How to meet the resource challenge for vital IT projects

The biggest constraint for completing IT projects in today’s market is not budgets or technology but people. Ideally, many organisations would like to run change projects in parallel with their ‘business as usual’ IT services, but they often struggle to do so with in-house resources.

In the local market, we are seeing two factors causing this situation. One is a higher churn of IT personnel who are leaving organisations after spells that typically last no more than two years – taking valuable skills and knowledge with them. The second development is that there are fewer generalist IT professionals because the technology landscape is changing so rapidly, forcing many of them to specialise.

At a global level, Logicalis’ 2018-2019 CIO survey confirms this trend; 31 per cent of respondents said the lack of internal resources was causing them to export IT to third parties. Other surveys have shown similar results.

The problem is that few organisations have easy access to experienced internal resources that they can use to augment a team for a specific project. The project may call for a particular skillset that the company doesn’t have on its books. What’s more, these engagements can be short-term in nature which makes recruiting for them a challenge.

That is why working with an external partner to deliver IT projects makes sense on many levels. A specialist technology provider typically has access to multidisciplinary IT professionals who are skilled in a variety of technologies because of the work they carry out. At Logicalis, for example, our team has experience in working with products from leading vendors such as IBM, HP, Cisco, Citrix, NetApp, ServiceNow, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, Amazon, Checkpoint and McAfee.  

In a case where a customer wants to review and overhaul its infrastructure and network, we can scale the team in a flexible way by adding specialists at relatively short notice if the need arises. This is something a single organisation would typically struggle to do. And because Logicalis as a company is active across multiple geographies, we can call on additional resources within the group to augment our team based in Ireland. We also work with local contracting partners to source the right skills needed for any given scenario, to be managed by us or by the client.

We offer two streams of services: for customers needing short-term strategic consulting engagements, we can assess current infrastructure, networks and storage and propose ways to optimise or streamline it. We also provide Cloud, ISO, security compliance and cyber assessments along with infrastructure healthchecks, gap analysis, upgrades and patching. These high-level engagements typically involve around one to two weeks of work.

In addition, we work on longer-term contracts of three or six months’ duration. These are typically large projects such as infrastructure migration, integration or consolidation that might involve making the transition from one environment to another, moving to cloud, multiple data centres to a single site, or implementing large-scale disaster recovery infrastructure. Other areas we focus on include hybrid cloud, hyper-converged infrastructure, software-defined networking, security, and virtualisation.

Finally, there is another advantage to working with an external partner for these projects rather than dealing directly with contractors. Our staff retention rate is high, which effectively makes our (human) resources renewable; that is, the person who carried out a VMware upgrade or a network infrastructure assessment will still be in place long after a project is completed. If any issue arises further down the road, we can quickly act to solve it and minimise any disruption for the customer.

Together, these factors make a strong argument for working with an experienced external provider that can give organisations the resources they need to implement IT projects in a timely and cost-effective way.

This article was first published in the April edition of TechPro.

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