Why HR Skill Management does not work for IT Services and Consulting

Skill management is traditionally an HR topic. It’s about developing employee skills, gaining transparency on qualifications, and filling open positions. HR processes follow strategic, long-term goals.

The business model of consulting firms is selling consultants’ skills. Skills are an operational, day-to-day topic, from sales to invoicing. This requires different data, processes, and tools.

Companies that turn to us typically maintain consultants’ profiles in Word and use spreadsheets to track skills, regardless of what HR has in place for this kind of data.

This causes redundancies, process disruptions and administrative overheads.

Why does it happen?

There are some patterns that we keep seeing. 

HR departments handle HR tasks and use HR software. Most HR solutions provide some skill management functionality. HR ends up owning the skill management process and tool.

The problem is that what the business needs is different from what HR delivers. HR is inward-looking and defines its own terminologies, metrics, and timelines. Consulting business is client-facing and must handle customer demands in a competitive environment. The HR solution does not support this. The Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool that was rolled out to support the client-facing processes does not provide anything useful for skills.

From the IT department’s point of view, all processes are covered in the application landscape. So, the business patches up the gaps with its own tools: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or a home-grown solution developed by consultants on the bench.

Now there are multiple, disconnected tools for similar data. The data in the HR tool gets outdated since consultants see no need to update it in parallel to their Word CVs (which they would prefer not to update either). And the business is relying on make-shift solutions for core processes.

To fix this, skills management – as needed by the consulting business – must be a central ingredient of the PSA tool.

The consulting business needs more detailed and more up-to-date skill data than HR. Spending consultants’ time on maintaining data is expensive. This is where another advantage of the PSA approach comes into play: Skills and experiences can be derived from consultants’ assignments and tasks that are already maintained in the PSA tool. With the availability of Large Language Models structured skill assessments are not needed anymore. The information is obtained from work-related texts such as project descriptions.

This is the approach we take with decídalo. Due to its strong skill management capabilities decídalo is sometimes mislabeled as an HR tool. It is a PSA solution to capitalize on consultant skills.