Part Six: Come on IT Companies – Let’s be disruptive! Breaking the mould

This series of articles has considered the ability for large and small companies to collaborate and work together. The reasons for working together are to provide larger companies with access to innovative companies whilst at the same time helping to bridge any skills gaps. Small companies gain by better utilisation of their resources, and the economy gains by the growth of small companies.

 

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In Part Two, I suggested that we create an IT ecosystem for collaboration to enable better utilisation of skills within smaller companies. This would help to alleviate the current IT skills shortage by adding further options to filling demand for IT skills. It’s important to consider what can be done to stop the market overheating. Throughout this series of articles, I have used the Oil & Gas Industry as an example. As the oil price rose, so did the demand for skills within the industry. This impacted salaries and contract rates escalated rapidly. The Oil & Gas Industry, like the IT industry relies heavily on contract personnel, and contract rates just kept on rising, as companies competed for the resources. The crash in the oil price was not foreseen. Demand has plunged. Rates have in some instances halved, and thousands and thousands of people are now out of work.

Whilst I am not suggesting this is about to happen in the IT industry, I am suggesting that we consider paths other than recruitment. We find a way to create a means of collaborative working to make best use of underutilised` resources in small IT companies.  So how do you go about connecting companies to enable collaboration? I set up Company Connecting because I could not get a list of all the IT companies in Scotland, and I certainly couldn’t easily find out what companies did. The service is now up and running, and we will be adding further functionality in the New Year…… but you need a bit more than that. The following five steps are my simplistic view on what is needed to enable collaboration:

  1. Know what skills, products and services are available
  2. Know what skills, product and services are wanted
  3. Go beyond the normal, the traditional and be open minded to something completely different
  4. Find a way of stitching it all together and then a means of connecting companies together.
  5. And perhaps the most important of all: there has to be a will to do it

Over simplistic? Perhaps, but it is a start. IT is a creative and inventive industry and has led the way in many other areas of disrupting the way we live and work. However, in general, it still tends to follow fairly traditional employment and ways of working. The better use we can make of resources, the better we are able to deliver, and grow our economies. IT is such a fundamental aspect of all our lives and there are loads of tools and apps which can help with collaborative working.

In the past I have worked on a variety of collaborative projects, the biggest of which is Vantage POB used by the Oil & Gas industry to track personnel to and from their work location (generally offshore).  In the early stages of the Vantage POB project, the Oil & Gas company I worked for, seconded 50% of my time to the industry project. Twelve Oil & Gas companies worked with a number of organisations and IT suppliers to deliver an application and service to the industry. Working on the project was both exhilarating and exasperating. We had to find a different way of working. A key aspect of the project for me, was working with people from diverse organisations, getting different perspectives, new blood and most importantly the opportunity to break the mould. So with the current shortage in IT skills, can we break the mould, and find new ways for large and  small companies to work together, and to better utilise resource?

 

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First published on Company Connecting November 2015

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