Who’s Hot? Tech Experts Who Help with Efficiency, Savings

Tech
leaders have their eye on specialists who can help streamline their
technical operations and leverage systems that can bolster their
company’s bottom line.

By Sonia R. Lelii
Dice News Staff | May 2008


What’s driving IT executives’ thinking this year? Cost-savings and
efficiency. As they look to hire and retain talent, CIOs and other tech
leaders have their eye on specialists who can help streamline their
technical operations and leverage systems that can bolster their
company’s bottom line.

So, business analysts, SAP
experts, and specialists in legacy modernization and networking are
among the tech experts most sought by major companies, according to a
study by researcher International Data Corp. Similarly, business
analysts, .Net and Microsoft SharePoint experts, and SAP and Oracle
database administrators are positions companies plan to scale up the
most aggressively through the end of this year.

They’ll
seek to fill positions either internally or through outsourcing, says
Gard Little, program manager for IDC’s Worldwide Services
Program/Global Services Markets and Trends. "If they have the staff
internally, then they will use internal staff," he says. "But they are
open to outsourcing to solve the business problem. It’s on the table.
In fact, one executive from a $3 billion bank responded: ‘That’s part
of the reason for outsourcing.’"

In February, IDC
interviewed 27 CIOs and senior IT executives from companies based in
the U.S., with revenues ranging from $1 billion to more than $10
billion, in industries including finance, healthcare and manufacturing.

Executives also were asked to list the IT talent they had
difficulty in retaining. Business analysts, SAP expertise, legacy
modernization skills (such as in COBOL and CICS) and networking skills
were cited. Almost all of the interviewees said their companies are
engaged in some form of application modernization, citing a large
remaining core of aging applications. Observes Little: "It’s not that
they can’t find these skills. They just have trouble in retaining
them."

Economic Woes

U.S. IT
organizations are reducing spending for 2008, with more than half of
the executives citing the sluggish economy’s negative impact on their
budgets. About one-half of the remaining interviewees saw a neutral
effect to-date, although they foresaw a negative impact down the road.
"They have not changed their spending plans, but they’re looking at
(them) closely and they can change them in a heart beat," says Little.

Nearly
70 percent of the executives indicated tech funding in their companies
is becoming more centralized. In the quest for better control and
efficiency, more lines of business will have the tech funding process
controlled through the CIO’s office.

Application
installations, such as SAP and PeopleSoft, and data center
consolidations as two of the top IT initiatives within their companies.

Bottom Line

The
interviews "show a significant shift toward cost reduction rather than
revenue generation as a driver for IT investment," says Henry Morris,
senior vice president of Software and Services Research at IDC. "Being
able to deliver IT services more efficiently, as a response to the
economic downturn and to recent mergers and acquisitions, is setting
today’s IT agenda. Responding to compliance and industry structural
changes, such as the popularity of generics in the pharmaceuticals
industry, are also key factors in deciding which IT projects get funded
and which get deferred."

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