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Why a looming IT shortage won’t require companies to scale back on innovation

Canada is facing a looming shortfall of IT professionals. Here’s how organizations can stay on the cutting edge in the face of a shrinking workforce

From day-to-day tasks to long-term strategic planning to the integration of AI and IoT, Canadian companies are more reliant on technology than ever before – to their benefit. Technological innovations are helping companies work smarter and more efficiently; but they also require a workforce with the right skills and training for implementation, management and support.

Unfortunately, according to a report published by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), by 2020, there won’t be enough qualified individuals to fill some 218,000 new information and communications technology jobs. This anticipated skills shortage is expected to cost the economy billions of dollars in lost productivity, taxes and GDP. It will also increase the cost of talent recruitment and retention as companies compete to attract and retain employees with in-demand tech skills, particularly when those skills need continual retooling to effectively execute on digital transformation initiatives. For example, someone who knows how to fix servers and swap hard drives doesn’t necessarily know how to perform similar tasks in the software/cloud world.

“By the year 2020, there won’t be enough qualified individuals to fill some 218,000 new information and communications technology jobs.” Information and Communications Technology Council

But there is a way organizations can overcome these hurdles: managed network services. According to a poll by CFO Research, 69% of executives believe managed service providers (MSPs) can actually do a better job of delivering IT services than they can do on their own.

Here are three ways working with an MSP can help your organization get in front of the looming tech labour shortage and get more out of your technology:

1. Reduced IT costs
According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for an IT director in Canada is $129,000; for an IT manager, it’s $97,000. These numbers are sure to climb as companies compete for limited talent. And salary is just part of the total cost of maintaining an in-house tech team: in a cost comparison, it’s important to also factor in overhead such as payroll, taxes and benefits, as well as the cost of additional support staff to ensure someone is always on hand should an outage or security issue arise. Meanwhile a study by CompTIA, found that managed services can trim IT costs by as much as 50% or more, while still delivering strong performance, uptime, security, flexibility and agreeable service terms.

2. More dependable networks
Uninterrupted network access is crucial for today’s business operations. And while it might seem like having an IT person onsite would result in the fastest response times in the event of outages or other issues, research by IDC found that organizations using MSPs experience significantly fewer unplanned downtime incidences and faster outage resolutions. Why? Because, unlike in-house tech employees, MSPs can deliver monitoring and response services 24/7. They also offer service level agreements that are legally binding, typically covering parameters such as response time and network performance metrics. Paired with the benefits of a fibre network, such as symmetrical upload and download speeds, organizations can still reap the benefits of fast, reliable networks even in the absence of an in-house team.

3. Greater opportunity for innovation
The vast majority of IT time and resources are spent “just keeping the lights on”. But if organizations are investing 85% of their IT budgets on delivering basic needs, it means there’s not a lot of time or money left over for innovation. MSPs can alleviate the burden of these mundane tasks, freeing up your IT professionals to focus more on innovation. Furthermore, organizations that empower IT professionals to drive innovation gain a recruiting edge, allowing them to hire the best of the best IT talent they may still need in-house. After all, isn’t the opportunity to help businesses perform a more attractive job prospect than just keeping networks online?

A lack of skilled IT professionals doesn’t mean organizations will have to scale back on tech, but thriving amid the coming IT talent shortage will require a rethink of traditional in-house models.