Ask the Experts: How Does IT Staffing Factor into TCO?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about why IT staffing has become one of the biggest challenges for IT leaders, and how it factors into the overall total cost of ownership, with UnitedLayer’s Abhijit Phanse. Find out more about cloud-based services from the UnitedLayer team here:

Andrew: Okay, let’s dive in to our next Ask the Experts session here with Abhijit Phanse, the CEO of UnitedLayer and one of our official smart guys here at the Cloud Services University. One of our distinguished faculty members. Abhijit, welcome to the studio my friend.
Abhijit: Great to see you, Andrew.
Andrew: Yeah, very cool. We’ve been talking about total cost of ownership and the cloud economics, if you will, and how you make the TCO argument. I wanted to chat with you real quick about a very important element of the whole TCO analysis, which of course is staffing. Staffing has become one of the biggest challenges for IT leaders, and I wanted to get your take on why that is. Why has that become so difficult for them? And how does staffing play into the overall TCO argument that we ought to be making to customers?
Abhijit: Andrew, it’s a great question because TCO has a completely different definition going forward. It’s really turned upside down, where staffing and the human capital element of the total cost of ownership is really the biggest factor and the fastest growing factor. Here’s why: environments, Andrew, are getting more and more complex. They have complex networking. Virtualization storage. Security requirements. Compliance requirements. And really, in a sense you as an organization–you need a slice of all that expertise. So you need plenty different facets of expertise combined to really come up with a good footprint.
Large companies can afford lots and lots of experts in each of those disciplines. But for most companies up to a few hundred millions dollars of revenue, they don’t have all that breadth of expertise. You can own 20 different sets of people and redundant versions of them, or you can actually get a team which has all that expertise as an outsource service. Staffing is becoming a big challenge. People are getting more expensive. It’s hard to get the expertise you want. And honestly, the inability to source it yourself is the biggest challenge for most organizations.
Andrew: Interesting. That’s fascinating. Who would you make that argument to? Within a company, who are the decision makers where that’s going to be the biggest hot button for them?
Abhijit: If you go to the CIO, the COO, the CEO–they fully get it. HR challenges for people are their biggest issue. It’s not only the fact that they don’t have the people; they’re really limited by their people to go after their strategic objectives. And the fact that people churn; they need vacation; it’s hard to hire; it’s a competitive marketplace; the economy is getting even better and it’s going to be harder to retain great people–that is the biggest challenge.
Andrew: Got it. Fantastic. I once said that a customer that is not willing to include the staffing element in a total cost of ownership analysis–if you’re dealing with somebody that’s not willing to buy into that concept–you’re probably not positioned at the right level in the company. Do you agree with that?
Abhijit: I absolutely agree with that. I think, Andrew, that argument can also be made at a lower level with just a slightly different spin. Because most IT directors are going to their CIOs and saying, “Listen, you’re asking me to do more, give me more resources,” or “I need this,” or “I can’t hit these dates,” or “I can’t hit this budget.” So there’s always that friction between the implementer, the director and the management, let’s say the CIO. To the extent you can be part of that solution, you’ve got the opportunity to relate to that lower level director.
Andrew: Got it. And maybe that’s somebody you can really be a hero with, if you can figure out how they can be enabled to do more with less. Right?
Abhijit: Absolutely. You know, at the end of the day everyone is measured by results, and to the extent you can relate to the IT director and say, “Listen, I can enable you to go figure this out.” The challenge, Andrew, it’s not only your current solution. Because most frustrations I hear from CIOs are, “Okay, my team isn’t delivering on time, but more importantly they aren’t really laying out a vision of what I want to do and what I need to do going forward to keep my organization strong.”
If you can position with the IT director or the manager and help them look at the bigger picture, look at the longer term vision. Develop a strategy. Not only develop a great level of service–offer an SLA. Andrew, people are reluctant in an organization to offer an SLA to their management. Give them these tools which are so important for the management to look good, then the IT director now becomes a hot favorite. It’s a great way to make them look good.
Andrew: Yeah. Very cool. Love it. Abhijit, you always come with a really, really powerful insights my friend. You’ve done it once again. Thank you so much for jumping in.
Abhijit: You’re welcome, Andrew.
Andrew: Yeah, you bet. Guys, that’s Abhijit Phanse. He’s the CEO of UnitedLayer. Again, another member of our distinguished faculty here at the Cloud Services University. Make sure you check out the UnitedLayer learning center. Lots of great information. There are tools that you can download, white papers, videos, hear those stories of where they’re winning. We’re having lots of success with them and you can too. So check it out. It’s worth your time. Good selling.