Specialised IT infrastructure skills are falling in value, says HCL Technologies
IT workers will need to have a more general knowledge base if they are to survive in an increasingly complex and more integrated IT infrastructure environment, according to HCL Technologies.
The Indian IT services provider’s theory shows that the trend for more general skills is not limited to developers, as a recent survey from IT recruiter Greythorn found that IT workers with knowledge of multiple programming languages could earn up to £10,000 more a year than those who specialised in just one.
“In the new world, you need less specialised, but more rounded, skills, because the differences in the infrastructure is less,” said Ashish Gupta, senior VP and head of HCL Technologies’ infrastructure services division in EMEA.
“Previously the network guy would handle a problem and then pass it on to someone else. [Today] systems are more joined up, so people’s abilities need to be more joined up.”
For most organisations, this will require a “huge” amount of skills retraining, to enable more senior people to make critical IT decisions, he added.
HCL provides IT outsourcing services to a range of customers in the UK, including car manufacturer Volvo, retailer Dixons and media company News International.
It describes its service as ‘co-sourcing’, as it claims to offer a non-traditional form of outsourcing that involves working with customers to identify areas of inefficiencies and improve on them, rather than simply taking over the management of problem IT that the customer no longer wants to run.
While manufacturing, retail and media have been strong industries for HCL’s remote infrastructure management services, Gupta said that it is starting to see growing demand from financial services and life sciences.
Last year, for example, the company signed a deal with AstraZeneca to outsource the pharmaceutical company’s data centre services, taking over a long-standing contract that had been held with IBM.
“In financial services, we are starting to see [more demand] from banks. They haven’t done much outsourcing in infrastructure – they haven’t let anybody in except for end user computing.
“That’s starting to change. We are starting to see banks across Europe that are looking to change how they operate IT, but still retain control,” said Gupta.
In contrast, the public sector is still not very receptive to new outsourcing partners, Gupta said.
“Opportunities should be [available] more in central government but they don’t let new players embed into the system,” he said.
“[The UK public sector] is a difficult sector to break into because of the incumbency you have. Governments are a lot more risk-averse. Change in those organisations is a lot more difficult.”
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