid depreciation. This is how a CIO will be able to retain talent while giving sense to careers. This is also how a CIO can attract external skills.”

According to Gibon, talent development can only be obtained through efficient career management, qualified trainings, anticipated jobs and skills evolution (GPEC). It is all about GPEC best practice implementation to make talent arise. As Peter Drucker said it so well: “The raison d’être of a company is to allow ordinary people to do the most extraordinary things.” ?

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