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Analysis

Matching skills to services aspirations
Bob Tarzey By: Bob Tarzey, Service Director, Quocirca
Published: 12th March 2013
Copyright Quocirca © 2013
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Resellers that can help their customers manage their IT infrastructure more efficiently should find that opportunity abounds if they get their service offerings and messaging right; they increasingly need to be seen as IT service providers. This is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from a recent research report by Quocirca “The wastage of human capital in IT operations”.

The report clearly shows that IT departments need to be savvier about how they use the skills of the staff in their organisations. Around 30% of the respondents to the survey, who were senior IT managers from UK enterprise across a range of industries, admit that as much as 30% of their IT team’s time is spent on low level tasks, which are often mundane and repetitive (Figure 1). They go on to admit that their team members spend as little as 40% of their time using the qualifications they have to do their job.

CRN Slide 1

Many such tasks could be farmed out to specialists that have the tools and skills to automate them. A lack of such tools is one of the top frustrations listed by IT managers (Figure 2). It is not just about making the management of IT infrastructure more efficient and keeping costs under control by not wasting the time of highly skilled and highly paid staff. It is also to do with what the overall focus of IT teams should be in the first place.

CRN Slide 2

IT managers say they would really like to get focussed on the modernisation of IT infrastructure and the delivery of new applications (Figure 3). Quocirca would argue that the second of these is the most important. It is not that the modernisation of IT infrastructure is unimportant, but that state-of-the-art IT platforms can be bought as a service through any on-demand provider. As the providers that manage such platforms carry out the mundane tasks such as maintenance, patching and upgrades as part of the service, the wastage outlined above simply disappears.

CRN Slide 3

This leaves IT departments freer than ever to focus on the delivery of new applications. Surely, that should be the Holy Grail for any right minded Chief Information Office (CIO); delivering high quality application services to the businesses. In fact, the process of re-focussing on this would change the profile of the staff needed anyway; more business process analysts and fewer IT technicians.

Resellers that want to be seen as service providers and further embed their status as trusted advisors to their customers should focus on two things. 

  1. They should be in a position to recommend and deliver on-demand services, be this infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service or full software-as-a-service. This does not necessarily mean owning the infrastructure, but creating the network of relationships to supply such services through cloud brokerage and/or aggregation.
  2. They should have the tools, skills and automated processes in place to manage integrated platforms for their customers that span existing legacy equipment and state-of-the-art on-demand services, with an aim to migrating applications over time where possible and/or appropriate.

Over time, more technically-focussed staff will drift away from end user organisations anyway, to find more fulfilling jobs with specialists, be they providers of on-demand platforms or those very resellers that aspire to be seen as service providers. Their new employers will make better use of their skills, as with IT delivery as their core business they will be less likely to waste skills in the way end user organisations manage to do. Those that remain with end user organisations will be able to focus on delivering true business value, which for many will have been a long-frustrated ambition.

Quocirca’s report includes a number of recommendations for how the management of IT infrastructure can be automated and the certain IT management processes industrialised. These are as relevant, if not more relevant for service providers as they are for end user organisations. Never before has the time been better for resellers to step up to mark and add the value they have always aspired to and become true IT service providers.

Quocirca’s report “The wastage of human capital in IT operations” can be freely viewed and download here: http://www.quocirca.com/reports/779/the-wastage-of-human-capital-in-it-operations

This article first appeared in CRN UK and on: http://www.channelweb.co.uk

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