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By Roger Bruce, Vice-President, Managed Services, at Quadbridge
It’s a fun time to be heading up an IT department. The companies we serve are digitally transforming. Not just to accommodate the new ways of working that the pandemic introduced, but also with a view to the future. They’re looking to harness technology to provide frictionless customer experiences, improve operational efficiency, and make their business decisions even more data-driven. And IT is at the forefront, leading initiatives that will provide new capabilities, as well as being champions of cybersecurity and data privacy.
The good news is companies across industries and around the world recognize additional investment in IT is required to implement new and emerging technologies. In fact, according to Forrester, 65% of tech professionals said their firm would increase spending on emerging technologies in 2023. The CompTIA Industry Outlook for 2023 estimates that an additional 30% is being allocated to the IT budget for these technologies, on top of the spend for traditional IT elements!
However, is it unlikely that this 30% in IT spending will be sustainable, and operational budgets may suffer. Gartner’s latest forecast (January 2023) projects IT spending to attain a total of $4.5 trillion in 2023, an increase of 2.4% from 2022. But the previous quarter’s forecast expected growth of 5.1% – a quite significant reduction. If IT funding decreases, IT departments will find themselves between a rock and a hard place – forced to choose between competing priorities.
The CompTIA Industry Outlook questioned IT support workers on how they spend their time. It found that – no surprise – IT is being solicited on multiple fronts, occupying a role as technology subject matter expert, as well as providing the day-to-day support users have come to expect.
While new technology challenges are exciting and motivating for IT professionals, IT managers still have a responsibility to “keep the lights on”. But how do you plan resources in an uncertain environment?
When embarking on a new technology project, specialized skills are often required- perhaps as early as the initial planning stages. Recruiting people with those specific skillsets can present a challenge- particularly if those skills are only required for a short period of time. In fact, you may not even feel you have the knowledge to advise on certain technologies, never mind the know-how to implement projects based on them.
While the news is full of layoffs within the technology sector, IT Support and Professional Services skills remain in high demand- the current labour market for these roles remains highly competitive. The competition is fierce, and candidates have a wide variety of choice.
In many cases organizations choose to grow skills internally through training- and this is good for their team members- it’s good for their morale and the overall competence level of the department. But then, who will take care of day to day support? It’s hard to juggle multiple different tasks and still do a good job.
More generous IT budgets can also allow for hiring more people and, despite the much-publicized “tech layoffs”, many companies are indeed recruiting IT personnel. Or trying to. The CompTIA report found that fully 28% of all vacancies companies advertise are in core IT occupations.
Candidates today know they can demand higher compensation, and conditions such as fully remote work and flexible hours. They also expect career development plans. In short, the staff you hire to do infrastructure support today will want to implement transformational projects tomorrow, and you’ll be back to square one.
What if you could bring in the technology expertise you need, just when you need it? To advise first, then, if needed, proceed with project implementation. What if you could give your in-house staff that career development pathway, motivating good people to stay in your team? What if you could ensure that qualified personnel were available to effectively and efficiently support users and your infrastructure, when you need them?
Augmenting your in-house team with external professionals, as and when you need them, will enable you to manage your IT capacity more flexibly. Specialists from Professional Services companies can give advice on specific technologies, then accompany you in their implementation. They can work independently, or alongside your own teams, coaching them to higher competence levels. Managed Services professionals can step in to keep the lights on while your own people focus on key value-added projects – from time to time, or on an ongoing basis.
By outsourcing these activities, you also control your costs and budget. You know in advance what the outlay for the contracted services is, and there are no hidden costs, such as advertising or a recruiter when you hire, or the time it takes to ramp up. Services professionals are operational right away. And that also means you see an immediate impact.
There are several situations where on-demand IT expertise adds enormous value. Professional Services can be used, most obviously, to deliver a project when you don’t have the relevant and/or depth of skillset in house. But that’s not all. In a buoyant labour market, your in-house expert can be headhunted out from under your nose with little warning. There’s no need to put your project on hold while you’re recruiting a replacement, when you can add a qualified and operationally-ready professional to the team immediately. Similarly, employee illness or a sabbatical can be easily covered with an on-demand resource.
With employee retention being a major consideration in the current climate, any opportunity to develop and motivate your IT personnel with exciting new projects will be welcome. Additionally, delivering a project on time, on budget and up to spec, may require all hands on deck at a certain point. In the meantime, a Managed Services team can continue to provide the everyday services your internal clients expect, such as onboarding, IT support, and infrastructure management.
✓ Managed IT
✓ Managed M365
✓ Managed Backup
✓ Professional Service
✓ Managed Endpoint
After supporting Waterloo Biofilter with an office move, they quickly switched fromtheir current Managed Services Provider to Quadbridge. We now manage their entireIT environment and support their end-to-end IT needs.
• Quadbridge worked with the client to implement our Elite IT service thatprovides ongoing IT monitoring and management, responsive help desk,proactive service, and vCIO consulting
• We’ve become a fully trusted partner and have proactively led a number ofinitiatives to improve performance and advance their IT, including thefollowing services:
• Managed Cloud Backup: we optimized their backup strategy with anaccessible, cost-efficient cloud-based backup solution that our teamcontinuously monitors and assists with restore requests.
• Infrastructure Architecture: we upgraded their server infrastructure toimprove redundancy and performance – especially for employees workingremotely.
• Ad Hoc Requests: as the clients’ IT support, our team uses our range ofexpertise and onsite support capabilities to deliver on a range of simple andcomplex IT projects. These have included upgrading their conference roomsystems and completing a functional and aesthetic clean up of their cabling
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