Michael Ryan over at IBM Systems Magazine has an interesting piece up, provocatively titled Should You Rent or Own Your Employees? Rented employees, as it were, include independent contractors and consultants, with “owned” employees being traditional, W-2′d salaried workers for the company in question.
There’s a lot of benefits from jumping from salaried IT to being independent: Robin Miller interviewed Frank Sfalanga Jr. about how he got up and running in the field. Ryan takes a look at the issue from the other side: Should IT managers hire full-time or temporary staff? “Renting” employees, he wrote, are ideal in situations where specialized expertise is needed, for example, or if there was a one-time task at hand.
Reading through his piece, the pros and cons seemed to line up with another hot phenomenon: Cloud Computing. Just as with hiring full-time versus contracted work, it generally makes sense to keep your company’s core competency in-house, while strategically outsourcing non-business drivers, like which e-mail you use or your CRM software.
The risks are also paralleled: With full-time employees, you risk incurring large, long-term expenses that don’t necessarily scale up or down with the business. With contractors, you raise a host of new security concerns.
So where do you see your departments looking at the latest wave of employee-as-a-service? And where is important to keep the skills in house? I’d love to hear your thoughts.