Accelerating tech innovation is offering organisations unprecedented potential for productivity and growth. Big data now gives businesses real-time insight into their customers’ preferences and requirements, and the cloud has provided greater flexibility and reliability, all at reduced cost.

Artificial intelligence is streamlining resources while enabling faster, more accurate decision-making - and blockchain technology is helping to break down barriers in the supply chain, increasing levels of visibility, security and control.

With the right people in your digital team, the opportunities for digital transformation are widespread, each with the potential to propel your business ahead of the game. But faced with the sheer diversity of talent you’ll need on side, and a skills landscape that’s arguably more complex than most, getting your digital house in order can be challenging, even for the most astute IT leader.

What you need is a framework that covers the breadth and depth of our fast-paced industry, that enables you to pin down your team’s digital capability, organise your skills resource and plan for development and growth. You need SFIAplus V8!

A framework for today’s industry

SFIAplus V8 is the skills, training and development standard based on the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). SFIA describes the full range of skills needed in the IT industry, detailing a set of tasks for each skill, positioned across SFIA levels 1 to 7. Developed and maintained by the not-for-profit SFIA Foundation, it provides a global reference model for IT competency, and a common, accessible skills language for IT teams and individuals to share, as well as your HR and L&D functions. The SFIA ecosystem brings the international IT community together in a collaborative effort to keep the framework up to date and in September 2021 it released its latest edition, SFIA 8.

Developed by BCS and built around the SFIA model, the SFIAplus framework adds detailed training and development resources to each SFIA skill and task component - turning a two-dimensional matrix into a living framework which individuals and teams can apply in the real world to plan and develop their capability. SFIAplus has been growing and evolving with the industry for decades and, following SFIA’s latest update, BCS has just launched SFIAplus V8.

What’s new for V8?

In parallel with the burgeoning tech of the three years since the last update, SFIAplus V8 has grown significantly in breadth and depth. Under its six skills categories, there are now the brand-new sub-categories of Security and privacy, Data and analytics, Computational science and Security operations.

There’s been a big increase in the number of skills - V8 delivers 23 new skills in areas ranging from Scientific modelling to Feasibility assessment and Investment appraisal. Four skills have been retired bringing the total number to 121, and the addition of 100 new tasks brings the task total to 494.

But that’s not all. As part of the V8 update, BCS subject matter experts reviewed every existing and new skill, re-aligning a number of task components in the process and adding further levels to some of the existing skills. All the training and development resources have also been checked to bring them right up to date, verifying against any changes to course titles, web links or skills requirements.

The result is the most comprehensive and accurate definition of the skills and activities that make up today’s evolving tech landscape.

But what does it mean for my organisation?

The updated SFIAplus V8 framework supports you in delivering a digital strategy that embraces leading-edge technology, like AI and machine learning, data analytics and high-performance computing. It also helps you strengthen the essential capabilities that underpin digital transformation, in areas like cybersecurity, business analysis and change management.

You can use the framework to identify highly-targeted skills development for your team, which incorporates the latest industry best practices, methodologies and tools, and is in line with your business’s wider objectives.

For example, you know that data is at the heart of digital transformation but are you currently optimising its use in your business and do you understand the practical implications for your team? Under the new Data and analytics sub-category, there are now four brand-new skills that can help you exploit your organisation’s most valuable asset – including Data science, Business intelligence, and Data engineering.

Using the RoleModelplus skills platform, the V8 framework will enable you to undertake a progressive skills gap analysis giving you a clear view of your existing digital landscape and areas of focus for recruitment. Once you’ve identified your skills deficit, via RoleModelplus, the framework provides you with the basis for building accurate job profiles to support your recruitment strategy.

We all need a RoleModel

SFIAplus is updated regularly for accuracy, but for a skills matrix of this size to be truly effective, it also has to be easy to use and it has to provide practical, tangible benefits in the workplace. Step forward RoleModelplus.

For you

If you’re ready to start making great strides in your digital transformation, why not take your first step today by booking a free RoleModelplus demo.

You can learn more at bcs.org/rolemodelplus or find out about the benefits of BCS membership for your business.

RoleModelplus is the skills mapping platform from BCS, built around SFIAplus. It’s designed so that employers can quickly and easily make the most of the full SFIAplus framework for their workforce planning and development. It’s been updated in line with the V8 framework to give your business an unparalleled view of the skills and competencies you have across your digital department. If you’re one of the many employers across the industry that uses RoleModelplus to support your IT talent, you may have already started exploring the framework for the new V8 content.

The platform takes the pain out of skills gap analysis, writing job descriptions, allocating resource, recruitment strategies, career mapping, succession planning and so many more critical functions.

RoleModelplus gives you clarity around your current skills capacity, helping you understand your digital opportunities and plan your team’s development activity. You can start streamlining your L&D budget and demonstrating strong ROI, through more accurate upskilling tailored to business needs - with dashboards and reports for quick analysis. Why not try the platform for yourself by booking a free RoleModelplus demo.

T for T-shaped team

It takes an eclectic mix of skills to fuel your organisation’s digital machine - and that’s just the technical skills. With the proliferation of agile and cross-team collaboration, complementing those exceptional technical skills with effective soft skills and behaviours is vital if your team is to have the impact it deserves.

You can use RoleModelplus to develop a more robust horizontal bar for your T-shaped team. SFIAplus V8 offers valuable content around the typical behaviours required for every skill, at each SFIA level. All the descriptions have been reviewed and updated by BCS’s industry experts to ensure they represent a well-rounded view which clearly illustrates what is expected and how broader skills and performance relate to your development in any given role.

The increased focus on soft skills is also reflected by the addition of five new skills to the People and skills category in the V8 update. These include Workforce planning, Employee experience and Organisational facilitation.

Motivating a diverse workforce

Professional development and career progression in the modern IT department is certainly far from ‘one-size-fits-all’. Within your IT team alone, people will have come from multiple entry routes, with wide-ranging background experience and varying career aspirations. The breadth of SFIAplus V8 and the flexibility of RoleModelplus helps you build and motivate a diverse team. With a matrix that covers the IT spectrum and more than 120 cutting-edge skills across seven SFIA levels, you can identify practical career support and progression routes for all your people.

SFIA’s common skills language puts you on the same page (together with your HR and senior management teams - and the wider industry), providing a solid base for your discussions. It also promotes greater transparency around training and career progression across your department, which in turn encourages employees to take responsibility for their own development. The Browse SFIAplus portal enables individuals to explore the SFIAplus v8 framework for themselves. As part of an Organisational Membership, your team can access the portal simply by logging into their MyBCS account.