As our political parties continue to jostle for position, UK plc is entering a new era where negotiation is the name of the game. For IT professionals, this will be played out in the outsourcing arena as the public sector looks to strike deals in order to slash costs.
The IT world - and, indeed, that nature of IT jobs - will mirror the new political order in more ways than one. Government ICT looks set to embrace outsourcing to reduce its own slice of the national deficit. In the same way, outsourcing requires IT suppliers and users to put their vested interests aside and agree an implementation and cost plan that delivers shared benefit – a kind of ‘national interest’, if you like.
Management jobs, where such skills are particularly essential, will come into even sharper focus. IT pros can prepare for their role in the new era and beef up soft skills by building on their use of collaborative technologies, recommends the Institute of IT. “Collaborative technologies are big drivers of skills such as negotiation and team working”, says IITT executive consultant Allan Bellinger. “It’s never a question of simply opening the software tool and pressing ‘go’ – there are skills to learn and apply, too”, he adds.
There will be no shortage of opportunities in the near future to buff up your negotiation skills according to outsourcing specialist, Burnt Oak. Robert Morgan, CEO predicted “The Tories are very likely to extend spending on IT projects in the short term to reap mid and long term benefits of consolidation”, but any rainbow coalition is expected to turn its sights on public sector spending to cut the deficit.
The private sector is likely to join the outsourcing-fest with the London School of Business predicting greater outsourcing of applications. A report, commissioned by Fujitsu, found that enterprise applications represent 40-60% of corporate IT budgets, but have yet to be significantly outsourced. In part, say the report’s authors, that’s because many companies have yet to get a handle on how to hand over enterprise applications to third-party providers.
This lack of knowledge seems to back up the conundrum of soft skills that Bellinger neatly describes: “you don’t know what you don’t know”. However anyone can improve, he says, if the issue is made visible. In this new pro-outsourcing era of collaboration, you could do worse than reach out for someone in your virtual team today.
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