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The best way to keep up with what's happening on the IT people and organization scene is to take our e-newsletter. The stories below are taken from this e-newsletter which is published around 8 times a year. If you would like to be added to the circulation list, fill in the form at the bottom of the page.

What IT workers think ... the underlying message

January 2017

Recruiters Harvey Nash have conducted an interesting survey among IT workers. Its title “Almost half of tech professionals expect their job to be automated within ten years” does not reflect what the survey actually found, which was that “Forty-five per cent of technology professionals believe A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THEIR JOB [caps are mine] will be automated within ten years”. IT tasks are always being automated - not just today but for years now. This survey tells us that IT workers believe this will continue, especially in testing and operations. In other words, no surprise.

More interesting are the technologies that IT workers cite as most relevant today: mainframes (84%), then cloud (80%), then Big Data (70%), with other exciting technologies lagging behind. This is a useful reminder that infrastructure resourcing and skills will be a very problematic area in the year ahead. IT leaders might usefully remember that, in addition to their technology road map, a technology skills migration route might be useful. That could involve providing a "new deal" for employees, e.g. to partner on skills development - both sharing the costs, risks and benefits of major reskilling projects, and/or to unblock resource silos and generate free movement across IT.

Read the article here: http://www.harveynash.com/uk/news-and-media/news

Why is pay for being on standby (i.e. on-call) falling?

December 2015

OK, it’s not actually falling in cash terms, but it’s slowly falling in real terms. And as a percentage of the whole IT pay package, the fall is even more noticeable. We first documented this trend in 2011 and confirmed it much more recently in Analyst Note 7057-2 ‘Why IT standby pay is falling and what you should do about it’.

What underlies this finding? Technology has made it easier for those who are on standby to remain contactable, and to provide help conveniently when not in the office or data centre. Many of today’s high standby pay rates are legacy, and have not been changed for 5 or 10 years. Very low inflation is eroding them very slowly.

Key message: do not assume that these rates should be increased in line with inflation. Your IT people and others may already be getting a good deal. Our research showed that some who did not follow this advice can pay double what others are paying, while getting no extra benefit!

IT workers’ agendas may not be quite as they seem …

December 2016

The incoming US administration is making noises about protecting US technical workers’ jobs. And in some cases it has already had an impact. Offshore outsourcing is one part of the jigsaw. The H-1B visas that let tech companies import workers who will work for less than home-grown workers is another. Whoever is making US policy on this will hopefully remember that US IT headcount is not falling – it is rising. This raises the question of what, exactly, the problems are.

 One big problem is the reluctance on the part of both employers and employees to invest time and money in proper training and retraining. Our recent survey of IT training budgets showed these are now alarmingly low. Anecdotally, many IT workers would welcome technical training delivered by a real person round a whiteboard: someone who could explain things well AND answer questions clearly and authoritatively. Instead, workers are pushed towards inadequate online sources. Some are finding that the 70-20-10 mix (“10” being formal training) has shrunk to 80-20-0. In some teams (especially in start-ups) the mix is more 95-5-0: almost no coaching and no training. Not good.

IT learning and development managers might consider asking their IT employees for their experiences and views here, just in case problems have crept into your IT function.

Why folks at Pivotal Software start working at 9.06am every day

January 2017

Pivotal Software is a super-cool company that newsletter readers and clients will already be familiar with, but a recent feature nearly escaped my notice: see link below.

 This interesting story perfectly illustrates how practices that are truly fantastic for one company's chosen demographics will leave others feeling much less enthusiastic. It is also a reminder that large IT functions need to find their own career proposition, not necessarily copy the tech sector.

Read the article here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37998577 

Employee engagement: interesting lessons from data analytics

February 2016

The results of a study conducted by part of Microsoft have revealed some fascinating findings that will resonate with workaholics everywhere, including this one. This is a welcome break from the fairly predictable results of many such surveys. The article, What Great Managers Do Daily, says that a manager’s longer hours of work are copied by team members (no surprise there), but such team members are more engaged than in teams whose working hours are shorter. But this only works if managers ensure the work is spread evenly. There’s more to the article than that: it’s worth reading.

 Readers might consider passing this onto their IT leadership team and discussing its lessons.

Read the study here:    https://hbr.org/2016/12/what-great-managers-do-daily

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