As the digital landscape broadens, so does the skills required. For years we’ve faced a digital skills gap on a national scale, so how can organisations keep up? With the market being so competitive, skills have been centralised to key centres of excellence within the enterprise space, leaving a difficult choice for others: build or buy? As MSP’s become attractive destinations for high-end talent, what is left for the rest of us?
I’d like to consider two scenarios related to skills, with the first being a common issue we’ve all experienced: single point of failure (SPOF). As companies evolve their systems will too; a subject matter expert in a particular system may extend their reach to multiple systems, until they become a bottleneck; they have no time to train (or money to recruit) others to assist, leaving a silo of understanding and skills in one person. Time to document processes becomes time-consuming and draws value away from the business. This SPOF instantly becomes a risk: they’re not always on (they’re not a machine after all), they can get sick, need time off and they become attractive to competitors. These champions drive demand for even higher salaries and without the support around them, your business will likely lose them over time.
The other scenario is a complete paradigm shift in technology; we’ll consider with respect to the champion, but a large shift or investment in emerging tech can provide its own problems when it comes to skills. Take UC: moving to services like Teams with Enterprise voice capabilities requires a far different set of skills than that of supporting a PBX environment, skills that are not necessarily adaptable from the traditional world of ITOps. Skilling up individuals becomes expensive and leads us back into the cycle of having a single point of failure. A skills gap can also delay adoption, with the capacity of individuals being a limiting factor in adapting to market trends and maintaining that competitive edge.
The answer for many is looking toward MSP’s; the managed services market remains a desirable destination for individuals with hard to find skills and application-specific offerings harnessing those skills becomes the answer to the skills gap for many. In UC, specific support can accelerate organization from an out-of-date PBX to a contact centre used to transform the way an organization reaches its audience in a matter of weeks; support for complex tools and architecture such as MS project can enable PMO, gain access to the full potential of the technology from the off, providing value and efficiencies back into the business straight away.
Whilst it is perhaps more attractive to retain skills in house, there is always a finite relationship between the individuals who have those skills and the companies that employ them. This is a challenge that MSP’s manage on a much larger scale, but with much more depth to support the retention of those skills, leading back to the inevitable question: build or buy?