By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-08-14 Print this article Print

"The other thing that you typically cant outsource is a good internal knowledge of an organization. There are things that a corporation is willing to share with an outsider and there are things that they wont. If you understand this, youll become a valuable contributor and theyre going to hold onto you," Pickett said.

Thinking globally about IT means thinking the way the IT manager does and not limiting the scope of a project to what is currently available.

"Outsourcing just means that someone else is doing your work. There are a great number of job opportunities in sourcing if you think of it as being a source for someone domestic or offshore," Kaiser said.

Your mission: Work toward becoming a project manager. And repeat: Globalization can be …

... Has the B-gene

Really want to become outsourcing proof? Know your business—inside and out—and understand terms such as "internal rate of return," "hurdle rate" and "operating margin." "The other thing that you typically cant outsource is a good internal knowledge of an organization," said Pickett.

Of course to know your business, it helps to know about business. Business skills, once considered the sole jurisdiction of the bean counters, are now downright essential for technology professionals. "Theres a change happening. You used to need a stronger base of technical skills, and now you need to understand business skills. The more you understand the company where you work, from its customers to its employees, the better off youll be," said Kaiser.

Acquiring the B-gene can pretty much ensure IT survival. In fact, an evolved technology worker often has a business degree. "The tech is sometimes the easiest part. Depending on what the technology is, its not very hard to find someone with [whatever] aspect you are looking for. But to find someone who understands the business aspects and what needs to be worked through is rare. Its much harder to change business processes than to create technology solutions. Technology for the sake of technology is not the answer," said Ingle.

According to CIOs, companies comprise two types of individuals—those who know business and those who know technology. Few know both. But if youre the bridge between the two, suddenly youre valuable. "A lot of times, IT does a lot of really good things for business, but nothing gets communicated to the business side. On the business side, theres often not a deep understanding of technology, and IT needs to bridge the chasm and be able to explain how it moves the business forward. Nobody really cares that you put in a really cool, superfast LAN, but youre going to get funding for new technologies by explaining the business savings of the one before," said Novak.

The IT professional with a good business mind is able to explain technology in terms of savings and productivity rather than in terms of it being "cool" or "exciting." By being able to communicate technology in business terms, an archetypical IT pro will be able to manage projects in a manner that will benefit the organization as a whole. Theyre able to anticipate where problems may occur and accommodate for them in advance.

Your mission: Get business knowledge, and at least learn the lingo and why its important.

... Can adapt

CIOs across the board said they wanted people on their teams who could adapt to anything coming down the pike with minimal static. In other words, dont complain. Roll with the changes.

"Be a good corporate citizen. Be the good guy who has something good to say about everything. Negativism should be limited to proposing positive ways to deal with a situation," said Pickett.

In fact, technology professionals who can work through distractions often can excel through their sheer ability to manage change. "There tends to be a lot of background noise. You need to be able to cut through that and get to the core of the problem and move on," said Novak.

Meanwhile, with mergers and acquisitions becoming increasingly common, IT workers are likely to have more demands on them than ever before. "Im looking for endurance, especially if you are working for a large corporation with thousands of pieces of equipment, and youll have more problems than you can say grace over," said Shields.

Your mission: Embrace change or at least find a way to cope with it. "The life cycle of a technical solution is about 18 months on average," said Novak. "A good IT person will be adaptive and embrace continuous change."

Next Page: Tech workers by the numbers.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel