According to The Lean Enterprise Institute, to be lean means to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. It’s a philosophy that has a lot to offer the modern IT department: doing more with less. In IT, customers may be internal, but that doesn’t lessen the pressure to provide the same level of service (or more) with fewer resources. Cutting the waste from our efforts can help us do that. One area of IT that is particularly ripe for excess: human resource utilization.
3 Common IT Utilization Challenges
Human resources is a discipline that is burdened with challenges, but a few IT trends are making it even more difficult.
1 - The right talent is harder to find. Many IT hiring managers feel that it’s getting harder to find the right people. It isn’t necessarily that fewer people are going into IT, or that they are any less talented. Technology advancements have increased the number of areas of expertise required and deepened the skill sets needed to cover them adequately.
Case in point: data security. When the internet was new and we were all just a bit more naive, system security was handled by someone in IT. No one outside of IT thought much about how data security was managed or by whom. Then the multi-million-dollar, high-profile breaches started rolling in and the feds stepped up their regulatory oversight. These days, the threat is too dire and too mutable for anything less than a full-time specialist. Or a team of specialists.
2 - The cost of qualified talent is rising. If you are lucky enough to attract qualified candidates for your IT postings, you might be surprised by the salaries they expect. Specialized roles such as security experts, system architects and database administrators can easily pull in over six figures, and the competitive ones are often lured away by better offers.
3 - There is more to do. These days, everyone has a computer at their desk. Sometimes more than one. And even though it’s often against company policy, many employees want to use their own devices or download unauthorized apps to their work machines. While you’re trying to handle all that, the CEO comes into your office and asks you to compile a report on how you’re dealing with the latest ransomware threat before the board meeting tomorrow.
Related post: DRaaS for Ransomware Attacks
As a result, many IT teams are stretched thin with highly-qualified and expensive talent spending time on tasks that they are overqualified to perform and other vital areas being neglected for lack of bandwidth. This raises the organization’s expenses and risks, and IT loses the opportunity to be the strategic contributor that the organization needs it to be.
Partnering with Experts can Help You Build a Leaner IT Organization
Optimizing resource utilization is one of those areas that IT managers (and CFOs) have been concerned about for as long as IT has been around. One of the tricks Lean manufacturers learned early on was to outsource tasks that someone else can do faster, better and/or cheaper. IT organizations can cut a great deal of waste by learning to do the same. Here are a few examples.
Pay only for the expertise you need.
Need a SQL DBA? According to Glassdoor, the average annual base pay for a senior SQL DBA is currently $112,449. Additional cash compensation ranges from $1,642 to $21,005. Add 25% for overhead, and the total you’ll have to shell out annually for one of these highly sought-after individuals can easily reach $150,000 or more. That’s if you can keep them.
Many of the clients we work with don’t need a full-time SQL DBA. They need someone who can manage their database around the clock, but that doesn’t mean that expert is doing something that leverages their skill set the entire time. Outsourcing their database management function can help organizations avoid the high cost of retaining a SQL DBA on staff and give them access to highly skilled DBAs 24X7. Furthermore, because database administration is the full-time focus of our DBAs, they are some of the most highly skilled DBAs in the business.
Cover your bases.
When your in-house IT team tries to cover it all, it’s easy for things to get overlooked: security, backups, disaster recovery and planning, just to name a few. Outsourcing these areas to a Managed Service Provider can help make sure you have the most important areas covered by qualified professionals. While it may seem that this doesn’t have much to do with removing waste from your IT department, those who have ever experienced a data breach or a long-term outage understand that it costs far less to address the problem before it happens than to scramble resources afterward. Plus, while you may not always get credit for uninterrupted services for your internal customers, you’ll certainly get the blame if you drop the ball.
Be the strategic resource your organization needs.
It’s a great time to be an IT professional. Given the average organization’s reliance on technology, as well as key advancements in areas such as the IoT, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, IT expertise is needed more than ever. As an IT leader in your organization, you can be the go-to expert senior leadership looks to.
Many IT leaders realize that they themselves are underutilized as are the people who report to them. They’re so busy doing; they have very little time to reflect on how their department can add more strategic value to the organization. And when they do, they realize that their team is so busy, they don’t have time to develop the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their plans.
Finding time to become more strategic requires delegation – for you and your team. What are those low level but important activities that take up the bulk of your time? Which of them can be done faster, better and/or cheaper by a Managed Service Provider like TierPoint?
Tammy Winterfeld is Vice President and General Manager of TierPoint's North Carolina data centers located in Charlotte and Raleigh. As GM, Tammy is closely invested in working with her local teams to help clients solve their IT challenges, specifically around hybrid environments. Her day-to-day responsibilities include service delivery, client satisfaction, business/IT needs analysis, infrastructure utilization, forecasting and P&L management. Tammy has over 25 years experience in the strategic account and technology space.