Align your Small Business IT Hiring Strategy with Business Priorities
By: Raleen Gagnon, Strategic Marketing Manager
Across the globe, small companies and major enterprises alike are leveraging their IT infrastructure to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. Whether it is a matter of implementing new business process automation or a migration to Linux from an existing operating system, businesses are investing in new technologies to optimize productivity in the short term and minimize expenditures in the long run.
But with the investment in new technology comes a need for new technical skills that impact the IT job market. While high national unemployment may has resulted in “a buyer’s market,” finding qualified candidates to manage a new project still requires thought and effort.
While the need to recruit and hire IT skills may stem from an existing project plan or new integration, it is essential for a small business to plan ahead and align new IT hires with corporate priorities. This will enable your new hires to expand beyond initial project or departmental needs.
IT Hiring Becomes More Strategic
Across the board, within the SMB market, and in the IT industry in particular, hiring demand is beginning to reflect a shift in IT hiring. In fact, a recent analysis of online recruitment activity by Wanted Analytics indicated that IT hiring began to decline in Q2 and has only more recently begun to shift toward a more strategic hiring pattern.
A March survey of CIOs conducted by TechAmerica confirmed that the hiring demand in the IT market reflects the corporate priorities of the organizations they serve. Survey results suggested that cyber-security and infrastructure are top priorities, closely followed by effective staffing of the IT workforce and IT management. A review of online job posting activity confirms that these segments represent a large portion of the open positions available to IT workers at this time.
Optimizing IT’s Business Functionality
Beyond having needed technology in place and employees to fill needed positions, CIOs realize that performance management and accountability are critical factors in ensuring an optimized IT function.
As we move into the fourth quarter of 2010, small businesses are evaluating their existing infrastructure and mapping their IT planning to meet 2011 corporate objectives. A large part of this evaluation is geared towards understanding where outsourced talent will be most cost-effective, which hybrid skills will need to be fostered or acquired to maximize productivity with minimal investment and how to consolidate IT vendors to streamline expenses and efficiencies.
With those trends in mind, small IT vendors need to consider how best to position themselves to meet the needs of their customers and prospects. As a local Value Added Reseller (VAR), Systems Integrator (SI), or other IT Consulting Firm, understanding how to position products and services as they relate to the larger corporate objectives of customers is essential. By changing the focus of the conversation to the larger benefits that can be provided, the conversation shifts from cost to long-term value.
Marketing New IT Skills
With the market landscape being highly competitive on a local level, this type of differentiation can dramatically shift the market share of a small IT company. Many companies may already have the requisite skills in place to meet the needs of customers in areas such as cyber-security and infrastructure management; others may need to assess internal capability and identify key areas of skills that should be further enhanced.
Based on the expected demand in the marketplace for IT skills, ensuring that areas such as middleware, virtualization, Linux, and web applications are covered by existing team members is essential. If an IT company doesn’t have experience in those technologies, it might be worthwhile to consider investing in training for existing staff or augmenting staff with newly-skilled workers who can also cover existing business needs.