A natural consequence of any ‘industrial revolution’ is that it creates a need for new skills, and Industry 4.0 is no different.
In fact, to keep pace with the technological change we’re currently going through, Amazon research estimates that Australia needs 6.5m additional digital workers over the next four years, while research from RMIT Online and Deloitte suggests there’s a need for 156,000 new technology workers in Australia right now.
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone involved in tech and it was even recognised in the recent federal via a $100m allocation towards developing digital skills in the workforce. A further $2.7bn will also be put towards extending the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program, which offers wage subsidies to an estimated 170,000 new apprentices.
Long-term plans are all well and good, of course, but they aren’t sufficient when you’re trying to fulfil critical roles right now. Fallout from COVID-19 stymying job mobility has positioned IT and digital workers in even greater demand. It’s putting companies under enormous pressure to fill roles, leaving many with no choice but to offer higher and higher salaries even with no guarantee that they’ll secure the skills they need. In such a highly competitive labour market, dollars talk.
From a business perspective, the knowledge that your tech staff are in high demand and could be just a matter of weeks away from leaving you seriously in the lurch is a significant risk, which is where a managed service – an extension of a business’ IT team – can prove incredibly useful.
How can businesses find flexible solutions that bridge skill and labour gaps?
Where Australian businesses struggled with staff shortages in 2021, difficulties in finding workers continues to be a major challenge for them in moving through 2022. When it comes to technology jobs, the global shortage of people with suitable skills has placed this industry as one of the top five sectors hit hardest (compared to pre-COVID19 levels). In this landscape, a managed services provider can help businesses bridge the gap and eliminate the risk of being left without the skills needed to keep the business accelerating.
In addition to reducing this key person dependency, there are strong strategic reasons for businesses to evaluate the possibility of engaging a managed service as part of their IT team.
Firstly, the range of talent and experience a business can access through a managed services partner naturally exceeds that which an additional full-time employee or two can deliver. Having a range of specialised skills and experience – a tech talent pool – at your fingertips can be critically important in not only dealing with the day-to-day but also contributing to strategic projects.
Secondly, it ensures the internal team is spending time on the right things. A team that’s 100% internal will work across a whole range of tasks on a continual basis, and often you see $150,000-a-year employees engaged in those standard day-to-day tasks simply because they need doing.
By bringing in a managed services provider, to support IT as part of that team, those tasks can be delegated, leaving the in-house team to work more holistically with the business on a strategic level.
Thirdly, it ensures consistency. This feeds back into that reduction in key person dependency, and it’s a hugely important factor. As a CEO or business leader, you need your tech and IT function operating consistently well on a day-to-day basis. You need the team to be innovating and helping the business evolve; working with the rest of the senior team to drive change.
Having a managed services provider involved can not only inform that change but also ensure that, whatever happens personnel-wise internally, you have a safety net – a team that knows what’s going on and why; a team that can plug the gaps, if need be.
One Simplus customer, Evlynn Hayes from SA Health, said in a recent webinar that she knows “managed services have got her back”. The true value of that only becomes apparent when you don’t have it.
Riding the new wave of remote work
Pre-COVID, there was still a fundamental belief in many Australian businesses that employees needed to be working in the same country or the same city – if not the same building!
The global pandemic has changed things significantly in this regard. Very few people are working full-time from the office – we’ve all grown accustomed to meeting via Zoom or Teams, and working very collaboratively from a remote location.
This means that bringing in Simplus Managed Services as an extension of your team is now more seamless than ever. That’s especially true because our solution comes with named, dedicated team members – you won’t be dealing with a different person every time. Instead, you’ll be able to call on familiar faces who already know your business.
Ultimately, for many businesses, it makes economic sense – you’re not carrying excess salary in case you need it. From a talent perspective, you’ve got access to a much wider pool that you can bring in as and when the business needs it.
You’ve got the consistency of people and knowledge. And you’ve got a partner who’s got your back.
In a world that’s suffering from a short-term labour shortage and a long-term skills shortage, that’s an incredibly valuable asset to have.
At Simplus, we know that businesses have unforeseen changes and challenges. Our flex-utilisation model is designed to accommodate spikes in demand and allows for unused hours to be banked or rolled over, without affecting the cost of the contract.