Expanding Options All the Time

December 3rd 2012

There are a number of alternatives to consider when resourcing your IT project, writes John Cradden in the Sunday Business Post.

When it comes to looking for external resources to assist with your IT project, the range of options is far wider and more flexible than you might expect.

Needless to say, what you need depends on the size and scope of your IT department. Some companies, usually smaller firms with little or no IT staff, will happily hand over the responsibility for the entire project, including its management, to a third party. Larger organisations, which may already have some in-house IT capacity, might just require an extra pair of hands on site to assist its own IT managers with a project.

As well as a managed services division that essentially looks after the entire IT needs of a large number of smaller clients, Dublin-based IT Force runs a contracting division that offers a range of IT supports to the IT departments of large organisations, mainly in the financial and public sectors.

 

The company is often approached by these larger organisations looking for extra capacity to help with a project, not just in terms of managing a project, but also for specific technical experience.

“Take, for example, an organisation that decided to move its core infrastructure to a data centre,” said Joe O’Reilly, director of IT contracting. “They’re looking for a project manager who has done this before for a similar site and for a similar industry, and knows the pitfalls. They’re buying that experience. They’re looking for a contractor who knows this type of project and knows the requirements.

“They basically need what we would call ‘interim resources’ for a particular skill set that they’re badly stuck for, in general, a short period of time. Depending on the project, that could be over a year, but in most cases, that could be less than nine months.”
The range of expertise and experience available can be finely tuned to a client’s needs, and these contractors and manager would usually work onsite, he said. “The project manager we would place onsite would vary, with some able to do extremely technical work but with a small element of project management, while others would have a lot of project management and a bit of technical awareness.”

As well as providing the staff onsite, IT Force would closely monitor progress. “We would have back-up resources and services that we would offer as part of that relationship, areas such as giving people feedback, technical advice and guidance. For example, if you have a project manager who is predominantly focused on the project delivery part of the deployment, they would turn to us for technical consultancy and advice.”

Most of the projects involving the IT contracting division would be infrastructure related, and would typically require certification in the PRINCE2 project management methodology, which is predominantly used in the financial and public sectors.

In the public sector, O’Reilly said recent projects have been quite significant and transformative in nature, as “they’re now trying to cut costs, now looking at ways of reducing their number of staff, and this, by default, is resulting in larger projects to outsource a particular area within their section, or putting their IT services on a pay-as-you-go basis.”

“There is a drive to reduce costs, a drive to change the way they operate in the current economic climate.”

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