With the recent announcement of Windows 8, how will you lead your organization’s IT department through this major technology upgrade? What to consider if you rely on a technology consultant or IT staffing agency to get the job done.
It is surprising that not much has been written about the impact that Windows 8 will eventually have upon corporate IT departments in the not too distant future. It is a radical departure from what has been the business operating system status quo for literally decades. Not only are there both hardware and software issues to contend with, Windows 8 is such a drastic departure from familiar usability that IT departments across the world will at some point in the future be faced with a very confused and frustrated user community. While it is likely that corporate America will not be rushing to Windows 8 anytime soon, the situation is illustrative of a frequent issue that they must deal with on a regular basis; the need to rapidly and efficiently scale the IT workforce to address increase in talent demand.
Being in the business of helping augment the information technology workforce we see many approaches to how hiring managers choose to scale their IT department’s ability to serve the business. What is unique about the IT staff augmentation approach is that it is, of all of the company’s talent centers, the most likely to circumvent any formal process or program that may be in place to help make it easy (and cost effective) for hiring managers to quickly access the talent they need. The typical justification for this is that the skill sets in demand are significantly more unique and harder to find that technical hiring managers have no choice but to nurture a relationship with a trusted talent provider or staffing company in order to be prepared when demand increases.
STEP 1: RESIST THE URGE TO ADD MORE IT SUPPLIERS
Adding multiple niche technology suppliers however is not a very good approach to extending access to talent. While it may seem easier what ultimately develops is a situation where IT leadership is paying a premium not necessarily for talent but for the convenience of accessing that talent in moments of unpredictable demand. In such instances the IT department is paying for the wrong service. The staffing partners that are in place that allow an IT group to rapidly scale to meet a spike in demand should be working not simply to provide this sort of safety net. Rather staffing suppliers should be acting as a partner that is poised to help the IT hiring managers and leadership do two things.
STEP 2: PARTNER WITH YOUR TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT
We’ve written it before but it is worth saying again, corporate IT groups focus on a single set of issues in a single technical infrastructure; their own. Partner with them to help identify trends that will eventually lead to a talent demand increase. Staffing suppliers and IT talent partners, however, serve hundreds if not thousands of different companies that have varying infrastructures, and technology needs. This is valuable experience, and if a staffing partner is not brining this information to bear in their efforts to serve the group then they are not adding value. In fact it could be argued that if a staffing partner is not continuously offering insight into where talent demand may increase then they are guilty of being content to share and accept the premium that must be paid to fulfill unexpected demand increase instead of helping to identify talent demand trends.
STEP 3: SUCCESS PLANNING FOR IT TALENT
A technology recruitment agency must absolutely act as a broker of talent community relations. Access to the talented professionals that are able to perform specific talks is critical to an IT group’s ability to scale. A staffing partner must help their customers better represent themselves in those communities and be the ambassador for the IT group. Paying the premium to source on demand may be a reliable short term strategy but it fails to provide the IT organization with long term access and representation within key talent communities.
Windows 8 looms for IT organizations. Not necessarily today but sometime in the future. The timing doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the eventual Windows 8 migration represents the nature of how an IT group establishes its ability to scale in order to serve the company’s strategic objectives. The first question IT leadership must ask is “Are our talent partners exploiting our talent demand ebb and flow or are they partnering with us to proactively identify and address seen and unseen talent demand?”
A partner will deliver significantly more value and improve the ability to quickly scale.