Monthly Archive: November 2014
What makes you unique as an IT worker?
In the future, this could be the common question asked by HR staff when it comes to recruiting IT staff in the future. Gone are the days wherein an IT staff needs only to focus on their IT skills. In the news article entitled Business Skills Tip Hiring Scale, it revealed the survey results of the study done by SIM (Society for Information Management).
SIM is a Chicago-based organization for IT executives. The dats from the said survey came from the interviews conducted last year. There were 96 IT managers that were interviewed from different companies. The interview results revealed the different attributes that IT managers are looking for in the years to come. These attrributes are:
- business skills
- project management talents
- technical talents
- client-facing skills
Kate Kaiser, an associate professor of IT at Marquette University in Milwaukee remarked that the survey result is not a big surprise for them because of the trend happening in the IT industry. The professor also remarked that business skills are needed in IT staff because firms are now realizing the benefits of the IT industry hence the need to further enhance such benefits. Other results of the survey are as follows:
Additional Survey Results:
- The total IT workforce which includes in-house staffers, contractors and full-time equivalents would show stabilityfrom 2005 to 2008
- Organizations, especially the large ones would increase their outsourcing rate
- The same organizations would also increase their use of domestic outsourcing firms with workers that are located offshore.
- Programming skills would be the most outsourced function of these companies
- The results revealed that Fortune 500 firms are hiring midlevel employees like analysts, senior systems analysts and project managers.
- The ussue of baby boomer retirements would not be considered as a hindrance till the year 2011.
Thoughts and Insights
I think that the survey results reported in this article makes sense. This is because the trend now is evolving and in the IT industry, there is no place for the term stagnant. Everything needs to be moving and developing so that it would keep up the fast-paced change in the industry. People involved in the IT department should be aware of this fact which is also the reason why these people need to enhance their skills and grab the different opportunities for growth and development.
It looks like CIOs are increasing their IT spending in the months to come. This is according to the article CIO survey: IT spending projections rise steadily in Q1 which revealed the survey results of the CIO Magazine Tech Poll.
According to the article, the spending rate of CIOs are predicted to increase of 8.6% during the next 12 months, up from the projected rate of 7.8%. The survey results also revealed the following information:
- 44.8% – rate of CIOs who said that they plan to increase spending over the next year (up from 40.7% last month)
- 13.8% – rate of CIOs who planned to decrease spending (down from 15.5% in December)
Aside from that, the poll also indicated the different functions which could be the target for increased spending in the months to come. These functions are the following:
- storage systems
- data networking
- infrastructure software
- computer hardware
- telecommunications equipment
- e-business applications software
- outsourced IT services
As indicated in the survey results, the spending rate for storage systems was the strongest sector in the poll. The survey showed that 56.7% planned to increase their spending which is up from the original 49.7%. The second category indicated in the survey results was security software with 50.8% stating an increase in their spending rate. On the other hand, the survey results also revealed that there was an obvious decline in the IT workforce. 13% of the participants remarked that IT labor was hard to find last year and in this years survey, the rate doubled showing a total of 26.3%. When asked about the reason for such survey result, Gary Beach, group publisher at CXO Media Inc. remarked that: One of the reasons is that businesses cut too quick, too deep two or three years ago when there was a mad rush to [out]sourcing. Now that the environment has improved a bit, I think the very talented IT workers are calling the shots and doing some job shopping and jumping. Or they’ve gone off and either started working with consulting firms or started their own businesses. It certainly is a trend we’ve been calling out for a long time. This survey result was in coordination with my last blog post entitled IT Workforce: On the Brink.
Thoughts and Insights
In this survey, we could see that a lot of CIOs are now gearing up towards a better and more improved IT in their firm. This is indicated in their willingness to spend more money for the development and improvement of these firms. I think that CIOs having this kind of concept in mind, the IT department would surely flourish. This leaves us to the question on where to find these IT workers. As shown in this survey and from my previous blog post, IT workers are now declining due to different reasons. I just hope that with the added interest of CIOs in terms of finances and growth in this industry, it would be able to produce more quality IT workers and an even more productive work output.
Gone are the days wherein people consider the IT field as the “minefield” for opportunities. A recent survey done by AFCOM showed an alarming trend in the world of IT workforce.
There were 179 IT managers who participated in the survey which aims to find out the latest trend when it comes to workforce in the IT industry. The survey results were able to reveal two relevant nformation:
- there is an increasing rate of aging workforce in the IT department
- increase rate in automation
Declining IT Workforce
This is one of the results revealed in the survey conducted. More than half of the participants revealed that at they need at least three months in order to fill up the senior-level technical and management positions that are vacant in their company. Aside from that, 38% of the participants revealed that they are employing less employees that they did five years ago. The survey predicted that by the year 2015, data center workers would decline by 45%.
The Retirement Trend
The survey also revealed that the IT workforce are fast approaching retirement age and replacement for these employments are not coming anytime soon. Nate Viall, a Des Moines-based recruiter who specializes in finding application developers for the IBM iSeries remarked that: 20% of the candidates in his database have 25 years or more of IT experience which is more than triple the percentage in 1999.
The survey was also able to gather information and reasons why the IT workforce is decling and this is the end result:
Reasons for Cutting the IT Workforce
- Technology – 74%
- Automation – 65%
- Budget cuts – 47.5%
- Outsourcing – 18.3%
- Aging/retirement – 18.3%
- Other – 17%
- Lack of applicants – 15.8%
Thoughts and Insights
I think the case of people actually losing interest in working for IT is because of the negative publicity sorrounding it. In my opinion, one factor which affects the IT workforce is the exaggeration focused on offshoring/outsourcing certain IT functions. Let’s face it. There are a lot of opportunities available in the IT industry and even if some functions are outsourced, there are still a lot that still remains on its homeland. I guess that people should be more open towards this business trend because as of the moment, it is not going anywhere. Deal with it.
What is success in Project Management?
For most people, they view success in PM through the output that the project caused. On the other hand, some people view success in PM in the process-making of the said project. IThe article entitled Evaluating Project Success, Failure — and Everything in Between shows that “failed” projects could be caused by the standard of success that managers implement in every project. According to Chaos Chronicles, 66% of IT projects are unsuccessful in some measures. Measures that were mentioned are the following:
- project fails completely
- exceeds allotted budget
- does not finish according to schedule
- launched with fewer features and functions
In order to view the project as succesful or not, project managers must consider the process criteria as well as the outcome criteria.
- Time/Schedule: Did the project finished on time?
- Cost/Price: Did the project come in the set budget?
- Product/Outcome: Did the project result in a product of acceptable quality and meet other product-related specifications?
- Use/Purpose: Were the project’s resultant products/services used by its intended constituents?
- Learning/Evaluation: Did the project increase stakeholder knowledge and better prepare the organization for future challenges?
- Value: Did the project lead directly to the organization’s improved efficiency or effectiveness?
Thoughts and Insights
Success for me is a subjective term. Though financial gain and other material things could be considered as standards for success, one thing that is more important than financial gain is the knowledge and lessons that one have learned through that experience. Though in project management, the effectiveness could be measured by the outcome of the project, the real success lies on how the team overcame the challenges that they met along the way. As a project manager, one needs to know the criteria suited for the people inside a team as it would be the basis on whether or not the team had achieved its goals.
I recently posted an article entitled CEOs: Looking Forward to a Positive Future which shows that most CEOs are putting on a positive note as they face the year 2006.
In relation to that, a recent research done by Forrester shows the six economic trends that CEOs/CIOs should give attention to. These economic trends would help these leaders to plan their future actions as well as in implementing different business strategies. The research also indicated the reason why these powerful leaders should be abreast with the current trend stating that: CIOs and prudent IT groups should keep track of developments in the wider economy in order to anticipate and prepare for the challenges and opportunities their business partners will face.
Six Economic Trends:
- higher energy prices and an increased focus on energy conservation
This trend means that firm leaders should shift their plans towards “conserving” rather than having an increase in IT budget on oil-based industries.
- greater risks of disruption from natural disasters and terrorist attacks
Leaders should anticipate the unexpected dangers brought about by natural calamities.
- aging populations and retirement benefit crunches
Due to these trend in employment, leaders should find a way to have quality workers in their firms.
- the cessation of housing as an economic growth engine
This means that CEOs should implement a lower IT expenditures on housing-related industries.
- moderately higher inflation and interest rates
Due to this prediction, leaders should find a way to make the impact of this trend be felt less.
- accelerating technology globalization and slowing trade globalization
This means that a shift towards cost-saving business strategies like offshoring and low-cost operation should be considered.
Thoughts and Insights
There is nothing wrong in being updated regarding the latest trend and development in the world of business. As they said, information is power and nothing is more formidable than a CEO or CIO that is well-informed regarding important matters in a business. These economic trends predicted by Forrester should be given importance by these powerful leaders so that they know what to expect in the near future. Aside from that, they could also implement different business strategy in order to fight the inevitable problems that the firm could face in the years to come. Though these trends are more ofwhat is likely to happen and not the exact thing, it could be a relevant prelude of the kind of things to come. Whatever the case may be, being prepared is definitely a good practice to implement regardless if you are a CEO or just a regular employee in the firm.
Verizon, one of the leading names in communication is set to enter the world of offshoring providing through the 8.5 billion dollars worth acquisition of long distance carrier MCI.
Verizon remarked that they would enter the offshoring market through a management service in which the targeted market are business customers that are tired of leaving their IT-related functions to incapabe outsourcing firms and offshore management companies. Managed services are defined as a set of responsibilities which are transferred to a third party such as a carrier or an outsourcing firm by a corporation. Most of the services included in this industry includes network management/data management which is needed to complete its responsibility for a firm’s computing infrastructure.
Verizon said that it would make use of the skills that they have acquired through the acquisition in order to support the core IT resources of firms. The decision to outsource was brought about by the said acquisition and the growing demand for IT-specific offshoring skills. MCI, the acquired firm which is a long-distance telecommunications service provider had a strong background of network support for large corporations and government agencies. Through the experience of the acquired firm, Verizon is confident that they would be able to provide the quality service that these firms need in their decision to join the offshoring trend.
Rick Dyer, the IT director of the firm regarding IT solutions product management that they aims to target firms that needs to outsource specific IT functions and not every core business functions. The IT directos was also quoted stating that: we are taking managed services down-market a bit. We are managing the operating system but letting the customer manage the applications.
Thoughts and Insights
Through the jumping of Verizon in the offshoring market, IT offshoring would never be the same again. I guess that when the chance for offshoring was brought about because of the acquisition, Verizon did not decline the chance to expand their business and to prove that they have what it takes to make it big in the Offshoring market. This is a big chance for Verizon because their specialty lies on IT functions, something that is quite in demand and critical to handle. If Verizon would be able to hold its own for the first few months of their operation then the only left direction to tackle would be the road to success.
One of the advantages in offshoring is the money that firms save in terms of operations and hiring. On the other hand, one of the disadvantages mentioned in offshoring is the culture gap that the firm and their employees experience in this kind of business strategy. The best way to turn this disadvantage into an advantage is to pick an IT leader that is able to understand the culture of both worlds.
In the article entitled, Casting Call for Global Talent, it talks about how firms could choose the best leader in this kind of situation. Most of the time, firms determine the leaders for this kind of business strategy based on the common characteristics needed for a leadership position. Firms need to understand that in this case, they should consider culture awareness of a person because it is one of the big hindrance in establishing a peaceful relationship in offshoring.
In this case, people that were born in the said offshoring destinations but are also aware of Western customs are the best likely candidate for the job. As mentioned in the article, expatriates that are willing to go back to their place of origin are the best ones for the position. In this way, they would be able to understand the thoughts of the employees in the offshoring destination and at the same time understand and meet the demands of the Western firm. The candidates for the said job needs to have experienced the culture of both world because in this way, the person would be a more well-rounded one because of its ability to balance the ideals between the two.
Aside from that, the article also mentioned that as early as possible, firms need to invest in these kinds of people because these people would become useful in terms of their outsourcing plan. This kind of strategy is currently practiced at ING North America Insurance Corp. in Atlanta. Jairo Orea, head of regional enterprise information integration described their recruitment process of such people stating that: We start a selection process by looking at a talent pool of individuals identified as high performers and screen their current and past performance, looking for early leadership indicators.
The article also included the 7 most effective ways in the development of a global leader. This was based on the survey done on 81 corporations worldwide by The Conference Board Inc. last December 2005.
Effective Methods for Global Leaders
- Longer-term international assignments
- International cross-functional team participation
- Internal management/executive development programs
- Developing global management teams
- Mentoring and/or coaching
- International leader development centers
- 360-degree feedback
Thoughts and Insights
Being a leader is already a tough job and being a global leader is twice more than what a normal leader is doing. Being a global leader is a tough job because it means that you have to deal with different people from different culture. Aside from that, you still have to implement policies and regulations that the firm follows. Not every rule is applicable in every culture because there are a lot of factors needed to consider before stating that the rules are effective. In this case, rearing a global leader means that these firms should be able to adapt in the different changes and also needs to easily get along with others because these basic skills are needed in order to be an effective global leader.
As we all know, offshoring seems to be the number one business strategy that firms could think about whenever they want to implement cost-cutting strategies but at the same time still maintain the quality of work that they produce.
In the article entitled Report offers tips to protect your job from offshoring, it talks about the report done by Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) which focuses on the effect of offshoring in terms of employment as well as some tips which could help people from developing countries to be abreast with the growing competition.
Here are some of the results of the study:
- offshoring could affect an estimate of 12-14 million jobs in the U.S.
- offshoring could cause annual losses of 200,000 and 300,000 jobs
- jobs that are subjected to offshoring could include call centers and business processing ones
- 61% – rate of UK firms implementing offshoring work
- 20% – rate of U.S. companies implementing offshoring work
- 15% – rate of German firms implementing offshoring work
- 5% – rate of European firms implementing offshoring work
- 30% – toral rate of the world’s 1,000 largest companies implementing offshoring work
Aside from the statistics mentioned, the report also included tips which could help people in securing their jobs as the offshoring trend continues. These tips include:
- having a good educational background
- learning globally used technologies
- development of teamwork and communication skills
- honing and training one’s skills
These tips are considered important because high-skilled workers are now transferred and most of it are being relocated to developing countries. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, job applicants and students alike should have the basic knowledge needed to fulfill the said job.
Thoughts and Insights
Offshoring is something that you either hate or love. For people that feels hate towards this word, you need to know that this business strategy would indeed stay in the business world and the best thing that you could do is to cope with it. On the other hand, for those people that feels only love for this business strategy, well, you better do something about this love. Though offshoring offers job in developing countries, one should take note that only quality workers are eligible to apply for this position because they are the only ones worthy of such. Students should be able to study their lessons as well because these things are needed to ensure that you are qualified for the job.
As I have said before, tools are important part of project management because it helps project managers in their tasks and generally makes the job easier. If you need further convincing regarding the benefits of these tools, you could click here.
My blog post for today and my next four blog posts would feature the different project management software that five IT executives have found to be helpful in their jobs as expressed in their own words. This is part of the special report found in NetworkWorld.com.
The first project mangement software that I would share with you is Primavera Systems’ Primavera which was chosen by Ron Rose.
Ron Rose, the CIO of Norwalk-based Priceline has been in the networking industry for the past 30 years. According to the CIO, one of the biggest problem that he have encountered in project management is the problem of estimating which could result to the target date tardiness, insufficient resources, and other similar problems. To prevent these problems from materializing, he utilizes Primavera Systems’ [Primavera] project-management tool in order to record and forecast the necessary manpower and resources needed for each project. Through using Primavera, they are able to deliver more than 95% of the tasks assigned on time.Aside from that, the CIO also mentioned other things which they could do with the help of Primara.
Other Tasks done with Primavera:
- Archive details regarding technology projects (both past and present)
- Precision planing and keeping their resources adequate with their business needs
- Logging of hours spent working in the project and the skills required during that period
- Look at history of past projects
The CIO also mentioned that with the help of this project management software, they would be able to monitor the individual contribution of each project member as well as to look at the history of past projects that would help them in determining if the upcoming project would also yield similar result.
Thoughts and Insights
This is part of my five-part report regarding the different project management software that IT ecxecutives consider as effective tools in proper project management. The review and opinions expressed to each project management software are based on their personal experience as someone who could be considered as experts in their fields. In this case, their views and opinions are really important because they are always exposed to this kind of work which means that they have first-hand knowledge of the different things that they need in a project management software. The articles that I would post in the following days could be considered as a guide in choosing a project management software that project managers and firms could use in their own business operations.
This is the second part of my special blog post in regards to the favored Project management software which was selected by people who are considered “experts” in their own industries. In the first part of my blog post, I presented the Primavera Systems’ Primavera which was Ron Rose’s choice. (click here for more)
In the second part of Tool Talk, Michael Vertefeuille, IT director for the University of Connecticut School of Business would share his experience with Nortel’s Enterprise Policy Manager. The IT director has been in the industry for 15 years and remarked that this software really helped him in his work as an IT director.
One of the advantages mentioned by the IT director in using Nortel’s Enterprise Policy Manager (EPM) is that it could manage the networks in the classrooms from the instructor station. He also gave a situation wherein the software tool was considered effective:
If I’m teaching a class, for instance, I can use the instructor’s workstation in the room to choose what traffic I want to block and those packets are filtered from the edge switches within 5 seconds.
Aside from that, the software allows each instructor to use workstations according to their preference. For example, instructors who are giving exams online over the student laptops during class could ensure that they won’t be able to surf other sites aside from test that they are anwering. Through the use of EPM, one could prevent viruses and hacking out on the edge. If ever there is an outbreak, one could stop the spreading of the virus using the user port instead of bringing down the core of the network. EPM also saves time because everything is managed from a single server and it contains a great number of switches which gives a person an option to handle it remotely.
Thoughts and Insights
One of the benefits of this kind of software is that it enables a person to customize their software but still have one controlling network. I think that in this case, customization is one of the advandatage of EPM over other software. Not everyone wants to have a personalized way of handling a project but if you are one of the persons who wants to do, this is the software for you. Aside from its ability to customize, the software also allows a project manager the chance to work in an area that is far from the location but at the same time still maintain some kind of surveillance over the process. This is extremely useful if your job requires you to go from one place to another.