IBM's Adaptive Workforce

Dec. 21, 2004
Managing the talent supply.

Talent can be managed just like a supply chain. Bob Moffat, senior vice president of IBM Corp.'s Integrated Supply Chain, supports the company's service organization, which accounts for $42.6 billion, or 48% of the company's total annual revenues. "We're taking classic hardware supply-chain principles and moving them into our service business to help them manage their assets: people," he says. The company calls the initiative the "adaptive workforce." The objective is familiar to anyone who's ever struggled to get the right product to the right place at the right time. Here, the challenge is to deploy the right people with the right skills to the right opportunities, both internally and externally. To do this the first step is indexing people's skills. "You have to have a taxonomy that says this person is an SAP expert, they had their last certification on the following date, they are physically located here, and they are either portable or not," states Moffat. IBM hopes the initiative will also make it more responsive to customers' evolving needs. Having such a taxonomy will allow it to make sure its capabilities are aligned with market demand, so that the company can hire and retrain people accordingly.

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