Do You Have Far More Applications Than the Company Requires?

Do you have far more applications than the Company requires?

Over 50% of CIO’s and key IT players do.  A recent report conducted by CapGemini reported a significant increase from last year where just 33% thought so.  At a time when along with the BAU function of the IT department, Companies are now looking to IT more and more as a source of business innovation.  But, are we drowning in applications that could be retired or consolidated?  Over 79% of those who took part in the report believe this to be the case, with an additional 76% believing that application modernisation is important to company objectives.

Good news – some Companies are already ahead of the game.  When asked to comment on what strategies CIO’s had already used to increase IT’s value within the business, 60% had introduced new technology and services and a staggering 86% had either rationalised or renovated applications to be more responsive to business needs.

With new or revised applications delivering business value and driving change and efficiency within a business, IT are leading the way in the future success of companies.  56% of those who took part in the report have already deployed cloud, hailing it as the key driver for reducing risk (61%), reducing cost (66%) and reducing time to market (62%).

What’s the current state of applications within your Company?  We’d love to hear your views.  Why not follow the conversation on Facebook or Twitter?

Written by Lucy Rawes, Operations Director

Budgets, Priorities and Frustrations for CIO’s in 2014

1st April is a matter of days away and budgets are top of the agenda for most UK businesses, but what does this mean for IT?  Will it be another year of forgoing software upgrades and simply having to make do with outdated software, or will investments in data management and cloud services make fire-fighting an easier task, freeing more time for projects to help take your business forwards?

In a recent survey by Calyx, it reported that CIO’s are no longer playing a major part in shaping business strategy.  Over 200 CIO’s and IT Managers were surveyed and when asked what they felt their most important responsibility was –

  • 33% saw it as driving growth through technology
  • 16% actually spent their working day driving the development of business through IT
  • 11% said that they mainly focused on developing strategic concepts around IT to move their organisation forward
  • 46% reported that their everyday tasks mainly involve fire-fighting to keep systems up and running and this was despite…
  • 64% of those surveyed sitting on the Board of Directors.

Even the most talented and well-paid IT professionals can’t help a business grow if they are preoccupied with daily fire-fighting.  But it seems that this isn’t the biggest frustration.  So whilst almost half of CIO’s and IT Managers are submerged in BAU processes;

  • 60% are frustrated at having to deal with data management issues
  • 44% are consistently having to deal with security issues
  • 33% are tired of fulfilling “board-driven demands for cost-efficiencies and cost cutting.

But it’s not all bad news.  Whilst this may be the reality of a vast majority of IT leaders and lower budgets have meant difficult conditions for IT, a recent survey by TechTarget revealed that –

  • 59% reported a budget increase was seen in 2013
  • 65% are expecting a budget increase in 2014
  • 37% plan to expand IT to support business growth
  • 59% plan to purchase new or upgrade existing software
  • 52% plan to purchase new hardware to expand computing capacity and increase energy efficiency
  • 35% expect to pay more on maintenance in 2014, mainly focusing on those maintenance issues that were ignored in the leaner years
  • 38% plan to grow spending in private and public cloud services
  • 20% plan to increase the use of automation in the business which will free IT to focus on more strategic areas
  • 31% may add IT staff in 2014 to meet the overall goals of business growth and targeted IT projects.

Whilst none of these things alone will negate the need for fire-fighting, it will make BAU much easier, making the IT Department a happier, more productive environment.

But, what if you work in a business that is yet to see the benefits of a more stable economic landscape.  There are still a few companies keeping a tight hold on the purse strings –

  • 13% of CIO’s/IT Managers are faced with the prospect of maintaining current service levels with flat budgets
  • 7% have been told that they must reduce IT spending
  • 61% of those faced with lower budgets will curtail hardware spending
  • 37% will cut back on maintenance

With the IT Managers rarely being perceived as the hub for organisational innovation and growth, we are beginning to get there and 2014 looks set to be the year that the IT Department strikes back.  With new technologies saturating the market that will significantly impact the IT function over the next few years, now is the perfect time to make sure you are well-positioned to drive the success of the business as a whole.  Time to step up to the plate and get the “keep the lights on” issues streamlined and focus on efficient IT management, as this is set to be the key challenge over the next 12 months to ensure your business is able to approach things in a more strategic fashion, to be able to realise the benefits of these next-generation technologies sooner, resulting in claiming the competitive advantage.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Written by Lucy Rawes, Operations Director

IT Market Summary – February

Langley James IT Recruitment Market Summary – February

Key points

  • Faster rise in permanent placements, but growth of contractor requirements eases
  • Salaries for permanent staff increases at sharpest rate since October 2007
  • Candidate availability declines at stronger pace

Permanent appointments rise at strongest rate in almost four years
Our IT consultants signalled the fastest growth of permanent IT staff appointments in almost four years during February.  However contractor requirements increased at the slowest pace in three months.

Demand for IT staff continues to grow strongly
February data from our IT consultants indicated a further market rise in vacancies.  The rate of expansion was only marginally below January’s 15½ year high.

Sharpest rise in permanent salaries since October 2007
Growth of permanent IT salaries accelerated in February reaching the highest rate in over six years.  Contract IT staff pay increased at the fastest pace since last July.

IT candidate availability falls at sharper rate
The availability of IT staff was reported by our IT consultants to have declined again in February.  In particular, the supply of permanent IT candidates fell at the sharpest rate since November 2004.

Permanent IT staff skills in short supply – C#, Digital Marketing, E-commerce, Java, PHP, SEO

IT Contractor staff skills in short supply – Java, PHP & general IT

Staff appointments
Our IT consultants signalled a further increase in the number of people placed in permanent jobs during February.  Moreover, the rate of expansion accelerated to the strongest since March 2010, and was the joint-second sharpest on record.  Improved client demand and confidence were principle factors underpinning the growth in placements, according to our IT consultants.

IT contractor placements continued to rise in February.  The rate of growth remained strong, despite moderating to a three-month low.  Rising business activity levels at clients were reported by our consultants as the main factor supporting higher contractor requirements.

Vacancy growth remains strong as demand for IT staff continues to rise at a marked pace in February.  Although easing marginally since the previous month, rates of expansion in both permanent and contract vacancies remained substantial.

Demand for staff by sector
Permanent staff – Growth of demand was broad-based across all key types of permanent staff with Engineering still in the top spot.  IT & Computing fell to fifth place in February.

Contract staff – Occupying top position in the contract demand rating was Nursing & Medical with IT & Computing falling to sixth place.

Staff Availability
Permanent IT staff availability fell further in February.  Moreover the rate of decline accelerated to the sharpest since November 2004.  The sharpest of these declines was indicated in the South.

Contractor IT staff availability fell for the eighth consecutive month running during February, and at a slightly shaper rate than January.  The South registered the fastest drop in contractor availability, closely followed by the Midlands.

Permanent salaries for IT staff rose at a strong and accelerated rate in February.  The latest increase was the sharpest since October 2007.  Higher salaries were frequently attributed by our IT consultants to competition for candidates.

Day rates for contract employment continued to rise in February.  Some of our IT consultants indicated that demand and supply imbalances in certain sectors has driven pay rates higher.

About Langley James
Langley James was founded in 1999 by James Toovey, a highly respected recruitment industry professional.  James wanted to provide something unique: a bespoke recruitment service which was founded on service excellence.  With offices in London and Manchester, we are now providing our recruitment services throughout the world and over the last 15 years have worked with some of the most respected companies in the world.

To find out why so many companies turn to Langley James for support in fulfilling their IT recruitment needs, call and speak to one of our specialist consultants today on 0845 124 9555.

Employee Engagement – just a cliché or does it really make a big difference?

Employee Engagement – Just a cliché or does it really make a big difference?

There is a trend that is gathering pace in the enlightened companies of the UK – motivated staff are rising to more challenges and are happy to put in longer hours and take on bigger workloads in order to help their business achieve their goals.  What great news.  But how do they do it?

The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For survey shows that despite falls in the sense of well-being, levels of engagement in employees rose across the board.  If you, as a manager, are leading and inspiring your team, giving them a sense of belonging and making them feel their opinions matter, it seems that any pressure they are feeling to achieve more for less is not affecting them as much as you may expect.

So, if you have had to enforce a pay freeze in that last 18 months, you wouldn’t imagine standing a chance of being within the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, right?  Not necessarily.  There is a company who has had a pay freeze and on it’s first attempt in entering the Top 100, has come in the top 5.  What a great result!  Despite the impact the lack in increased salary has had on the employees, the flexible hours, mentoring, social events and fitness programmes mean that staff are enjoying their time in the office and are still motivated and inspired to do well.  But without leadership and team spirit, this may well be a very different story.

There is one company who has a “cuddle budget”.  This is used for staff treats like nights out and champagne, but with one simple aim – to celebrate success.  When was the last time your team celebrated success?  You’d be amazed how much these small, thoughtful rewards will motivate your team to reach that ambitious goal and put in the extra effort to achieve.  There isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t need to feel appreciated, it’s as basic a requirement as food and this is where less-enlightened companies are missing the point.  There are some companies out there that are still heavily reliant on job insecurity as a motivator, but do those on the ‘shop floor’ really care for a company who is simply asking for ‘more for less’?

Getting the best out of your team is not all about pay but it is about behaviour.  In times when everyone is under pressure to perform that little bit harder, work that little bit longer for the same pay as they did 2 years ago, it has never been more important to give honest and sincere appreciation for those that are going the extra mile.  Rewards, no matter how small can create an eager want within your team and this will in turn, have an impact on your bottom line.  The Work Foundation recently published a study that reported managers who invested 10% in Employee Engagement strategies could raise the profits of their company by £2,700, per employee, per year.

A happy, motivated and engaged workforce means –

  • reduced sickness – dis-engaged employees are 3 times more likely to call in sick
  • better attrition – dis-engaged employees are 4 times more likely to leave for an alternative job
  • stronger economy – The Work Foundation claims that making small investments into employee engagement could contribute £49bn to the economy
  • embracing change – an engaged employee finds it much easier to implement organisational change to achieve a faster or improved outcome
  • increased customer satisfaction
  • increased productivity
  • increased profits

Have you implemented any employee engagement tactics that have made a considerable difference to the productivity and engagement of your team?  We’d love to hear about it if you have.  Follow the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Written by Lucy Rawes, Operations Director

The Great Female Debate

The Great Female Debate

The press has been filled with articles about women being under-represented in this and that and even the comedian Dara O’Briain got himself into hot water this week by the press misunderstanding a comment he made about the BBC’s new policy  to increase the number of women on panel shows.  What he was in fact saying was that even though he supported the policy, he felt it should not be made public as this would make women on panel shows seen as “token” women.  Could this be the same in the IT sector?

The Sunday Times revealed the Top 100 Mid and Large Sized Companies to Work For this week and at the bottom was a promotion for the Top 50 Employers for Women 2014.  What difference should it make?  Surely it’s the best man or indeed woman for the job as opposed to ticking the gender equality box?  Or is it?

The low representation at executive level and near invisibility at board level on technology companies, is down to the “right” women not being available for these tasks.  There are simply not enough women in technology and that scarcity is represented all the way to the top.  Simply enforcing policies similar to the BBC will surely have minimal impact.

You don’t have to look far to see companies like Pinterest, where 70% of the users are female have 100% of its board as male; Google, Facebook and Twitter went public without women on their board; and even Apple only has one woman, former Avon CEO Andrea Jung serving on it’s board.

I read an article towards the end of last year that claimed a report conducted by the European Commission found “Lack of women in ICT sector costs Europe €9bn a year” How is that possible?  Well, here’s how…

For every 1,000 women in the EU with a degree, only 29 have a specialism in ICT, compared to 95 for men and only 4 in those 1,000 will ever work within the ICT sector.  Reports show that women are more likely to leave the sector mid-career

  • Only 19.2% of ICT workers have a female superior, whilst 45.2% of non-ICT workers have a female boss
  • Firms that have women in higher positions “achieve 35% higher return on equity and 34% better total return to shareholders” when compared with other firms
  • The EC came to the figure of €9bn based on the assumption that if women in ICT roles rose by 115,000, an average of €78,000 per female worker would be generated in increased productivity.

Is there not already enough of a skills shortage within the IT sector without making it worse?  If the media continue to dine out on these reports, findings and figures, it is going to do nothing to help improve the image of the ICT sector for future generations of women.

This debate has been around for years and shows no sign of slowing, but what are we actually doing to help change the situation?  Do we need to?  Is it that women are getting overlooked for the top ICT roles or are they simply not out there in the first place?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Written by Lucy Rawes, Operations Director