A CFO friend of mine, Robert, just told me that he lost two senior IT managers to their largest competitor two weeks ago. The story was no different than the ones we hear from many CXOs struggling to retain highly-qualified techs. It’s a trend many human resource people know all too well. After listening to Robert describe his manpower dilemma, here’s what I’d like to advise for CXOs-alike to consider for IT staffing and operation.
Ignoring Lurking IT Recruiters
Every CXO understands the pressure of maintaining qualified technicians to manage their networks. But one of the biggest mistakes I see all too often is companies under-estimating the global demand for seasoned techs.
With aggressive head hunters actively recruiting IT contractors to help companies of all sizes fill their job positions, even your most senior techs are one offer away from giving their notice.
I recommend you invest in creating an outsourcing back up plan. It’s far easier than you think. Many of our clients have begun migrating some of their infrastructure to third party providers to protect their networks. Don’t forget your biggest asset is people. If your senior IT managers are whisked away by better pay and benefits, you’ll no doubt suffer months trying to vet qualified replacements.
Giving Your IT Department A Mulligan
I know what you’re thinking. How can you hold your IT staffers accountable for network problems if you’re not well-versed in how technology drives your business?
Essentially, ignoring the capital you invest in your technology is no different than writing a blank check. Too many technicians consider themselves exempt from cost controls and financial accountability.
Instead, I recommend meeting with your IT department managers. Ask them to develop quarterly capital expenditure projections. Next, track their progress every week. Are there vendors they can shop for hardware and software offering better discounts? You need to stop paying full retail every time your IT gurus advise you to invest in upgrades.
Smart CXOs are beginning to understand how technology is no longer considered an asset.
In Robert’s case, they were investing more than $25,000 per month in technology upgrades that became obsolete within one year. Many companies experience similar issues as most hardware and softwares have a shelf life of 18 months. Although some organizations invest in Apple OS products which offer better operating value (3-5 years), they commonly do not employ Apple-qualified technicians.
I advise my clients to consider leasing technology rather than owning it. Yes, you’ll probably invest more money long-term. However, you’ll benefit with far fewer tech problems. For instance, instead of investing in a web server (hardware and software), securing it, creating regular backups on another server, etc, choosing a web hosting service will provide a cost-effective and more secure solution.
Isolating Your Accountants and IT Departments
Years ago my partners and I had an idea. What if we schedule monthly meetings with our accounting department and IT team? Our goal was develop an open line of communication between them to develop strict technology cost controls.
Next, we formulated a negotiation protocol to leverage lower IT costs from our vendors. It takes time. However, I promise you it can help you cut expenses.
Ignoring Cloud-Based Opportunities
Does your company have an IT plan written in stone? If so, consider trashing it. Too many CXOs stick with one game plan how they manage their technology resources. Big mistake.
For example, converting your user-based demands to a Cloud system will free up resources. It’s ideal for companies with more than 10 employees running multiple softwares.
Banking Outages Won’t Happen
Last June, CodeSpaces.com suffered a one week outage crippling their business. An external denial-of-service (DDoS) hack rendered their systems useless. One day after discovering the problem, hackers causing the security breech tried extorting money from executives to restore their systems. Read the full story.
Put an outage recovery plan on paper. Meet with your IT managers and core executives to discuss a restoration plan. It’s not if it will happen but when.