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IT departments do more than just keep servers and apps running, and their roles continue to expand into new and vast technological adventures. As the career sector evolves, members looking to be part of the sector must evolve too. Goes without saying, but as in most cases, the strong or the willing or those willing to change survive.

The question, then, becomes: How do you, as an individual wanting to participate in and become a contributing member of this sector, contribute to future business success?

Thanks to development within cloud services and even SaaS (in the subscription-based everything-as-a-service economy), the required technical skills needed to manage such departments is becoming less vital to the health of IT departments. However, if the technical side of IT management is taken care of by your supplier (the owner of the subscriber service in which you are paying), what other skills do your teams need to enable the workforce.

Well, analyst firm, Forrester, says we should expect a shift toward soft skills, like communicating efficiently, coming up with innovative solutions that add value for the business and overseeing security protocols.

So, that leads us to project the future. To cast us there, here’s a list of skills the IT team of the future needs to be an excellent business partner.

Improved communication skills

To manage your future projects, you must find team members who can communicate solutions to customers efficiently. Thus, communication is key. As a leader in this area, you must make sure your team members can share knowledge with each other and with the organization. Strengths to seek include empathy. Teams of the near future must include members who understand what your customers want and why they want it. And how you can help them get it.

Innovation and creativity

You’ll need to create a culture that values business experimentation where making mistakes is considered okay as long as the organization is gaining new, useful insights. To accomplish this, you’ll need to reward employees who think outside the proverbial box to provide just the right solution to specific problems or identify just the right app for a customer’s request. In the experimentation model, you need to let your employees learn new skills and research new technologies.

Flexibility and “thinking on your feet”

Current and near future IT operation, you’ll need to find team members who – honestly, must take on several of the key components needed today: those who are flexible and able to deal with the ever-changing customer expectations. You must continue to ensure your staff is aware of new and emerging technologies that may have implications for your organization. The takeaway here is that your teams should be able to recommend the correct apps for use, as well as be able to explain how to use these apps and other technology so that your customers can make use of the best possible digital ecosystem for their jobs.

Value-add for your business

Business-savvy staff will be required to who can see where IT can add value to the company. Let teams align their goals with those of the organization. Look at the bigger picture. Team members who can zoom out of the IT island are better able to see what the organization needs.

The list above contains some of the most important skills for the IT departments of the future, but not every organization is the same. You may need other skills to support your workforce enablement; for example, you’ll need to determine if you require the skills to support BYOD or self-service. You might be faced with questions like whether or not you need your teams to connect more with other departments or across the entire organization. Perhaps, too, you’ll need skill sets within your team to determine if you need additional insight into customer experience?

Create your own skills checklist and get ready to support the workforce of tomorrow.