Access to IT Talent Defines Channel Prospects for 2015By Michael Vizard | Print
NEWS ANALYSIS: The primary goal for solution providers should be to build their skill sets to position themselves to take advantage of opportunities ahead.
For solution providers across the channel, the vagaries of demand for IT services can be nothing short of maddening. When demand in one class of IT services begins to spike, it takes time for solution providers to develop expertise in that area.
Once they begin moving to acquire the necessary IT talent, the number of IT professionals with the skills needed to service that demand is invariably in short supply. By that measure, 2015 is shaping up to be a potentially frustrating year for solution providers.
After years of banging the proverbial drum about the cloud, mobile computing and analytics, demand for these technologies is set to go mainstream in 2015. A new survey of 500 IT leaders conducted by TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions and talent management services, finds that while overall IT spending may be flat-to-down in 2015, security (65 percent), mobility (54 percent), cloud (53 percent), business intelligence/big data (49 percent) and storage (46 percent) are all areas where those IT leaders report they will increase spending.
The challenge facing solution providers and their customers these days is that in any one of these areas the IT skill sets required to succeed are difficult to come by. As a result, the length of time it takes to execute an IT project is usually extended because it takes more time than initially assumed to acquire the necessary expertise.
"In terms of demand, we're seeing a lot of consistency," said Jason Hayman, research manager for TEKsystems. "The real problem is that there is not enough planning."
A recent study conducted by Technology Councils of North America in collaboration with CompTIA found that nearly three-quarters of tech and business execs in the IT industry said they're dealing with a "moderate" or "significant" shortage in quality tech talent.
The issue isn't that there is a shortage of IT personnel, but rather that most of them don't have the skill sets required to meet demand for IT services in specific areas. Solution providers may not need to directly own that talent, but they definitely need to find ways to access it by relying more on vendors, distributors and even each other.
Demand remains high for the Java programming language and platform, which is important for companies hiring cloud talent and is the basis for many technologies, according to executives at IT hiring and careers site Dice. "Cloud-specific skills like SaaS, Virtualization, vCloud and Salesforce all rank on hiring managers' wish lists for candidates," Shravan Goli, Dice president, said in a statement. "Open-source technologies like Linux, Python and Hadoop create value to companies looking for cloud professionals. Tech professionals with Hadoop experience doubly benefit as other movements like big data continue."
Dice sees a generally rosy hiring picture overall. "Heading into the new year, 75 percent of recruiters anticipate hiring more tech professionals in the first six months of 2015 than the last six months of 2014, an all-time high for Dice's semi-annual hiring survey. That's five points greater than mid-year and two points greater than December 2013," Dice reported.