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New Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MTA Announces

April 1, 2015

 

MERRITT TECHNICAL ASSOCIATES, INC. (MTA) answers the question "What is the trend for IT in 2015 and beyond?"

 

 IT workers will be the bedrock of an organization’s ability to compete in this era of exponential technologies. But even with talent scarcity, few organizations are investing in attracting, retaining, and developing their organizational capabilities. Companies continue to secure commoditized skills through the most efficient means, innovation and growth will depend on workers with the skills and the vision needed to reimagine the art of the possible within the bounds of existing constraints such as the realities of existing systems and data and a limited understanding of emerging, cross-discipline technologies. While future technologies may not exist today, the need is clear, the potential is immense, and the time is now to start retooling to be the IT workers of the future.

Design lies at the heart of the IT worker of the future. The emphasis on design will require new skill sets for the extended IT team—which may include graphic designers, user experience engineers, cultural anthropologists, and behavioral psychologists. IT leaders have focused in the past on finding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are now trying to add an “A” for fine arts to the STEM — and look for STEAM, not STEM. Designing engaging solutions requires creative talent; creativity is also critical in ideation—helping to create a vision of reimagined work, or to develop disruptive technologies deployed via storyboards, user journeys, wire frames, or persona maps. Some organizations have gone so far as to hire science fiction writers to help imagine and explain futuristic thinking.

Many IT organizations are improving their ability to sense and respond to emerging trends and modernize legacy systems and delivery models. For IT leaders, understanding their workforce is important: Who do they have, what skills do they bring, and are they sufficiently forward-thinking in their use of technology to lead your organization in innovation? Consider the future IT worker’s new skill sets and behaviors. A tactical example is the recent “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend. Seventy percent of Millennials admit to bringing their own applications from outside their enterprise to support their work —a trend that will likely only grow as more cloud, mobile, and analytics offerings target the workplace. Organizations need to set policies that guide, govern, and support workers’ evolving adoption of external devices, applications, data, and collaboration.

Cross-pollinating teams with both the young and old helps new hires gain practical experience with legacy systems and encourages established employees to broaden their skill sets into new areas. Isolated, commoditized skills will likely be outsourced or automated over time through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced robotics that replace blue-collar, white-collar, and so-called “professional” jobs.  With this shift, coders, architects, and engineers become even more important, and multi-skilled players with deep institutional knowledge will continue to be critical.   Companies need to identify, nurture, and seed the new breed, and introduce change team by team, project by project.

Companies now spend much energy and resources attracting, challenging, and rewarding the right kind of talent instead of succumbing to legacy organizational constructs that are no longer relevant—Companies need to unleash the IT worker of the future on their business.

Change can be hard in any organization. For IT, balancing the demands of tomorrow with the realities of today can be daunting, especially given the care and feeding needed for the existing IT footprint at the core of the business.

Describing the IT worker of the future may not be easy, but driving the organizational change needed to realize that vision can seem impossible. Below are some ways companies will need to change and evolve to embark on the process.

  • Find leaders. Establishing a culture where the IT worker of the future can thrive starts at the top. What is the reputation of the IT department in the business and market at large? Are deep technologists celebrated or commoditized? Role models should be put into leadership positions throughout the organizational chart and measured partially by how they activate communities around them. Reporting channels is less important than fostering connectivity, education, and growth anchored in the creative, design, and technical skills central to strategy.
  • Recruit differently. Externships can put candidates quickly to work through “speed dating” versions of internships. They can also be used to vet the transfer of individuals within and across your organization—a “try before you decide” method that allows both parties to understand aptitude, fit, and interest. Similarly, some companies are hosting internal and external “hackathons,” day- or weekend-long competitions where participants rapidly explore, prototype, and demo ideas. Hiring decisions can be based on demonstrated results instead of on resume depth and the ability to navigate a round of interviews. Finally, consider training employees with no technical background—38 percent of recruiters are actively doing so to fill IT positions.  Graphic designers, artists, cultural anthropologists, behavioral psychologists, and other backgrounds are fantastic building blocks for user experience, mobile, data science, and other desperately needed skills. Adding “A” to the STEM priorities can be a key differentiator, especially as design rises as an important discipline needed in IT departments.
  • Industrialize innovation. Harness the energy of people in previously untapped ways to give them an outlet and vehicle for exploring new and exciting skills. Not every organization can afford to give employees open-ended time for continuous innovation. However, companies should have a mechanism for submitting, exploring, and potentially developing new ideas. From ongoing idea competitions to marketplaces that match interest and need around new technical skills, enterprises should encourage people to grow and find ways to put their passion to work.
  • Embrace virtual.    Create a culture and provide tools that allow and support remote workers.  A recent survey found that 53 percent of IT workers would take a 7.9 percent pay cut in exchange for the ability to work remotely.  Given the global nature of many teams, productivity, collaboration, and communication tools are essential. Companies should provide them to full- and part-time employees as well as selected third parties for specific durations. To retain institutional experience, organizations should consider contract arrangements for aging employees that offer part-time packages at lower compensation and benefits.
  • Outside in. To achieve positive results, organizations will likely need to participate in external talent ecosystems. Define a crowdsourcing strategy that guides the usage of crowd platforms to solve your organization’s problems, and give employees permission to participate in crowd contests, on the job or off the clock. Incubators and start-up collaboration spaces are looking for corporate sponsors; they provide a chance to co-locate workers with inventors and entrepreneurs exploring new ground. Deliberately seek out briefings and ideation sessions with vendors and partner community to harness software, hardware, system integrator, and business partner thinking and research.
  • Light a talent beacon. Existing staff and Staffing firms are critical to attracting the IT workers of the future. Seventy percent of Millennials learn about job opportunities from friends; 89 percent of software engineers are staying put, having applied for fewer than two jobs in the past five years.   Leading organizations need to be a net importer of talent, and the front lines start with their people. Companies must communicate a vision for the organization, commit to the talent strategy, and invest in incentives to drive retention and referrals.
  • Transform HR. Not an insignificant task. Not every employee is being hired to retire, and the future worker of IT (and workers in other departments) will likely need a different set of services, support, and development than they receive today. HR can become a competitive weapon in the war for talent by shortening the time needed to develop the IT worker of the future.  HR may need to be overhauled along with the IT organization by shifting its focus from people and policy administration to talent attraction and development. HR transformation initiatives should consider the IT worker of the future—not just the existing employee base.
  • Find and nurture vendors.  A recent study found that more than 32 percent of positions were either part-time or contract-based consulting. A Snap shot  of the IT Consulting industry follows:

 

              The IT Consulting Industry can be viewed as a Four-tier system:

  • Professional services firms which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates.

  • Staffing firms, which place technologists with businesses on a temporary basis, typically in response to employee absences, temporary skill shortages and technical projects.

  • Independent consultants, who are self-employed or who function as employees of staffing firms

  • Information Technology security consultants

             There are different reasons why consultants are called in:

  • To gain external, objective advice and recommendations

  • To gain access to the consultants' specialized expertise

  • Temporary help during a one-time project where the hiring of a permanent employee(s) is not required or necessary

  • To outsource all or part of the IT services from a specific company

              IT Consulting Industry Statistics & Market Size

  • Revenue - $354bn

  • Annual Growth 09-14 - 3.6%

  • Employment - 1,851,028

  • Industry Analysis & Industry Trends - in the five years to 2014, the IT Consulting Industry performed well in a challenging economic climate. Strong performance from major markets, such as financial services and insurance providers, enabled the IT Consulting Industry to expand. As the economy recovers, improving business sentiment and corporate profit levels will further drive industry performance. In the five years to 2019, industry revenue is expected to grow. Increasing M&A activity in other industries will spur demand for IT consultants and, with more consolidations; companies will require assistance in the integration of accounting, information storage and other systems.

Expect a number of technical trends that have emerged over the last few years, such as cloud, mobility, enterprise social media, the “Internet of things” and Big Data, to continue to gain traction with IT and business leaders, as well as industry-specific trends such as location shifting and home automation and life / technology integration

Here is a quick look at some of these IT trends in more detail and reasons these will be critical in the future:

  • Cloud - There will continue to be increasing acceptance of cloud computing as an alternative to more established hosting models. Cloud enables organizations to conveniently access a shared, scalable pool of computing services, which in turn can help the organization be more agile and drive down deployment costs.  However, as organizations experiment with the cloud, careful consideration will need to be given to system integration, data integration and security, particularly between cloud and on-premise solutions.

  • Mobility - Mobile will continue with a greater number of organizations considering supporting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and expanding the corporate services available for smartphones and tablets.  BYOD enables an organization’s staff to use their own laptop, smartphone or tablets in the corporate environment rather than rely on ones provided by the IT organization. This provides greater convenience for employees but can present a security challenge for organizations.

  • Enterprise social media - Enterprise social media are tools that let employees share and connect with co-workers in private enterprise-only social networks.  Enterprise social media will gain wider acceptance as organizations seek to facilitate collaboration and foster innovation.

  • Internet of things - organizations will continue to explore and begin to benefit from the Internet of things (i.e., uniquely identifiable technologies, connected by the internet).  This includes smart meter technology installed in homes or medical devices that connect directly to mobile devices.  For consumers, this will enable individualised services based on real-time data and for businesses, it will provide critical insights on customer behaviours (see Big Data below), which will help drive business growth.

  • Big Data - Data continues to be a critical source of competitive advantage for organizations, whether to better understand their customers or to better manage their products and services. However, as a result of the increasing volume of data in our everyday lives, created by everything from Internet searches and social media to smart-technologies, Big Data will continue to become increasingly prominent in IT discussions over the next few years.

  • Cyber security - We’ve seen a growing number of headlines related to digital attacks on both corporations and governments.  Due to increased levels of connectivity, virtually all business assets now vulnerable in cyberspace meaning that the scale, scope of threat and potency are now more significant than ever.  We will continue to see organizations developing cyber security strategies and focusing their investments on their most valuable asset: information.

Industry specific trends:

Expect to see a number of industry-specific trends that will cause substantial change in certain industries but have limited impact on others:

  • Location-shifting of media becomes main stream - In the same way that “time shifting” has become common in households; in 2013 we’ll see “location-shifting” become mainstream. “Location-shifting” means that we’ll be able to watch TV shows and movies where we want to, rather than required to be at a TV or a movie screen.

  • Mobile payments finally start to fulfil promise in U.S./Europe - Residents in many Asian countries have had e-wallets on their cell phones and been using contactless payment systems for a number of years. This gives them the ability to pay for purchases by placing their cell phones in the proximity of a payment terminal and can be used to pay for everything from train fares to groceries.  In the U.S. and Europe, organizations have been slower to adopt similar enabling technologies, but in the next few years that will change.

  • Home Automation -Most manufacturers of whole-house automation systems have jumped on the app bandwagon with programs that allow you to adjust appliances, review surveillance footage, tweak temperature and humidity settings, lock (or unlock) your front door, and a host of other controls — all from any remote location.  Unfortunately, most apps are proprietary for that manufacturer’s controls and devices. Fortunately, that’s changing, and the home automation industry is moving toward system controls that are brand agnostic. In the mobile department, apps for Windows®, Windows CE, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are leading the way, and the open-sourced Android market is starting to heat up.

At Merritt Technical Associates, Inc., we are always seeking new ways to integrate new technologies into our day-to-day business practices.  At MTA we pride ourselves on our face-to-face interviews and building personal relationships with our clients and consultants. We recognize that technology continues to evolve and advance and that our industry is changing, it was not that long ago when recruiters would spend countless hours faxing and sorting through paper resumes.  Today there is little doubt that social media has profoundly affected how recruiters go about sourcing and researching potential candidates.   A case can be made that the telephone still tops the list of ‘must have’ tools, but once again advances in technology are challenging that claim.  While in-person interviews will always be our goal, sometimes travel distance and conflicting schedules make them difficult to coordinate.  Telephone screening has become common place, and today video conferencing and interviewing are providing a new recruiting landscape.

Click here to see our latest interview tip link “How to ace your video conferencing (Skype, Facetime, etc.) Job Interview: 14 Smart Tips”

MTA is a privately owned and operated company; which provides a wide range of technology services and solutions for businesses with our focus on the tri-state metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Among MTA clients are Fortune 500 firms in the financial services industry.

For more information on this news release and other information on the company please contact the corporate offices of MTA at 1(203)834-0010.

   
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