article by Ed Sperling of Forbes.com
on the importance of fine-tuning an organization’s IT team is among the most
eloquent we’ve seen recently when it comes to the realities of outsourcing,
cost-cutting, and overall business value.
After acknowledging "the biggest areas for
cutbacks in IT have always been people, new hardware purchases and
infrastructure upgrades," Sperling notes that those kinds of cuts and the
associated outsourcing are fine, but they’re one-time gains, trading variable
costs for "what are hopefully fixed ones."
But CIOs also need to be
turning those savings to good use, and that means hiring in other areas. The
real value for IT inside a company these days isn’t managing the low-level
stuff. It’s finding new ways to grow business units and to enable communication
across an enterprise. That’s a combination of salesmanship, a solid
understanding of business needs and knowing how technology works. This is a
different breed of IT people altogether, and they’re tough to find. They’re
also in high demand, much pricier than a Java programmer and much harder for
companies to keep – which is why so few companies are talking about it.
What’s changing on a macro scale is a
value shift in the CIO’s world. It’s not that staffing should be cut; it’s that
staffing needs to be re-balanced. The quantity part of the operation can be
effectively outsourced with enough quality to make it work. But the
quintessential part of the operation – what makes a company different and
competitive – never will be
It’s a valid point and one that’s often
overlooked in the rush to cut costs.
— Don Willmott