Appreciating the IT Labor Factor

Appreciating the IT Labor Factor

The biggest limiting factor that any MSP faces today is its ability to attract IT talent.

While this is the week the United States celebrates the contributions organized labor movement played in the development of the country, it’s also a good time to appreciate the critical role IT labor plays in the success of any MSP.

More often than not the biggest limiting factor that any MSP faces today is its ability to attract IT talent. The simple fact is that IT has never been more complex to manage. The problem is that finding and retaining people with not only the right IT skills but just as importantly the right attitude, has never been more difficult.

Nowhere is that a bigger issue than in the realm of security, where the unemployment rate for IT professionals with IT security expertise is essentially zero. For that Larry Cecchini, president and CEO of Secure Designs, a provider of managed security services based on Greensboro, North Carolina, said one of the most important decisions his company ever made was to set up shop near seven different local colleges. While Secure Designs does everything it can to hold on to talent, Cecchini said the MSP relies heavily on talent recruited from local colleges to replenish its ranks. Given the fact that many of those students have ties to the local area, Cecchini said it’s a lot more practical to grow his own talent base than it is to hope the right candidate someday wants to move to Greensboro.

While that may sound like an IT recruitment strategy required to deal with the challenges associated with operating in a small market, it turns out that Michael Crean, president and CEO of Solutions Granted, a provider of managed security services based in Woodbridge, Virgina, is dealing with the same set of issues.

In fact, Crean said he is a lot more interested in hiring people that have the right attitude in terms of fitting in with his company’s culture than he is in their technical expertise. Technology skills, noted Crean, can always be taught; attitude is everything in an organization the often competes head-to-head with much larger rivals for government security services contracts, said Crean.

In the case of both Secure Designs and Solutions Granted, corporate culture winds up arguably being the most important business asset both companies have. In a world where the quality of the customer experience is directly tied to the expertise of the people managing the IT experience, all things being relatively equal from a compensation perspective the difference between a successful MSP and one that isn’t often comes down to whether people who could work anywhere want to work for that MSP.

As a result, MSPs as a whole would do well this week to consider just how well they compare to other IT organizations not just in terms of the salaries they offer, but just as significantly the corporate culture they require their people to labor under.

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