The debate about the question how companies could assure a sufficient talent pool for their needs – especially in the IT area – is ongoing. Today I read an interview about the future of IT experts. The key statement of this article is: Only specialists will survive and generalists will have hard times in the future. Sorry, it is in German.
Such a statement is a challenge for all the architects like me as we should have a generalist view in our DNA. Personally it is even worse as it is completely contradicting all the efforts I am doing together with other colleagues at SAP to enable more colleagues in the area of architecture. The reason for that is very simple: We are facing a growing demand over the last years for people who could build up a big picture – in other words: a platform or an enterprise architecture. Enterprises have understood the need to have generalists working side-by-side with specialists for the different applications.
But one thing is important for me: You cannot start as an architect. Everybody needs to acquire deep expertise in one area before she/ he could broaden the area of expertise and develop a holistic approach. Let us just take HR as an example. It does not really matter whether you start as a payroll consultant, a time management expert or an organizational management specialist. Over time you could reach out to more areas so that you will be able to define a complete HR roadmap for an enterprise comprising all the HR modules in order to build up the HR of the future. Furthermore you will also work very closely with other areas like CRM as HR data is used nearly everywhere.
One thing is for sure: SAP projects will need experts and generalists in the future!