Aussie IT managers are in control, or at least they think they are. They admit they need help with IT training, they'll even entertain a bit of IT consulting, but they are not at all keen on outsourcing.
Of the respondents to the ZDNet 2010 IT Priorities survey, 61 per cent said they had no plans to outsource IT activity in the next two years. Only 9.5 per cent will be outsourcing anything in the next six months, compared to 15 per cent in Europe, 21 per cent in China and Latin America and 31 per cent in India. Bigger Aussie companies are more likely to let go: 21 per cent of those with 10,000 or more employees plan to outsource within six months compared to just 5 per cent of micro-businesses (less than 10 people).
Perhaps because they're keen on doing stuff themselves, Aussie IT managers are keen on training. 28 per cent will be applying for some training in the next six months and 70 per cent plan to in the next two years. Only 30 per cent don't have training in the pipeline. This commitment to training is common across all businesses with 50 or more employees. Although the same thing is happening overseas where IT teams are being trained and work is being outsourced.
So what about consultants? If we don't like to outsource are we prepared to pull someone in to offer expertise? The answer is, yes, a bit. 18 per cent of respondents will be using IT consulting in the next six months (27 per cent in very big businesses), but 45 per cent have no plans to use consultants in the next two years. That pretty much echoes the pattern overseas.
Perhaps the reason why we're not calling for help is because we're not doing much that's new. It has been a period of consolidation for many businesses as we come off the back of the global financial crisis. That could account for the relatively low percentage of businesses who are going to call for help with change management (just 18 per cent). Instead, IT teams are sticking to their knitting, by providing remote support for staff for example.
Or perhaps it's because our IT teams have an insular approach, focusing on training themselves up and not calling on outside expertise. This could be because the services offered by external consultants aren't up to scratch, or because the opposite is the case and the IT manager doesn't want to be shown-up. Whatever the reason, the study shows that the keep-it-in-house approach is an Aussie phenomenon. How often have you said "if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing yourself?"