IT department staffing solutions

Solutions to staff shortages in IT DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT

IT staff is a delicate balancing act. If you under-hire, you face an overburdened IT department that can actually stifle growth. However, if you hire too many, you’re wasting money. Your goal, of course, is to make the greatest impact at the lowest cost. Organizations that methodically examine their staffing needs, focus on efficiency, and use partners intelligently can keep IT staff down and business performance high.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The right IT staffing model for your business

· Calculate IT requirements and supply

· Before hiring, focus on efficiency

· Use consultants and outsourced labor to fill in the gaps

· IT Skills You Need Now: Think business, not technology

IT department outsourcing

· What are the drivers?

· Advantages

· Risks & Costs

The right IT staffing model for your business

A smart IT workforce strategy is critical to achieving business goals. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for determining how many IT staff your organization needs or whether you should outsource some of your IT department, by following a few basic principles you can strike a balance between controlling headcount and Find fulfillment of business needs.

Calculate IT demand and supply

To get a sense of whether your IT department has the right headcount, compare your current IT headcount to prevailing averages. Companies with 100 to 500 employees typically have four or five IT staff, while companies with 500 to 1,000 employees typically have 10 or 11 IT staff. However, be careful when using such wide numbers. Every business is different. For example, fast-growing companies often require larger IT departments, as do companies in technology-oriented fields.

Another approach is to conduct a benchmark study of the IT staffing of similar companies in your industry. Consultants can help with such projects, but less formal (and less expensive) research techniques can also be effective. Talk to colleagues in trade groups and professional organizations about how many IT staff they employ, or ask your technology vendors how many IT staff their customers typically employ. If comparable companies consistently have fewer or more employees than you, you may have a staffing problem. However, even better than benchmarks is an annual analysis of your company’s specific needs. Start by estimating how many hours of work you will need in each of these three categories over the coming year:

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1. Fixed needs: Planned IT projects such as hardware upgrades and application rollouts.

2. Variable Needs: Unexpected IT needs in response to emergencies or changing market conditions.

3. Maintenance and Operations: The basic technical support and systems administration that keep your staff productive and your servers and networks running smoothly.

Next, multiply your total IT workforce by the hours in a typical work week to get a rough measure of the hours worked in your current IT workforce supply. If this number exceeds your estimated needs, you are probably overstaffed. Conversely, if the number is lower than the estimated demand, you may not have enough people to get the job done.

Before hiring, focus on efficiency

There are two ways to address staff shortages: increase your workforce or reduce your workload. Before hiring additional staff, ensure your IT staff is as productive and efficient as possible by taking steps such as the following:

o Standardize processes: Organizations can reduce their staffing needs by replacing ad hoc management processes with standardized processes such as those found in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a popular collection of IT best practices.

o Minimize customizations: Supporting customized systems takes time and effort. So, keep customizations to a minimum on all but your most strategic systems to reduce IT overhead.

o Consolidate infrastructure: The use of fewer, more powerful servers and network devices, where possible, not only reduces hardware costs, but also helps to contain personnel costs. A consolidated infrastructure requires fewer people to manage it.

o Centralize administration: Monitoring your entire infrastructure from a single control center reduces your need for administration staff. Many vendors offer tools that enable centralized management.

Use consultants and outsourced staff to fill in the gaps

Consider hiring contractors and vendors when you urgently need specialized talent but are struggling to recruit full-time employees. In addition, the outsourcing of routine technical tasks helps to keep IT departments lean. For example, a company may only use permanent employees for jobs that require a deep understanding of core strategies. You have to make sure that [full-time] the people in your information services department are first and foremost business process experts.

Nonetheless, critical technical capabilities—for example, related to legacy or line-of-business applications—should remain internal. As a result, many midsize companies are shifting responsibility for increasingly important functions like security and business continuity from vendors to full-time employees.

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Ultimately, the trick to IT staffing is meeting two sometimes conflicting requirements. There is always pressure to perform and pressure to keep staff levels as low as possible. Meeting both requirements is a challenging goal that every company must pursue in its own way.

IT Skills You Need Now: Think business, not technology

IT staff with expertise in security, disaster recovery, and storage are in high demand. However, according to many analysts and consultants, companies should consider both business acumen and technical knowledge when hiring. Here are three reasons why.

1. IT is becoming more strategic. As IT plays an increasing role in providing competitive advantage, organizations need people whose understanding of business processes matches their understanding of applications and networks.

2. Communication is crucial. Today’s IT strategists work closely with business people from across the organization, so they need to be able to express technical concepts in language that laypeople can understand. A basic understanding of business ideas is just as important.

3. Outsourcing is on the rise. As vendors assume increasing responsibility for keeping servers running and systems available, the ability to oversee contract workers and manage partner relationships is quickly becoming a must-have for full-time IT staff.

IT department outsourcing

Outsourcing some or all of the IT department frees up a company’s valued IT staff to support its mission-critical business processes. Additionally, many organizations today are finding that they cannot take the risk or financial burden of running their entire IT department in-house. Outsourcing part or all of your IT department can make financial and business sense for companies of all sizes. In many organizations, users demand the highest level of service – from both a technical and customer support perspective. This can be challenging for smaller in-house teams as they are often so busy tackling day-to-day issues, making it difficult to implement IT improvements.

Outsource IT department – What are the drivers?

Growing Pains: Is your company growing that fast or making acquisitions? How is this growth affecting your IT staff and resources? Outsourcing part or all of the IT department is now an accepted mainstream solution.

Reduction: Is your organization downsizing? How does this affect your IT service delivery? Outsourcing the IT department is an option worth exploring to save costs and improve efficiency

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Infrastructure update: Are you at the end of the life cycle of your IT systems? (servers, laptops, personal computers). This is typically a 3 year cycle. This event is the right time to examine the possibilities of outsourcing IT departments

Business start-up: Is your company in startup mode? Getting IT right is important, but probably not your core business goal. Consider outsourcing IT to experts who will support your business from an IT department perspective while you and your team continue to get your business up and running.

Outsourcing part or all of the IT department can provide the following benefits:

· Rapid deployment

· Flexibility in the choice of technology and modules

· Improving cash flow management

· Reduce the burden on internal IT staff

· Efficient use of internal resources

· Powerful skills at a lower cost – Access to a mix of Engineers with unique skills

· Better risk management, particularly the risks associated with unplanned downtime due to major damage

disturbances.

· Avoids expensive recruitment

· Cost Savings – Eliminates the financial burdens that inevitably accompany running a business

internal IT department

· Time Savings – Businesses can focus on their own core business, resulting in higher productivity

Risks and costs of outsourcing the IT department

Outsourcing the IT department can expose the business to associated risks that potentially have greater costs than benefits to the business. Some of these associated risks could be:

· Loss of control over service quality

· Possibility of service interruption due to provider instability

· Increased complexity in managing and monitoring the outsourcing contract

· Poor communication between the company and the third party

Outsourcing IT services to third parties can put a company’s reputation at risk – if suppliers or partners let them down. Organizations in both the public and private sectors require a process of regular assurance from their external partners.

With a rigorous system, companies can more effectively manage their external relationships and reputation while allowing legal and labor agreements to be adjusted as the partnership evolves. At the outset, risks can be minimized by ensuring that potential service providers are screened with due diligence.

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