The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

Skill changes in detail

Here are all the skills which have had significant change in SFIA 7.

New skills

  • Real-time / embedded systems development (RESD)
  • Software design (SWDN)
  • Knowledge management (KNOW)
  • Data visualisation (VISL)
  • Measurement (MEAS)
  • User research (URCH)
  • Demand Management (DEMM)
  • Supplier management (SUPP)
  • Organisational capability development (OCDV)

Renamed skills

  • Information management (IRMG) - now called Information governance
  • Data analysis (DTAN) - now called Data design and modelling
  • IT Strategy and planning (ITSP) - now called Strategic planning
  • Technical specialism (TECH) - now called Specialist advice
  • Learning assessment and evaluation )LEDA) - now called Competency assessment

Retired skills

  • Quality standards (QUST) - merged with Quality management (QUMG)
  • Sustainability assessment (SUAS) - merged with Sustainability (SUST)
  • Sustainability engineering (SUEN) - designing and engineering in Sustainability is covered in a range of SFIA skills such as REQM, BUAN, DESN, ASMG, HWDE, CPMG, ITOP, DCMA
  • Sustainability management (SUMI) - described in IT management (ITMG)

Changes to Individual skills

A summary description of the changes to each skill plus a rationale for the change is listed below. The menu in the sidebar enables you to jump directly to skills of interest.

Data visualisation VISL New skill

  • Data visualisation as a skill was present in SFIA6 – the Analytics skill  (INAN) in SFIA6 had references to ’visualisation‘ at level 4 and level 5.
  • The INAN skill, as a whole, was revised for SFIA7 to ensure it was fit for purpose for the current usage and application of Data Analytics in business and industry.
  • During this review additional questions were explored:
    • is the skill of Visualisation is different from the skill of Analytics
    • do roles/people performing Analytics always perform Visualisation; and vice versa
  • The conclusion was that there was sufficient rationale to create an additional skill and separate out Visualisation from Analytics

Demand Management DEMM New skill

  • Initially flagged to support Service Management
  • Although demand management could be covered, in part, by IT management and Portfolio management, that would make some unjustified assumptions about organisation structures and role design
  • It was agreed there is value in creating a standalone skill. A small part of Requirements definition and management (REQM) @ level 6 is now in level 6 of DEMM

Knowledge management KNOW New skill

  • Knowledge management as a field is not new but it was not explicitly identified in previous versions of SFIA
  • KNOW is focused on organisational level capabilities for managing knowledge
  • Note also the additional generic attributes for Knowledge which support SFIA's levels of responsibilities. That  captures the personal responsibilities related to knowledge and the application of knowledge

Measurement MEAS New skill

  • A skill for SFIA which should have broad applicability. E.g. Agile/Scrum metrics, KPIs, SLAs, OLAs, project management, process improvement, product management, etc
  • Measurement and metrics is an area with huge potential but also subject to misuse and misunderstanding by those who are not skilled
  • In previous versions of SFIA, the concept of measurement was almost invisible and generally assumed to be part of “management”. This has been addressed in SFIA 7.

Organisational capability development OCDV New skill

  • Another skill with broad applicability, e.g. Continual service improvement (CSI), Capability maturity improvement, Software process improvement, developing Agile and DevOps capabilities
  • We considered whether this could be covered, generically, by SFIA 6 skills such as Business process improvement, Organisation design, and Enterprise Architecture. However but with the common use of maturity models, capability models, operating models and a plethora of available frameworks it was determined that there was value in creating a distinct standalone skill.
  • Note the primary intended target is for use by IT/Technology/Software Engineering organisations and functions to improve their own capabilities

Real-time/embedded systems development RESD New skill

  • Consideration was given to whether this was already covered by existing SFIA skills such as Software development/programming, Systems design, Testing.
  • We concluded there were significant differences to warrant a standalone skill and that this would be helpful in explaining these differences to the wider SFIA user base
  • For SFIA 7 this is written as a skill encompassing the full lifecycle (design, development, test) . This decision will be monitored and revisited if there is sufficient demand.
  • Typically includes software interfacing with hardware, mechanical sensors and actuators for monitoring and control in applications such as industrial, automotive, aerospace and medical machinery, robots and equipment including IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Software design SWDN New skill

  • SFIA 6 had a skill called Systems design (DESN); this overlapped at its lower levels with Software design. At the higher levels, it referred to Information systems and solution and enterprise architectures.
  • Consideration was given to renaming and re-writing Systems design.
  • We concluded that a better solution was to create an additional SFIA skill for Software design and rewrite Systems design to ensure it is applicable to the broad concept of Systems – i.e. not just information systems, or business solutions
  • This also lays a future path for incorporating Systems engineering skills into SFIA and making the framework more explicit in its support for Systems engineering as a professional discipline

Supplier management SUPP New skill

  • Applicable to Service Integration and Management (SIAM) and Service Management
  • The alignment of supplier performance objectives and activities with sourcing strategies and plans. Working more effectively with suppliers to achieve benefits, recognising both parties need to achieve their goals.
  • SFIA 7 has taken some parts from Sourcing (SORC) to ensure we do not assume that roles/people performing Sourcing will also be doing the Supplier management. Sourcing and Supplier management are applied at different points in the typical life-cycle of supplier management.

Analytics INAN High degree of change

  • Significant updates to levels 4,5,6 & 7 to bring into line with data science
  • More emphasis on the application of mathematics, statistics, predictive modelling and machine-learning techniques
  • Extraction of references to data visualisation to a new skill (VISL)

Business process improvement BPRE High degree of change

  • Significant updates to the skill definition and levels 5,6 & 7
  • More emphasis on the contribution expected from Business Process Improvement skills to digital transformation and exploiting technologies to improve business performance.

Competency assessment LEDA Skill renamed High degree of change

  • Skill renamed (was Learning assessment and evaluation) for clarity and updates to all skill levels (3,4,5 & 6)
  • Emphasise the importance of "context" for assessment methods and tools

Configuration management CFMG High degree of change

  • A significant update to the skill definition and all levels (3,4,5 & 6)
  • Ensure that a single definition meets the needs of configuration management from software engineering through to service assets
  • More emphasis on developing organisational capabilities including automation in order to be inclusive to DevOps type developments

Database design DBDS High degree of change

  • Level 3 and 6 deleted to enhance alignment with the SFIA levels of responsibility

Emerging technology monitoring EMRG High degree of change

  • A significant update to the skill definition and all levels (4,5 & 6) to reflect the importance to digital transformation and other related areas
  • Reference to technology roadmapping and the need to scan for both threats and opportunities from emerging technology

Enterprise IT governance GOVN High degree of change

  • Skill renamed and significant changes to skill definition and levels 6 & 7
  • Expand to cover the broader view of Enterprise IT Governance (in line with ISACA CGEIT materials and COBIT)

Innovation INOV High degree of change

  • New skill level at level 7, significant changes to skill description and levels 5 & 6.
  • Reflect current approaches to innovation and the fact that innovation is critical to digital transformations and the technology industry as a whole. Level 7 added for leading innovation culture across the organisation.

Learning design and development TMCR High degree of change

  • On review, it was determined that the SFIA 6 skill-level descriptions for Learning design and development (TMCR) are each 1 level too high. 
  • Level 6 has been removed, levels 4 & updated and a new level 3 added.

Methods and tools METL High degree of change

  • Improved skill descriptions and a new skill at level 3
  • Improve consistency of application of these and to avoid overlap with over skills

Organisation design and implementation ORDI High degree of change

  • More emphasis on culture as the importance of culture to organisational change and internal capability development is dominant in industry thinking
  • Skill level descriptions updated

Product management PROD High degree of change

  • Industry applications of Product management show it being used in both external and internal approach.
  • Skill definitions reflected to make this more inclusive.

Programming/software development PROG High degree of change

  • Addition of new level 6 - allows for full professional development in software development without needing to assume Systems development management (DLMG) responsibilities
  • Skill descriptions updated to be inclusive to Software Engineering approach

Quality assurance QUAS High degree of change

  • Establish a more focussed QA approach and relate to risk
  • Include Quality Audits and assurance that Quality control has been effective
  • Make sure the skill definition is inclusive to products, data, services and business processes.

Requirements definition and management REQM High degree of change

  • Made more inclusive to cover software engineering, business solutions and product and service development
  • Inclusive to plan-driven and agile/iterative approaches with the expectation that senior levels can select and apply approaches from either philosophy

Sustainability SUST High degree of change

  • Merged in Sustainability assessment SUAS

Systems design DESN High degree of change

  • Levels 2 & 3 are extracted into the new skill Software design (SWDN)
  • Systems design reworded to be inclusive to software engineering and business solutions systems design (also positioned as inclusive to systems engineering approaches e.g for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Systems integration and build SINT High degree of change

  • Renamed to be more inclusive
  • More emphasis on use of automation to be inclusive to DevOps type developments

User experience analysis UNAN High degree of change

  • Refined as part of a coherent suite of skills related to User-centred design
  • Make inclusive to systems, products and services
  • Include analysis for accessibility

User experience design HCEV High degree of change

  • Refined as part of a coherent suite of skills related to User-centred design
  • Make inclusive to systems, products and services
  • Skill level descriptions have been refined to focus on skill description, not a role description
  • Level 2 has been removed; it was not part of SFIA v5 and the activities described in SFIA v6 are aligned to other SFIA skills. (e.g. INCA, ICPM)

User experience evaluation USEV High degree of change

  • Refined as part of a coherent suite of skills related to User-centred design
  • Make inclusive to systems, products and services
  • Changes to levels 3,4,5 & 6. Using consistent wording and re-ordering some of the descriptions. Minor change to overall skill description.e

User research URCH New skill

  • Refined as part of a coherent suite of skills related to User-centred design
  • Make inclusive to systems, products and services
  • Initial investigated the use of the existing Research (RSCH) skill in SFIA.
  • The conclusion was that although some obvious overlap; overall the focus and execution of User research (requiring heavy involvement of users) was different from the more academic research approach described in RSCH.
  • Also considered whether this could form part of User experience analysis (UNAN) or User experience evaluation (USEV). Again there is value in bringing this out separately so that we do not assume a role design (specialist User Research positions are found in the industry) and this also supports the user-centred design approach to digital services.

Continuity management COPL Medium degree of change

  • Significant additions to level 4,
  • Additions to skill description and level 5

Customer service support CSMG Medium degree of change

  • More emphasis on omnichannel support for customer service including digital channel
  • Re-ordering of level 5

Data management DATM Medium degree of change

  • Include reference to master data management
  • Extend reference to ethical handling of data

Data modelling and design DTAN Medium degree of change

  • Name change from Data Analysis
  • In previous versions of SFIA; DTAN current described Data analysis activities which are part of the systems development life-cycle, e.g. alongside business analysis. In industry the term; Data analysis is also applied to Data analytics - which is described in the SFIA skill called "Analytics" (INAN).
  • It was agreed that a name change is needed to aid clarity.
  • The name Data modelling and design reflects the activities and responsibilities described in the DTAN skill. It is also the terminology used by the DAMA DMBOK to describe this topic.

Information content authoring INCA Medium degree of change

  • Reworded to be more inclusive to the reflect that this skill is used in a wide variety of contexts - not just web pages and web sites
  • This should allow more effective alignment to this skill for roles such as Technical Writer, Content Developer

Information content publishing ICPM Medium degree of change

  • Reworded to be consistent with and complementary to Information content authoring (INCA)

Information governance IRMG Skill Renamed - Medium degree of change

  • The skill has been renamed (was Information management) to better fit with current industry usage of this skill
  • Level 4 strengthened and better aligned with generic expectations of level 4

Learning delivery ETDL Medium degree of change

  • In the previous version of SFIA levels 3 & 4 were very sparse. These have been extended for SFIA7
  • It should be noted that the SFIA skill called Teaching and subject formation (TEAC) is not about delivering teaching

Marketing MKTG Skill Renamed - Medium degree of change

  • Name changed to Marketing.
  • SFIA v6 description makes this skill appear limited to only digital marketing, leaving a gap that the v5 description of Marketing seemed to fill.
  • All skill levels and overall skill description have been updated.
  • See also changes to Product Management and the new SFIA 7 skill User research (URCH).

Performance management PEMT Medium degree of change

  • Level 5 changes - Removing of mentoring outside their team, not directly tied the performance management of their own team. Added responsibility for working relationships. Responsibility for performance targets moved earlier.
  • Level 6 changes - Added responsibility for working relationships. Responsibility for performance targets moved towards the beginning of the description. Delegation of supervisory responsibilities moved to level 5.

Quality management QUMG Medium degree of change

  • Now includes the skill elements which were described under the Quality standards skill (QUST) in previous versions of SFIA

Relationship management RLMT Medium degree of change

  • Streamlined the definition to make consistent with the introduction of the additional Supplier management skill (SUPP)
  • Minor changes and some re-ordering of overall skill description and level 4,5,6 & 7.
  • Some examples removed which are quite specific and not of general application.
  • The overall description amended to emphasis that this skill should be reserved for the systematic, planned management of stakeholders. The generic Business Skills, supporting Levels of responsibility, covers the management of individual, team relationships. Or in other words not every role or every individual need to have the RLMT skill.

Research RSCH Medium degree of change

  • Make a clearer between general “information gathering” (which can be covered by the SFIA generics) and research more directed to creating new knowledge
  • The SFIA Research skill has been elaborated to clarify and is more aligned to skills needed for commercial R&D and PhD programmes
  • Refers to areas of specialism such as research sites, data collection and analysis, quantitative and qualitative techniques
  • Note also the additional SFIA skill called User research (URCH)

Solution architecture ARCH Medium degree of change

  • New level 4 skill added to reflect industry practice
  • Changes to level 5 & 6 and the overall skill description
  • Change “systems architectures” to “solution architectures” in line with changes to Systemd design (DESN)
  • Minor changes and re-ordering of definitions

Sourcing SORC Medium degree of change

  • Changes to all skill levels (2,3,4,5,6 & 7) - removal of supplier management related activity to the new SFIA skill Supplier management (SUPP)

Specialist advice TECH Skill Renamed - Medium degree of change

  • Reworded and renamed (was Technical specialism) to emphasis the advice and guidance aspect rather than "I have knowledge of xxx"
  • Remove reference to "The specialism can be any area of information or communication technology, technique, method, product or application area” in each skill
  • Feedback suggested that this is an over-used skill; often selected where the implied knowledge/expertise should be covered in another skill.

Strategic planning ITSP Skill Renamed - Medium degree of change

  • Skill renamed (was introduced in SFIA6  as IT Strategic planning)
  • Skill description changed to be more inclusive at Strategic planning in general. This gives more inclusivity to Digital business strategies.

Systems development management DLMG Medium degree of change

  • Changes to levels 5,6 & & and also the overall skill definition
  • Make skill descriptions inclusive to predictive (plan-driven) approaches or adaptive (iterative/agile) approaches
  • General re-ordering of the sentences in the skill descriptions

Benefits management BENM Low degree of change

  • Minor changes made to overall skill description, and level 6 and level 5 skill descriptions.
  • Broadening to "operational managers" gives scope for the benefits realisation actions needed by line managers and others like finance, HR, procurement who may all play their part in realising the intended business benefits.
  • Removed two superfluous examples

Business analysis BUAN Low degree of change

  • Make inclusive to predictive (plan-driven) approaches or adaptive (iterative/agile) approaches

Conformance review CORE Low degree of change

  • Removal of reference to “automated business” process in level 5

Database administration DBAD Low degree of change

  • Strengthened the overall description
  • Made skill definitions inclusive  to the selection and use of automated tools for Database administration, including in DevOps type environments

Digital forensics DGFS Low degree of change

  • Add “totality of findings” and remove the reference to “computer” related evidence which is too restrictive

Enterprise and business architecture STPL Low degree of change

  • Level 6 re-ordered to put the “headline” statement first
  • Remove the sentences which are duplicated in Business analysis Level 6 “Establishes the contribution that technology can make to business objectives, conducting feasibility studies, producing high-level business models, and preparing business cases. Leads the creation and review of a systems capability strategy that meets the strategic requirements of the business.”

IT Infrastructure ITOP Low degree of change

  • Remove references to network which were unnecessarily restrictive
  • Made skill definitions inclusive  to tools to automate the provisioning, testing and deployment of new and changed infrastructure including in DevOps type environments

IT management ITMG Low degree of change

  • Minor re-wording for clarity
  • Include reference to developing new methods and organisational capabilities (including automation) for the management of systems and services

Project management PRMG Low degree of change

  • Make inclusive to predictive (plan-driven) approaches or adaptive (iterative/agile) approaches

Release and deployment RELM Low degree of change

  • Make inclusive to the application of automation to improve the efficiency and quality of releases, including in DevOps type environments

Storage management STMG Low degree of change

  • Remove “Drafts and maintains policies and standards for the corporate data” as that is in Data management DATM. Storage management implements in line with Data management strategies and policies.
  • Remove superfluous examples in level 3