IT is a fast moving sector and it’s easy to fall behind. Fall behind in your service offering and you don’t win accounts, and falling behind in your staff’s technical skills means you may not complete the project.
We recently surveyed Microsoft Partners for our report ‘Staff Resourcing Models used by Microsoft Partners’. We wanted to establish the mix of permanent/contract staff and whether their skills were keeping pace with market demand.
When asked “Which Microsoft skills and technologies do you foresee a possible need for in 2015?” most Partners quoted Azure, Office 365 and SharePoint. Our own experience is there’s also high demand for System Center, Security, Mobile Development, BI and Unified Communications in the contract market.
We have seen greater demand for contractors with security clearance and now over a quarter of our talent pool are security cleared. Here’s the breakdown of clearance levels across our contractors as set by the UK National Security Vetting Office:
Security Cleared (69%)
Developed Vetting (15%)
Counter-Terrorist Check (8%)
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (6%)
To fill some of the skills gaps you identify there are many free courses, events and certifications available. CIO magazine recently listed 8 free online courses to grow your tech skills, and Curo will be launching a list of regularly updated Microsoft events your staff can attend.
Inviting staff to review and update their CV or LinkedIn page is a good way to ensure they are moving in the same direction as your company. A 10-minute chat every quarter can ensure they stay on course and gives you the opportunity to advise on hot topics.
So what should the direction be? The annual ComputerWorld Forecast gives some clues. Their 2015 survey suggests CIOs will be focussing on security technologies, cloud computing, business analytics, application upgrades/development or replacement and wireless/mobile.
And the losers in the IT budget? According to ComputerWorld it’s Hardware mostly – 24% of the respondents saying their employers will decrease spending on servers, desktops, laptops and other types of equipment. Legacy systems, data center consolidation, unified comms and storage were also cited as areas of decreased spending.