Professionally Fill Your IT Department Deployment Skills Gap

deployment skills gap
by Hillary Gamblin     Friday, August 31st, 2018.

It’s the age of do it yourself (DIY). Why hire a professional to do something when you can watch a YouTube video and do it yourself? This may be true for fixing the kitchen sink, but some projects are too complex for your IT team—especially deploying new technology. Deployment requires technical knowledge and experience that you can only accumulate during hours, days, and months spent on that specific task.

When it comes to filling deployment skill gaps within your IT team, often the best solution is professional services. Using professional deployment services fills this particular deployment skills gap and saves your IT department money, time, and resources.

Deployment skills gap

Almost half of CEOs (44%) are “extremely concerned” about the speed of technological change, and IT managers and CIOs are concerned about the subsequent skills gap within their IT department. Explaining the evolution of IT responsibilities today, Viktor Andonov of DataArt Bulgaria says that:

“In the 21st century, the complexity of platforms grew enormously. Training on the job and learning how to work with new frameworks is extremely difficult when employees have projects and deliverables too.”

Andonov explicitly lists learning how to manage new frameworks as a skills gaps IT departments must fill today. But should that include the skills to “deploy” these new technologies? Often, deploying new technologies requires a different skills set than management. And often those deployment skills requires more expertise and specialization than managing a system that’s already set up.

Why some DIY deployments aren’t worth it.

Your IT team has a few options for a DIY deployment. First, you can task one or a team of your IT employees to master these complicated deployment skills. Second, you can hire a new employee who already possess these skills. (Keep the job market in mind: there are more job openings than ever before in IT, but there aren’t enough skilled laborers to fill them).

Depending on the difficulty and expertise of the technology deployment, both options require IT resources and time. In the end, you need to ask yourself: Is it worth spending all that IT capital for a specific digital deployment?

To help you answer this question, evaluate each deployment by:

  • The level of the project importance—especially with executives
  • The skills required
  • The amount of time required
  • The resources required

When DIY deployments aren’t worth it.

To illustrate how this evaluation works, we’re going to use the example of Hosted VoIP (voice over Internet protocol). So let’s say your company is investing in a Hosted VoIP business phone system. Is it worth it for your IT team to do a DIY Hosted VoIP deployment? Or is it better to take advantage of  the professional services offered by your provider?

Priority

How important is this deployment compared to other projects?

The difficulty of deploying new technology also increases as businesses race towards digital transformation. Gartner predicts that enterprises will spend $3.7 trillion on digital transformation. That extraordinary amount represents more than just one or two pet projects. Companies want a holistic digital transformation, which requires your IT team to concurrently select, deploy, implement, and manage multiple digital solutions.

Let’s face it, executives will want sexier technologies to take priority, the ones they see in the headlines. Artificial intelligence. Unified Communications. Blockchaining. These capture executives’ minds and imaginations—and ultimately, their priority. These priorities will determine which digitization projects receive attention. That’s why, if professional services can help you quickly implement a project and get it off your IT team’s plate so you can focus on other priorities, it’s worth it.

Expertise

How much expertise and skill is required for a successful deployment? 

To continue with the Hosted VoIP example, how technical are installations for an office phone system? Todd Doyle, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Jive Communications, a well-respected Hosted VoIP business provider, helped answer this question by detailing Jive’s qualifications for their employees:

“Jive’s engineers are certified, with five years of industry experience. They have deployed hundreds of installs nationwide, and they will handle everything from the networking configuration (routers, switches, firewalls, content filters, etc.) to the configuration of the Jive PBX (private branch exchange) portal.”

Of course, your IT employees won’t match the skill set of a Jive engineer, but could they swing a successful deployment? Reading between the lines, the complexity of a Hosted VoIP deployment for a mid market or enterprise company requires too much experience and specialization. And the more complex and specialized the deployment, the more reasons (specifically resources, time, and money) to invest in professional services.

Time

How long do you want the deployment to take?

The level of expertise also affects the length of a deployment. A more experienced and seasoned professional will finish a deployment faster than one of your IT employees that’s just learning these skills. Are deadlines tight? DIY isn’t your best option.

Is the length of the deployment worth hiring a new employee? 

If time isn’t an issue for you, still consider the length of a deployment. Because if you’re going to invest a lot of your department’s resources and time towards filling a deployment skills gap, you want the demand for those skills to be long term. Let’s say a Hosted VoIP deployment will take your company roughly three months. Is that three month need worth hiring a new employee? Is it worth asking your employee to spend five months learning the skills to complete that three month deployment?

Resources

Do you have the resources for a DIY deployment? 

In most cases, you weren’t planning on purchasing new technology—a phone system in this case. You usually switch out these technologies because of a major system failure. Since the purchae is unplanned, there’s no budget for the purchase, let along for the deployment. And you likely can’t spare any of your IT people because they’re already running with projects of their own. They don’t have time to run a complex, wide-scale install. While talking to Todd Doyle, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Jive, he estimated that using Jive’s professional services for a Hosted VoIP deployment saves an IT employee 80 hours of extra work. So the question is whether your IT have 80+ hours to spare.

A case for professional deployment services.

What do we conclude from our example? Well, in the case of a Hosted VoIP deployment, investing in professional services saves your IT department time, resources, and money. And Hosted VoIP may not be the only area where this is true. To ensure you don’t waste your IT department’s time and money on complex deployments, simply evaluate the expertise, time, resources, and priority of the project.

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