By Tim Montague, President & CTO, AIS Inc
We are in the midst of a Revolution…a Revolution of understanding, approach and analytics. Despite the marching of time, the distance traveled in 20 years is more accurately measured in light years. The landscape of today’s technology adoption and integration is not only unprecedented; it permeates every inch of our lives; from our cars, to our watches, to our refrigerators. Technology in our daily lives is necessary, but at the same time, so remarkable. Welcome to the IoT, or more appropriately, the IoET (Internetworking of Every Thing).
But as with every Revolution, there are casualties. The casualties of the IoET Revolution are in the front line trenches of business – the IT Departments themselves. The casualties don’t come from a lack of skill or aptitude, they come from a lack of opportunity; the opportunity to be exposed and experienced with the technology that is evolving around them almost faster than they can keep track of it. This is the biggest problem facing business today. How to stay current and competent in the technology that can benefit your business? How to not jump head first into the pool for which you don’t know the depth of?
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The challenge and drawbacks most IT Departments encounter arise from the lack of exposure and experience. In IT departments today, there is an evolving and increasing factor of diminishing returns in traditional IT staffing. Gone are the days when you could hire 10 IT Engineers, they could learn your environment, and adopt emerging technology into your business as it was developed. At one time this was possible because the capabilities of your department staff outpaced the rate of technology advancement. However, today, Technology is evolving at such an exponential pace that your staff is getting left behind. Their skills become more static and less adaptive, and they are getting stuck in the quicksand comfort zone of familiarity and boundaries. From an overall business standpoint, this has an enormous financial, technology adoption and business flexibility downside.
When there’s a business case to adopt new technology, your staff must either figure it out from scratch or put it in the hands of consultants. Either option turns out to be a choice between two of the most expensive or time-consuming approaches available! But there is a counter-revolution brewing, a frontal push to take back control of using technology to leverage your businesses strengths, as opposed to being handcuffed and dragged behind the technology tsunami sweeping across the business continent. This insurgency is evolving in the form of IT Staff Augmentation – the introduction of highly skilled and seasoned dynamically skilled IT Professionals into your existing IT Department with the objective of impacting and complimenting the static skill set of your day-to-day IT staff. Think of it as dropping in a Navy Seal or Army Ranger to lead your team of Infantrymen. Those Elite Professionals bring to your organization the skills of an entire Company of IT Engineers and specialists behind them.
Take XYZ Holdings (name changed) for example. Their IT Department’s Annual budget for a staff of 13 Engineers was around $1.1M/yr. Through a Staff Augmentation approach, they were able to release 5 Engineers from their staff who were then acquired by the IT Professional Services Firm providing them with Staff Augmentation Services. In exchange they received 2 On-Demand Engineers that brought along with them access to the back-end resources and skills of 50 Highly Skilled Engineers and Specialists as a part of the IT Service firm engagement, thus taking their execution, maintenance and technology adoption capabilities to a whole new level. And, from a financial and budget standpoint, this saved over $250,000 per year. They went from being a Static IT Department with a devolving skill set to a Dynamic IT Department that can now flourish and thrive.
As the landscape of technology continues to evolve at a maddening and intimidating pace, the methods and approaches to the adoption and integration of technology, as well as the knowledge into a business’s Central Nervous System – their IT Department – must also adapt and evolve. Doing so, or not, can make all the competitive difference in today’s global marketplace.