The Case for 'Craft IT'

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People – Some Should Be Local

In 2013, the Hackett Group predicted that between 2002 and 2017, half of all North American and European IT jobs would be eliminated, due in large part to offshoring. Craft IT resists the trend, calling for both on-shoring and a local presence wherever clients operate.

There's no disputing that a service desk based in the developing world is less expensive than one in the U.S. – but at what invisible costs and lost opportunities? Sure, the offshored service desk might have someone answer the phone, but the representatives often follow a script and can't actually diagnose and solve any but the most rudimentary IT problems. If employees can't use their devices and software, shouldn't we add the lost productivity to the tab of offshored IT? At scale, the lost hours, stress and boiling frustration become quite expensive.

In Craft IT, the integrated service delivery team is professionally trained, domestically based and has field workers in each client's area. These field workers have an intimate knowledge of the client's business and end users. They are either located on-site or can be there within minutes, if necessary.

There is an unnerving sense that IT is becoming impersonal and indifferent. Given pressure to contain budgets, some CIOs are turning to mass-produced IT services built on offshore labor, mediocre infrastructure and tradeoffs that put cost efficiency over service. But, according to David Corey, general manager, IT Services at ATS, much like mass-produced foods filled with ingredients no one can understand, "junk food" IT can make a company sick and sluggish.

The alternative is to shift the information technology sector toward what Corey calls "Craft" IT. He admits to liberally borrowing this concept from the food and beverage industries, where demand for locally grown, nutritious and environmentally friendly food has transformed American culinary culture. Today, who picks taste-bud-abusing beer when there is a quality alternative? Why eat chemicals out of a wrapper that has traveled 8,500 miles when it's equally convenient to buy local farm-fresh goods?

Not all calories are equal and neither are IT services. In managed IT – and arguably all IT niches built on service to a customer – a craft mentality will lead to more productive and happier end users. Craft IT has three foundations: people, infrastructure and empathy.


Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

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