Skills Management Software: Custom Or Ready-Made?

The Best Skills Management System: Custom Or Ready-Made?
Summary: Learn how to leverage the potency of skills management systems to identify, evaluate, and nurture employee skills. Find out which skills management software type is best for your needs: custom or off-the-shelf.

Which Type Should You Choose For Your Business?

In the contemporary high-speed corporate landscape, achieving success depends on the proactive management and enhancement of your workforce's skillset. While numerous ready-made skills management software (SMS) solutions are available, the real challenge, highlighted by industry expert Josh Bersin, founder of the leading advisory company for corporate learning, is locating software that serves as a single, centralized hub capable of storing every skill for every position. A core value of a skills management system lies not just in tracking but also in its ability to identify, evaluate, and nurture employee skills, link them to valuable training, and match talent with suitable projects and roles.

Criteria For Selecting The Best Skills Management Software

  • Skills identification
    Utilizes Machine Learning to identify and categorize skills from various data sources, including job descriptions, courses, projects, reviews, and career histories.
  • Skills verification
    Allows users to adjust inferred skills, with endorsements from peers and managers to confirm expertise.
  • Skills strength monitoring
    Detects skill decay and suggests refreshers, with customizable reinforcement intervals.
  • Upskilling and reskilling
    Recommends relevant training content when skill updates are required, often integrating with Learning Management Systems (LMSs) or Learning Experience Platforms (LXP).
  • Job and skills matching
    Integrates with HR software through APIs to create a centralized skills database for aligning individuals with suitable roles, based on validated skills rather than traditional criteria.

Custom Vs. Off-The-Shelf Skills Management Software

When discovering the market of skills management solutions, you'll find many off-the-shelf options available. If you've encountered issues with them in the past or are new to skills management systems, choosing a custom solution can be a wise decision. Customization helps you avoid common problems because it provides a tailored experience. You get a solution that demands exactly your organization's structure requirements. Whether you opt for an off-the-shelf or a custom-made platform, each has distinct advantages.

Advantages Of Off-The-Shelf Skills Management Systems

  • Cost efficiency and quick deployment
    These systems are pre-built, allowing for immediate use without the need for custom development.
  • Vendor support
    You don't require your technical team for maintenance; the vendor takes care of software upkeep.
  • Community engagement
    Popular products often have thriving user communities, offering opportunities to learn from others, avoid common issues, and maximize the benefits of your skills management software.

Challenges With Off-The-Shelf Skills Management Systems

  • Specialized purposes
    Some vendors focus on specific skill-related aspects, leading to fragmentation in the skills management landscape.
  • Lack of centralized skills database
    No single platform offers a comprehensive "skills cloud" that covers all job roles within a company, necessitating custom solutions for integration.
  • Limited functionality
    Major vendors are still evolving in their skills management capabilities, often relying on APIs to coordinate skills data between specialized systems rather than offering all-in-one solutions for corporate needs.

Top 4 Reasons To Choose A Custom Skills Management System

1. Personalized Fit

Ready-made systems may not suit every organization's unique needs. Custom skills management software tailored to your company's specific job structure ensures coverage of skills relevant to your industry, not just generic ones.

2. Control And Security

Custom software grants organizations complete control over functionality, design, and branding, along with the ability to maintain desired levels of security to protect data without third-party involvement.

3. Long-Term Savings

Most skills management software solutions operate on a subscription-based model (SaaS), resulting in ongoing costs. Of course, you need to invest money in your own SMS development, but this initial budget can be much lower than long-term expenses for a ready-made solution, and you can return the investments much faster.

4. Commercialization Potential

Industry experts, including Josh Bersin, highlight the growing trend of skills management. Companies that decide to enter the market early with their custom solution get a great opportunity to skim the cream.

Top 5 Opportunities For Your Software

1. Creating A Centralized Skills Database For Skill Inference

To proactively identify skills gaps in employees, align individuals with suitable roles based on their skills, and optimize workforce allocation, it's essential to organize all required skills in your company in a centralized inventory. The skills management platform has an organized system in place for categorizing and arranging skills in a structured manner. So managers can create, view, and manage them. They also can assign these skills as tags to match job roles and training courses. Essentially, it provides an organized framework for handling skills efficiently.

2. Assessing Employee Skills Using Skills Verification

Once you've established the skills library or matrix, you can use it to evaluate the competencies of each employee in the organization. The SMS offers multiple assessment methods. Mentors or managers can assess employees manually, or the system can facilitate automated knowledge testing through quizzes and tests.

After assessment, each employee receives a list of their mastered skills. Managers can use this document to assign job roles and assemble skill-based project teams, or project a plan for addressing skill gaps.

3. Monitoring Employee Skills

Understanding employee skills is vital. It helps find gaps that can harm growth, competitiveness, and project success. A platform is a real game-changer that puts all skills and training info on one user-friendly dashboard. You see what skills each employee has and where the gaps are. The software tracks skills and training, guiding work and development. It also offers resources to fix skill gaps.

4. Enhancing Employee Skills Using AI Authoring Tools

In order to address skill gaps efficiently, it's vital to create customized learning paths with relevant content. A modern skills management system includes advanced AI authoring tools that automate the process of course design. An administrator simply inputs a prompt and receives a fully prepared training course, complete with articles, images, videos, and other preferred content formats for skill development. The more precise the prompt, the more diverse, content-rich, and tailored the course becomes.

5. Aligning Employees With Job Roles And Projects

Think of the grading matrix as your secret weapon for aligning employees with the right job roles and projects based on their skills. Managers can see their team's strengths and weaknesses. That not only enhances team performance but also promotes individual skill growth. Essentially, the grading matrix is a strategic resource for talent management and team development.

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