“According to a report, global IT spending is projected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2022.”
The statistics above showcase the massive scale and size of the information technology (IT) industry. The IT industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors, employing millions of people worldwide. However, the exponential growth has plagued the IT industry with numerous challenges such as cyber-security threats, resourcing bottlenecks, outsourcing risks, economic slowdown, etc.
Over the last few years, resourcing challenges like skill shortage, employee burnout, high attrition, etc., have emerged as one of the biggest obstructions to the profitability and sustainability of IT firms. Addressing these challenges proactively and staying ahead of the curve is the need of the hour for the IT industry.
This blog discusses the most effective solutions to combat these resourcing challenges within the IT industry.
What Are The Various Challenges Within The IT Industry?
Among the multitude of resourcing challenges, the IT industry faces, the skill gap is one of the most critical obstacles that hamper business sustainability. In the IT industry, where technology is evolving at breakneck speed, the existing skillsets of the workforce can quickly become obsolete. As a result, a widening skill gap can lead to last-minute firefighting, compromised quality of deliverables, and missed business opportunities.
Moreover, given the strenuous nature of IT jobs, employee burnout is another challenge that organizations continually encounter. Long working hours and a high-stress work environment can negatively impact the IT employee’s mental and physical well-being. Consequently, employees start experiencing burnout which ultimately affects their productivity and leads to unplanned attrition.
Another significant challenge in IT businesses, especially in project-based organizations, is the difficulty in managing the sudden ramp-up and ramp-down activities within projects. This lead to last-minute firefighting or excess resources sitting idle due to a lack of suitable opportunities matching their skill sets. It can also result in cost escalations, project delays, lower productivity, and reduced profitability.
Now that we understand the various challenges of the IT industry, the next section will highlight the solutions that can remedy these problems.
How To Mitigate Resourcing Challenges Within IT Industry
Here are five solutions that can mitigate resourcing challenges within the IT industry:
1. Foresee & bridge capacity vs. demand gap proactively
The emergence of advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, and newer programming languages led to skill obsolescence resulting in a widening skill gap and resource shortages in the IT sector. When this skill gap is not mitigated timely, it can become a bottleneck that hampers business sustainability.
Organizations can bridge the skill gap by forecasting the resource demand of pipeline projects in advance. Managers can analyze the gaps and administer skill-building and training measures to equip the workforce with the necessary skills and competencies to take on advanced projects.
2. Maximize workforce utilization for improved productivity
When IT organizations do not have high-level visibility of their resource pool, they cannot ensure optimal utilization of the resources. A lack of visibility prevents managers from analyzing the productive utilization of each resource, resulting in billing losses. In addition, employees spend too much time on non-billable or low-priority work, which leads to disengagement.
When equipped with company-wide visibility of resource availability and allocation, resource managers can identify resources working on non-billable activities such as internal meetings, BAU, admin, support, etc. Then, the managers can mobilize these resources from non-billable to billable or strategic projects to maximize productive utilization, thereby improving overall ROI.
3. Manage sudden ramp up and ramp down activities within projects
In IT organizations, resource demand changes dynamically, leading to sudden ramp-up and ramp-down activities within IT projects. When managers cannot anticipate sudden ramp-up activities, it results in last-minute firefighting. On the other hand, when the rolled-off resources are not managed efficiently, they end up sitting idle on the bench for a more extended period. This reduces their billability and increases overhead expenses for the IT organization.
When resource managers have visibility into the future schedules of the project resources, they can efficiently manage the sudden ramp-up and ramp-down activities within the projects. For example, the resource managers can allocate the relieved resources to other project vacancies, conduct training, bring forth future project work, or sell the excess capacity at a discounted rate.
4. Apply optimization techniques to counter employee burnout
IT employees experience burnout due to excessive workload, lack of control over work, or unfair treatment. It can lead to low engagement, reduced performance, and unplanned attrition, affecting the overall work efficiency and project delivery. Therefore, managers can apply optimization techniques such as resource leveling and resource smoothing to counter employee burnout and overcome imbalances in resource allocation.
For example, in flexible projects where timelines can be adjusted, managers can schedule the projects’ initiation based on the resources’ availability. This ensures that all project resources are optimally utilized against their capacity. Similarly, managers can reassign work for fixed projects if they see that existing resources are being overutilized.
5. Implement succession planning for important positions
A succession plan ensures that the organization is equipped to handle unplanned attrition of key and high-value resources. IT organizations can preemptively prepare a succession plan for important positions to ensure that the sudden resignation of critical resources does not impede the ongoing project workflow.
Efficient resource planning can help managers filter and identify competent resources with the required competencies, skills, and experience to fill these critical positions without delay. In addition, they can assign the resources to undergo appropriate training and development programs to prepare them for the roles and responsibilities of the new position.
Now that we know the solutions to resourcing challenges within the IT industry, let’s understand how advanced resource management software can benefit organizations.
How Can Advanced Resource Management Software Help?
Saviom’s highly configurable resource management software enables IT organizations to have enterprise-wide visibility of resource demand, capacity, and availability, which helps them make informed business decisions faster. The 360-degree visibility helps resource managers identify the right resources for the right project at the right time and cost.
Managers can leverage the tool’s forecasting capabilities to identify skill gaps and implement measures to bridge them. Moreover, foresight into future resource availability and allocation can help managers manage the sudden ramp-up and ramp-down project activities. Managers can also analyze bench and project vacancy reports to carry out project fulfillment requests on time, thus avoiding cost and schedule overruns.
The tool also provides BI-enabled real-time insights on various resource metrics. Features like the resource utilization heat map and utilization reports can help organizations track, measure, and analyze the utilization of every resource. Consequently, managers can take corrective actions to prevent over or underutilizing resources. This helps minimize burnout and unplanned attrition. Furthermore, the advanced filters of the tool can help managers identify appropriate resources for succession planning.
Resourcing challenges can hamper the sustainability and profitability of IT businesses. However, mitigating these challenges proactively with advanced resource management solutions and tools can help IT organizations to gain a competitive advantage in a fiercely cutthroat market.
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