Author Archive: Jose Allen

IT Spending: Up, Up, and Away

It looks like CIOs are increasing their IT spending in the months to come. This is according to the article CIO survey: IT spending projections rise steadily in Q1 which revealed the survey results of the CIO Magazine Tech Poll.

According to the article, the spending rate of CIOs are predicted to increase of 8.6% during the next 12 months, up from the projected rate of 7.8%. The survey results also revealed the following information:

  • 44.8% – rate of CIOs who said that they plan to increase spending over the next year (up from 40.7% last month)IT Spending
  • 13.8% – rate of CIOs who planned to decrease spending (down from 15.5% in December)

Aside from that, the poll also indicated the different functions which could be the target for increased spending in the months to come. These functions are the following:

  • storage systems
  • data networking
  • infrastructure software
  • computer hardware
  • telecommunications equipment
  • e-business applications software
  • outsourced IT services

As indicated in the survey results, the spending rate for storage systems was the strongest sector in the poll. The survey showed that 56.7% planned to increase their spending which is up from the original 49.7%. The second category indicated in the survey results was security software with 50.8% stating an increase in their spending rate. On the other hand, the survey results also revealed that there was an obvious decline in the IT workforce. 13% of the participants remarked that IT labor was hard to find last year and in this years survey, the rate doubled showing a total of 26.3%. When asked about the reason for such survey result, Gary Beach, group publisher at CXO Media Inc. remarked that: One of the reasons is that businesses cut too quick, too deep two or three years ago when there was a mad rush to [out]sourcing. Now that the environment has improved a bit, I think the very talented IT workers are calling the shots and doing some job shopping and jumping. Or they’ve gone off and either started working with consulting firms or started their own businesses. It certainly is a trend we’ve been calling out for a long time. This survey result was in coordination with my last blog post entitled IT Workforce: On the Brink.

Thoughts and Insights

In this survey, we could see that a lot of CIOs are now gearing up towards a better and more improved IT in their firm. This is indicated in their willingness to spend more money for the development and improvement of these firms. I think that CIOs having this kind of concept in mind, the IT department would surely flourish. This leaves us to the question on where to find these IT workers. As shown in this survey and from my previous blog post, IT workers are now declining due to different reasons. I just hope that with the added interest of CIOs in terms of finances and growth in this industry, it would be able to produce more quality IT workers and an even more productive work output.

IT Workforce: On the Brink

Gone are the days wherein people consider the IT field as the “minefield” for opportunities. A recent survey done by AFCOM showed an alarming trend in the world of IT workforce.

There were 179 IT managers who participated in the survey which aims to find out the latest trend when it comes to workforce in the IT industry. The survey results were able to reveal two relevant nformation:

  • there is an increasing rate of aging workforce in the IT department
  • increase rate in automation

Declining IT WorkforceWorkforce

This is one of the results revealed in the survey conducted. More than half of the participants revealed that at they need at least three months in order to fill up the senior-level technical and management positions that are vacant in their company. Aside from that, 38% of the participants revealed that they are employing less employees that they did five years ago. The survey predicted that by the year 2015, data center workers would decline by 45%.

The Retirement Trend

The survey also revealed that the IT workforce are fast approaching retirement age and replacement for these employments are not coming anytime soon. Nate Viall, a Des Moines-based recruiter who specializes in finding application developers for the IBM iSeries remarked that: 20% of the candidates in his database have 25 years or more of IT experience which is more than triple the percentage in 1999.

The survey was also able to gather information and reasons why the IT workforce is decling and this is the end result:

    Reasons for Cutting the IT Workforce

  • Technology – 74%
  • Automation – 65%
  • Budget cuts – 47.5%
  • Outsourcing – 18.3%
  • Aging/retirement – 18.3%
  • Other – 17%
  • Lack of applicants – 15.8%

Thoughts and Insights

I think the case of people actually losing interest in working for IT is because of the negative publicity sorrounding it. In my opinion, one factor which affects the IT workforce is the exaggeration focused on offshoring/outsourcing certain IT functions. Let’s face it. There are a lot of opportunities available in the IT industry and even if some functions are outsourced, there are still a lot that still remains on its homeland. I guess that people should be more open towards this business trend because as of the moment, it is not going anywhere. Deal with it.

Verizon Joins the Offshoring Craze

Verizon, one of the leading names in communication is set to enter the world of offshoring providing through the 8.5 billion dollars worth acquisition of long distance carrier MCI.

Verizon remarked that they would enter the offshoring market through a management service in which the targeted market are business customers that are tired of leaving their IT-related functions to incapabe outsourcing firms and offshore management companies. Managed services are defined as a set of responsibilities which are transferred to a third party such as a carrier or an outsourcing firm by a corporation. Most of the services included in this industry includes network management/data management which is needed to complete its responsibility for a firm’s computing infrastructure.

Verizon said that it would make use of the skills that they have acquired through the acquisition in order to support the core IT resources of firms. The decision to outsource was brought about by the said acquisition and the growing demand for IT-specific offshoring skills. MCI, the acquired firm which is a long-distance telecommunications service provider had a strong background of network support for large corporations and government agencies. Through the experience of the acquired firm, Verizon is confident that they would be able to provide the quality service that these firms need in their decision to join the offshoring trend.

Rick Dyer, the IT director of the firm regarding IT solutions product management that they aims to target firms that needs to outsource specific IT functions and not every core business functions. The IT directos was also quoted stating that: we are taking managed services down-market a bit. We are managing the operating system but letting the customer manage the applications.

Thoughts and Insights

Through the jumping of Verizon in the offshoring market, IT offshoring would never be the same again. I guess that when the chance for offshoring was brought about because of the acquisition, Verizon did not decline the chance to expand their business and to prove that they have what it takes to make it big in the Offshoring market. This is a big chance for Verizon because their specialty lies on IT functions, something that is quite in demand and critical to handle. If Verizon would be able to hold its own for the first few months of their operation then the only left direction to tackle would be the road to success.

Finding a Multicultural Leader

One of the advantages in offshoring is the money that firms save in terms of operations and hiring. On the other hand, one of the disadvantages mentioned in offshoring is the culture gap that the firm and their employees experience in this kind of business strategy. The best way to turn this disadvantage into an advantage is to pick an IT leader that is able to understand the culture of both worlds.

In the article entitled, Casting Call for Global Talent, it talks about how firms could choose the best leader in this kind of situation. Most of the time, firms determine the leaders for this kind of business strategy based on the common characteristics needed for a leadership position. Firms need to understand that in this case, they should consider culture awareness of a person because it is one of the big hindrance in establishing a peaceful relationship in offshoring.

In this case, people that were born in the said offshoring destinations but are also aware of Western customs are the best likely candidate for the job. As mentioned in the article, expatriates that are willing to go back to their place of origin are the best ones for the position. In this way, they would be able to understand the thoughts of the employees in the offshoring destination and at the same time understand and meet the demands of the Western firm. The candidates for the said job needs to have experienced the culture of both world because in this way, the person would be a more well-rounded one because of its ability to balance the ideals between the two.

Aside from that, the article also mentioned that as early as possible, firms need to invest in these kinds of people because these people would become useful in terms of their outsourcing plan. This kind of strategy is currently practiced at ING North America Insurance Corp. in Atlanta. Jairo Orea, head of regional enterprise information integration described their recruitment process of such people stating that: We start a selection process by looking at a talent pool of individuals identified as high performers and screen their current and past performance, looking for early leadership indicators.

The article also included the 7 most effective ways in the development of a global leader. This was based on the survey done on 81 corporations worldwide by The Conference Board Inc. last December 2005.

    Effective Methods for Global Leaders

  1. Longer-term international assignments
  2. International cross-functional team participation
  3. Internal management/executive development programs
  4. Developing global management teams
  5. Mentoring and/or coaching
  6. International leader development centers
  7. 360-degree feedback

Thoughts and Insights

Being a leader is already a tough job and being a global leader is twice more than what a normal leader is doing. Being a global leader is a tough job because it means that you have to deal with different people from different culture. Aside from that, you still have to implement policies and regulations that the firm follows. Not every rule is applicable in every culture because there are a lot of factors needed to consider before stating that the rules are effective. In this case, rearing a global leader means that these firms should be able to adapt in the different changes and also needs to easily get along with others because these basic skills are needed in order to be an effective global leader.

Innovation Starts in School

Innovation is a term that is not only applicable to technology but to almost every aspect in life. In the article entitled Reading, Writing, and Creativity, it shows the interview done with Education guru Sir Ken Robinson that points out the importance of innovation and creativity in every aspect of our lives-either in school or in the corporate world.

When asked about his definition of creativity, Sir Ken Robinson mentioned this:

Ultimately it’s the process of having original ideas, but there are several steps. The first step is imagination, the capacity that we all have to see something in the mind’s eye. Creativity is then using that imagination to solve problems — call it applied imagination. Then innovation is putting that creativity into practice as applied creativity.

Sounds encouraging isn’t it? That is precisely what the education guru is pointing at. Each and everyone of us has the capability of being creative which blurs the notion that only artists have the right to be creative. The main ingredient needed to be creative is the motivation to do so and in order for people to take the creative approach, they have to incorporate it through the shool curriculum. The education guru pointed out that today’s curriculum is more concentrated on science and math subjects which are considered as theory-based ones. Though this kind of approach is not bad, he suggests incorporating more creative-based ones which could help young students to be in tune with their creative side thus fueling their imagination.

In terms of the corporate world, Sir Robinson points out that most firms are making a wrong approach in this situation. Instead of focusing on the outside creative human resources, firms should utilize the human resources that they have because all people have a creative minds and stimulating their creation through the firm’s environment or company activities. The firm should be an active part in stimulating a creative work environment for their employees. Sir Robinson also added that firms should know how to enhance the firm’s strengths and abilities for the betterment of their firm and their employees.

Thoughts and Insights

Creativity in a person is often taken for granted because of the misconception that only artistic people have the ability to channel their creativity. Through this article, people-firm leaders or not could recognize the truth that each and everyone of us have the potential to be more in terms of thinking creatively. Innovation and creativity should not start in the corporate setting. In fact, it would be best if it would start in the school setting which could help young people grow into a creative environment thus prompting them to hone their skills. Through creativity, people would be more bold in approaching things and the word redundant would cease to exist.

Random Thought in Project Management Part 2

Pardon my cluttered mind but it seems like I can’t have a direct focus on what topic to zoom in today’s blog post. Due to that, I decided to have a second part of my random thoughts. All of which are related to project management.

Changes in PM

I recently discovered Stephen Seay’s blog which provides useful information regarding project management. Being a project manager himself, I am sure that he would be able to give you a different view of project management because of his knowledge and experience in the industry.

In his blog, I stumbled upon his entry entitled Eight Stage Process of Creating Major Change which shows the step-by-step process of incorporating change in a project. This was taken from the book “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter. These stages are supposed to be followed whenever there are major changes to be implemented.

    The Eight Stage Process of Creating Major Change

  • Establishing a Sense of Urgency
  • Creating the Guiding Coalition
  • Developing a Vision and Strategy
  • Communicating the Change Vision
  • Empowering Broad-Based Action
  • Generating Short-Term Wins
  • Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
  • Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

Thoughts and Insights

The steps that were shared through the book is a very helpful one to all project managers out there. Why? Well, as we all know, nothing is permanent in this world except change therefore the least that we could do is to make sure that we are ready for the changes that are going to happen someday. These steps could be considered as the guidelines on how to manage the changes that are supposed to happen as well as the basis on how to act in certain situations. I believe that these steps would help a project manager in the adjustment process because adjusting is a difficult process and a little help would be more than appreciated at this situation.

Addtional Quotes on Project Management

I just have to share these wonderful quotes with you because of its witty and wise-crack humor. Of course, I got these quotes from the same blog. So read on and enjoy the humor but keep in mind the lessons!

A badly planned project will take three times longer than expected – a well-planned project only twice as long as expected.

If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven’t understood the plan.

When all’s said and done a lot more is said than done.

If at first you don’t succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.

Feather and down are padding – changes and contingencies will be real events.

There are no good project managers – only lucky ones.

The more you plan the luckier you get.

A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.

Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.

If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.

Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get him they don’t want him.

Overtime is a figment of the naïve project manager’s imagination.