CAT | IT Projects

IT News March/April 2012

April 9th, 2012

Creating culture of IT innovation includes rewarding failure – Computerworld lnkd.in/mfGKif

In IT Projects, More Needs to Be Less Too – Information Management Blogs Article lnkd.in/rFZ3CK

Personal and Enterprise IT Gains – Information Management Blogs Article lnkd.in/fu9VKq

Attention tech sales people: Don’t go around the CIO :: Editor’s Blog at WRAL Tech Wire lnkd.in/SbT5YF

IT Must Provide Enterprise Collaboration Tools Employees Will Use lnkd.in/nf6qa9

When Will the Offshore Flow of IT and Finance Jobs End? CIO.com lnkd.in/YcF2vP

Bring your own tech: IT’s missed opportunity | Byod – InfoWorld lnkd.in/sHUXmm

Offshoring Shrinks Number of IT Jobs, Study Says CIO.com lnkd.in/553iN6

CIOs Overcome Shortage of Business Analytics Talent lnkd.in/ukwwzv

India’s IT Firms Hire U.S. Workers As They Fight for Visas CIO.com lnkd.in/fDhir8

Small Business Data Backup Plans Found Lacking – Small and Medium Business IT – News & Reviews – Baseline.com lnkd.in/yHWPaZ

Execs to IT: Take these cloud services and manage them | Cloud storage – InfoWorld lnkd.in/t6AMGu

How to Get a Hot Job in Big Data CIO.com lnkd.in/DWHzEX

Getting A Recommendation From A Past Employer lnkd.in/AnAXJE

Offshoring Shrinks Number of IT Jobs, Study Says CIO.com lnkd.in/8RnBUz

Why the ‘personal cloud’ is no PC killer | Cloud computing – InfoWorld lnkd.in/7byGYH

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The demand for tech part-time work can also mean the economy is improving, says an IT staffing firm

Whether companies require specific tech talent for a project or need extra help meeting a business uptick brought by the recovering economy, corporate IT departments depend on the contract workforce.

For CIOs, temporary staff offer the experience required to complete a specific task without the need, and cost, of permanently keeping them on the payroll. IT staffing firms see contractors as helping companies stay flexible and meeting the work peaks and lulls that accompany a recovering economy. In either scenario, contractors have been, and will continue to be, in demand for enterprise IT, according to CIOs and hiring experts.

 

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It’s next to impossible for IT employees to be experts in every skill needed to complete any project that comes up. To make up for this lack of expertise, many organizations hire outside temporary help. About 10% to 20% of workers on IT projects are contingent employees, according to David Van De Voort, a principal consultant with Mercer, a human resources and consulting firm in Chicago.

The task of staffing is typically an HR function, but the CIO oversees allocation of resources in the IT department, where it is often prudent to recruit specialized workers for specific projects. Establishing an efficient process for hiring and managing temporary workers is essential to the success of those projects.

One of the challenges in hiring temp workers involves finding the best contract workers and getting them up and running quickly and efficiently. Temporary workers aren’t cheap. According to Van De Voort, organizations fork over $3 for every $1 they pay a regular employee. Find the wrong people — or supervise them inadequately — and an organization is likely to waste a great deal of money in the process.

The upshot: It’s essential for CIOs to have an effective freelance-management system. According to staffing experts, a few key steps in the hiring and managing processes can ensure smooth sailing.Hiring

The first stage involves finding and hiring the right people. The more systematic the process, the easier it will be to locate the right freelancers quickly.

  • Designate regular sources Organizations often find freelancers from a few sources. Contingent staffing firms offer temps who specialize in IT skills. Some focus on specific areas of expertise, such as ERP applications or Java development. Because those firms are able to devote considerable effort to finding specific candidates with specific skills, they’re especially useful when the project needs only a few freelancers at a time.
  • Create a database of expertise An ongoing database of freelancers can list specific areas of expertise. “When you actually need the freelancer, you’re ahead of the game,” says Dora Vell, managing partner of Vell & Associates, an executive search firm in Waltham, Mass.
  • Clarify the job description While this step may seem obvious, doing it right can make a difference. Articulate specifically which skills are needed and the day-to-day duties will be performed, as well as the size and scope of the project, specific benchmarks, timelines, and other expectations for performance. Failure to do so often leads to hiring the wrong person. “We have to make sure we have every detail nailed down so we provide the right candidate,” says Kevin Knau, executive vice president of Hudson, a Chicago staffing firm.

Managing

Once the right freelancers are on board, they have to be supervised. While management of contract workers requires some of the same steps used when overseeing any employee, there are additional issues to consider, as well.

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Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

IDG News Service — Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

“Overall, employer confidence is improving,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president, North America, at Dice Holdings, which operates Dice.com, a technology and engineering careers website. “We hear that as we speak to our customers every day.”

The most recent edition of The Dice Report, which heard from 600 respondents across the U.S. who hire or recruit technology professionals, found that 71 percent expect to add more employees in the second half of the year than they did in the first. More than half of that 71 percent expect to hire 10 or more new IT staff members. Likewise, CDW’s IT Monitor has had similar findings in its surveys across the U.S. and in some areas of Canada.

The IT Monitor recently found that 37 percent of IT decision makers at large companies expect to hire more IT staff in the rest of the year, which is up 11 percentage points from a year ago — the size of the increase was “a much faster jump than I would have expected to see,” said Matt Troka, CDW vice president of product and partner management and acting CMO.

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Some CIOs always seem to be plush with funds and have great IT Budgets. This article looks at some critical factors which influence IT Budgets.

Year on year most CIOs are facing a downward pressure on their IT spends. IT surveys in last year and year before have shown that IT spends either remained the same or increased only marginally. Even the marginal increase mainly is attributed to increasing man power costs and costs of maintenance. However some CIOs always seem to be plush with funds and have great IT Budgets. Most others who do not fall in this category attribute it to organisation’s culture (IT savy), or great boards, amazing sponsors and many other things – other than the CIOs ability to obtain the budgets. However obtaining Great IT Budgets is a skill. This article presents a few principles on how to get approvals for great budgets. (Here we take into consideration only budgets approved during normal operations of the company. In special cases such during Fund Raising, IPO, M&A – getting budgets is a different ball game).

I do not like to oversimplify things. However two important principles which lead to great IT budgets are great projects and great selling.
Great Projects

Ask any CIO and he would have at least 3 to 4 large IT projects running in parallel (and possibly on miserably low budgets). The primary reason for the low budgets is that most projects which are selected and presented to the board (or committee etc.) don’t fit the requirements of strategic projects. If you look at the IT project classification grid – where does most of your IT Budget go? Most CIOs spenGrid2d maximum amount of budgets on “support” projects (mainly because these are critical for sustaining present operations), and on “factory” projects – projects which improve efficiencies. While these two types of projects are important – these will continually face a downward pressure on budgets as these are seen as ‘necessary evil’ rather than value adding activities. Great projects are the ones which fall in the category of “Turn around” and “Strategic”. These projects hold a promise of improvement in revenue – top line and bottom lines and becoming a great differentiator spiralling companies growth.

Indentifying Strategic Projects involves number of techniques – including innovation techniques such as Systematic Inventive Thinking (which I am great admirer of), brain storming, Deep Diving, strategic workshops, etc. I will dwell into some of these topics in some of my other posts. However one thing is sure that strategic projects can rarely be identified by looking at what competition is doing.

For any CIO, it is essential to first assess where his projects lie in the above strategic grid. Once he is sure that he has a great new project which is a strategic or a turnaround project, it’s time to move on to the next step – selling the project.
Great Selling
Most CIOs / CTOs require the approval of some committee, board, or sometimes a person for their IT Budgets. It is not enough to have a great project (or line up of projects) to obtain budgets. Many times the most promising projects are shelved because lack of budgets. What the CIOs generally ignore is that however great the idea – it needs to be sold. Here I give four simple rules by which you can sell your project effectively to your board.

1. TALK BUSINESS: Start with how the project is going to improve revenues and efficiencies. Present NUMBERS. Do not go through the usual rant of business requirements, approach, specifications approach etc. No one is interested in these. Talk MONEY, talk about CUSTOMER, talk DIFFERNTIATION. Do not talk specifications.

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A Harris Interactive survey found that IT workers see an improving economy — and an opportunity to start looking for a better job.

Cross posted from Computerworld

Computerworld — It may be matter of debate whether the IT job market is improving.

Certainly, for Eli Lilly and Co.’s (LLY) IT workers who are facing a layoff, the state of the job market is clear. The pharmaceutical company last week said it plans to cut 340 IT jobs on top of 140 positions cut earlier this year.

Eli Lilly employs some 1,250 IT workers in the U.S. and said the IT cuts are part of an overall restructuring of more than 5,000 workers nationwide, a company spokesman said, confirming a report in the Indianapolis Star , hometown newspaper in the city where Eli Lilly is based.

Despite the woes in the Eli Lilly IT operation, national IT hiring indexes have been showing fluttering month-to-month increases , and a new survey conducted by Harris (HRS) Interactive found that confidence among tech workers in the economy is on the rise.

Harris surveyed 4,367 employed tech workers, including 241 in IT operations, in the second quarter of 2010 and found that 38% of the IT workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 32% in the first quarter.

The survey, dubbed the IT Employee Confidence Index, was conducted by Harris on behalf of Technisource Inc., a national staffing and recruiting firm.

The breakout data from the survey could portent trouble for IT managers and companies now relying on fewer IT employees.

For example, the survey results provides evidence that many IT workers may already be preparing to look for new jobs over the next year.

Harris said that 61% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 a year are "likely" to start looking for a new job over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 27% of IT workers now making between $50,000 and $75,000 annually and 36% of those whose salaries exceed $75,000 are "likely" to begin a job search.

"In some areas, salaries were cut or certainly salary increases were suspended," said Sean Ebner, a regional vice president at Technisource. And, he added, "as cuts were made in IT, the remaining staff was asked to do significantly more without additional compensation. It really did create some pent-up animosity."

Ebner said the survey found more interest in seeking new jobs than ever before.

The willingness to look for new jobs doesn’t yet mean the job will be there. For instance, only 27% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 indicated that they expect more jobs will be available to them.

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IT is not an island: CIOs reveal the secrets to successful business projects…

By Mark Samuels (Cross Posted from silicon.com)

ANALYSIS

How is it that pure IT projects seem destined to fail, and yet technology is clearly key to business? Mark Samuels canvasses a group CIOs for their views on what barriers there are to IT project success.

“IT projects never really work,” says Mike Day, CIO at fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. That seems like negative talk from a technology chief but there is sound method in the apparent madness.

More technology chiefs are waking up to the need for IT projects to be sponsored by the business. In cost-constrained times, CIOs are trying to avoid driving into a technology cul-de-sac. So rather than simply implementing IT projects, many CIOs are aiming to understand what executives need from the outset and meet agreed outcomes.

“The best ideas are sponsored by the business,” says Day. “Technology is now so pervasive through the organisation; it’s end-to-end. The CIO has to communicate to the business what is possible and why.”

Such communication has to rely on agreed business objectives. IT and other line-of-business executives need to collaborate and work back towards technology implementation from an end goal that is well defined.

Take Day, who was searching with his executives for a means to help a dispersed workforce of global designers collaborate in real-time. The answer was videoconferencing, with the firm having recently signed a five-year managed services contract with BT to provide high-specification Tandberg technology.

The system meets the stipulated business demand, using virtual fitting rooms to allow employees from various business units around the globe to work together without the need for travel. “You have to understand the problem that the business is trying to solve,” says Day, who reports to the designer clothes brand’s chief operating officer.

“Success is about trying to identify what people want through a particular initiative. I’m able to talk in a language the business understands. CIOs have to rely on a strong network for outside peer review.”

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Will job prospects for U.S. IT professionals fare better or worse for the rest of 2010? It’s hard to tell from the latest economic and employment data being released by IT career experts.

Network World — Will job prospects for U.S. IT professionals fare better or worse for the rest of 2010? It’s hard to tell from the latest economic and employment data being released by IT career experts.

Reports issued in the first week of June provide conflicting information about IT hiring, compensation and outsourcing trends. On the plus side, these reports say IT hiring will increase during the second half of 2010, and CIOs are more optimistic about their budgets and staffing levels than they were a year ago. However, IT salaries and benefits are still being squeezed from all sides, and it’s difficult to tell which IT skills are most in demand on a month-to-month basis.

“There’s more volatility in the market than at any point in time since we started tracking IT pay data in 1999,” says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, a consulting firm.

As evidence of the volatility, Foote points to the May 2010 U.S. Department of Labor National Employment Report, which showed a net loss of 100 IT-related jobs in May, following a gain of 8,800 jobs in April. Foote has been tracking ups and downs in employment in five key job categories – IT services, computer systems design, data processing, computer/peripheral equipment, and communications equipment – for the past six months.

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Tags: IT professionals, IT career, IT hiring, CIOs, IT salaries, IT skills, IT pay, IT services

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After years of penny pinching and putting off key software and hardware implementations, IT executives now say they’re ready to start hiring again.

It was the worst of times these past three, four years and IT workers suffered as much as more as most. While companies across all industries were busy pink-slipping millions of workers, shuttering facilities and abandoning all non-essentially IT projects, it was the networking, software and security specialists who were out of work and largely out of luck.

But as CIO Update found, those days appear to be over as the vast majority of some 1,400 CIOs surveyed say they’re adding headcount and are feeling far more optimistic about their company’s future than they have in years.

According to survey by headhunter Robert Half International, 64 percent of CIOs blamed understaffing in their company’s IT department for impairing their ability to implement innovative or emerging technologies.

To turn things around and build out computing environments in the cloud or to update ancient installed hardware and software platforms, CIOs will have to not only begin hiring more networking and cloud-computing specialists, but pay them handsomely to keep competitors from luring them away.

It’s not the exactly 1999 again, but CIOs are starting to see some blue sky on the horizon and that means good things for IT workers across the board.

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Tags: IT Jobs, IT Hiring, IT departments, IT Budgets, IT Workers, IT Talent, IT departments, CIO, IT leaders

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The first practical guide to building IT-business alignment.

Year after year, IT survey results inevitably state that one of the top priorities for the coming year will be to align IT with the business. It is as if alignment is some unattainable and mysterious process and IT leaders prefer to avoid it in fear of failure – or perhaps in fear of receiving more work as a result. The topic certainly gets a lot of attention and is often the source of many articles – such as this one, as well as presentations at IT conferences. After requisite googling task, I found 3,300,000 results on the topic!

To make this article standout and ascend above the rest of the chatter, I will describe what alignment is and precisely how to build it for your organization. That’s right, the first practical guide to achieving in your business!

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Mike Hanes
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Tags: IT Jobs, IT Business Alignment, IT departments, CIO, IT leaders

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