Word comes to me of an organization that has completely overtopped on the growth of its IT department – both in terms of numbers and expertise.
The org has no outside solutions partners to speak of. Oh, they have service providers – you can’t get away with no broadband provider, for example. But instead of engaging a reasonable cadre of vendors/contractors/solutions partners, they’ve hired inside expertise, adding to the permanent staff, until now they have an unwieldy department that is difficult to tune and manage.
The IT budget is in a deplorable state due to the salaries of all these people. It’s difficult to pry dollars for training from governance. So, former “experts” fall out of their expertise over time.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t hire a specialist, say a plumber, to become a permanent full-time member of your home’s monthly budget, would you? No – you engage a plumber when you need him or her – project by project, or problem by problem, if you prefer. The plumber provides a service – a solution –solving whatever problem you have, and then goes on to service other clients.
Solutions partners in the business-IT world are engaged on much the same basis. It’s a much more efficient use of resources ($$$) to bring someone in on the occasioned basis, rather than riding some measure of expertise on the team as a permanent “resource.”
In tandem with the abeyance for burdens of keeping in-house personnel trained, there is an advantage in employing qualified solutions partners in that they have no challenges in staying current (quality vendors, that is). It is a part of their business to stay current, and forward edge besides, so that they remain competitive and successful, in serving you. Your success is their success, and that is strong motivation.
Look around at your IT shop – large enterprises are especially vulnerable to the creep of accruing people, and keeping them, past the point of good budget and service sense. But… I’m not trying to sweep people out of their jobs. Rather, this warning is especially crucial to small-to-medium business(SMB). SMBs are dynamic, frequently growing (in some cases rapidly), and you’ve got to establish the balance between permanent in-house cadre and the prudent use of outside solutions partners: Do that efficiently, and you’ll find it economical.
Manage this carefully – the two most important qualifiers for doing this are awareness… and vigilance.
NP: The Lovin’ Spoonful, Daydream, original LP that I just picked up at a yardsale, near-mint.