Strategically outsource and further your career

More projects would be completed on time and to budget if everyday jobs were outsourced

More projects would be completed on time and to budget if everyday jobs were outsourced

Outsourcing has been the talk of the town recently. Often when the "O" word is mentioned, a shiver goes down the back of those in the IT profession.

However, outsourcing does not have to be a threat - it can be an opportunity. In fact, if the findings of last month's CIO Connect census - that 66% of firms expect to see growth in the innovative use of IT within their businesses - is realised, outsourcing can be seen as an opportunity to allow IT staff the time to drive innovative IT projects.

IT managers should think about the parts of their job that are mundane and time-consuming and consider whether these could be outsourced. Jobs such as server administration or patch management are tasks that can take a great deal of time without bringing much reward.

You might argue that it is hard to justify outsourcing a task simply because you do not like doing it, but that is not the only reason why these tasks should be outsourced - cost and value should be the driving force. There are specialists that spend their days carrying out tasks such as server administration and hence they have more expertise in these tasks than most IT managers.

Organisations need to think about how much it costs to have an internal IT resource spending time on mundane tasks and consider what they could be doing instead. Ask yourself how many IT projects fall behind schedule or never get off the ground simply because IT staff are bogged down in keeping the IT infrastructure up and running. I would bet that many more IT projects would get completed on time and to budget if IT staff had more free time.

If servers were outsourced, IT staff could work on strategic IT projects and leave a third party to deal with the patching problem. Any IT manager could think of a hundred other tasks that could easily be outsourced, leaving them to work on development projects or rolling out new IT systems to help the business gain competitive advantage.

IT managers need to think about the tasks that do not add strategic value and push for these to be outsourced. Those higher up the IT food chain also need to show IT staff how outsourcing provides an opportunity for them. They should talk to IT staff about the new skills they could develop if mundane tasks are outsourced and illustrate how this will help them develop in their careers.

Tarek Meliti is technical director at web hosting company TDM Group

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