Rise of the IT resource manager

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For more than 20 years, more than a third of all IT projects have failed due to poor management of time, costs and quality. In the end, it usually comes down to a lack of resource management processes and tools to place the right people in the right jobs at the right time. 

Inadequate resource planning can result in a shortage of tech support professionals during a new product launch, a lack of programmers needed for a significant software refresh, or not enough training personnel to onboard new employees during a major hiring push.

These shortcomings are just a few examples of what happens when organizations don’t employ trained IT resource managers to secure human capital and support business goals. But they’re catching on quickly. 

The world of people who wake up and worry about resource management is growing larger every day. The IT industry employs more than 350,000 resource managers internally and works with more than 600,000 resource management consultants. And more than a million people around the world now have some responsibility of matching human capital to meet demands.

The resource manager profession is rapidly growing in industries that develop products and sell billable services or manage IT operations and transformations. On average, 85 percent of these organizations are struggling to forecast capacity and a mix of skills while more than 60 percent are trying to gain control of their resource management processes.  And more than two-thirds of these organizations have automation tools and processes that are insufficient for the data intensive job of continuously matching project demands with necessary human capital.   

When it comes to resource planning, forecasting continues to dominate the need for improvements. Without the ability to plan ahead six months or more, organizations will come up short with the resources and talent needed to keep operations running and take advantage of new opportunities. Resource managers need support and innovative tools to provide their organizations with the right resources at the right time.

Based on these needs, resource management is among some of the fastest growing professions in the world of IT.  Certified professionals are responding daily to calls to improve processes related to human capital, minimize IT project failures, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction rates, and retain employees during periods of high turnover. Here are five ways certified resource managers are making the most of human capital. 

Creating and managing a skills inventory 

An inventory of employees matched to skills, competencies and experiences is necessary to help employers understand the potential of their internal resources.  Instead of conducting a new round of hiring, they can look internally to see what talents and individuals they can leverage and retrain.  Employers often make the mistake of labeling employees based on their last project or position - once a programmer always a programmer. But what if they had experience providing tech support in a previous job?  Or were trained on a new product that was not recorded in the skills inventory.  It’s possible their training can be refreshed to provide support for a new mobile app or some other new or emerging need.  

Developing forecast methodologies 

Organizations need to predict future human capital needs over several quarters - not just the next. With long-term forecasting methodologies, resource managers have time to identify internal resources and secure them when the time is right. They can also plan for a new round of hiring around future periods of early retirements or employee turnover. Also, they can determine when employees with particular skill sets are available, whether or not new workers should be hired, and how to plan and budget for new training.

Improving staffing models 

After examining staffing models, resource managers can employ a methodical just-in-time resourcing approach where staffing is centralized and controlled to provide transparency into silos of resources common to departmental organization structures.  This approach helps avoid hiring more unnecessary employees and avoiding layoffs later down the road. This effort includes improving the way organizations source and develop talent from within and map those resources to forecasted resource demands. 

Overseeing automation tools 

There are hundreds of  resource management automation applications and tools in the market. With a centralized view of company resources, the resource manager has the best view of overall resource management needs and skill sets to select and manage the right automation tools.  Bells and whistles aren't nearly as important as a solution that can enable an enterprise-wide resource management process to be applied effectively across company departments and personnel. Resource managers need to make the final choice in this category because they’ll be the ones using and applying the tools on a daily basis. 

Maintaining governance of the resource management process 

Resource managers need to be the central voice of moderation and logic as they methodically deploy people, processes and tools to support IT. As such, they deserve an active and equal say in the direction of IT projects as they relate to supporting human capital and skill sets. 

Resource managers develop their skills through hands-on experience and training to become a Resource Management Certified Professional (RMCP). This certification provides education and tools to improve processes related to human capital.  With a certified resource manager, organizations can see immediate benefits in the form of on-time projects, more productive employees, and professional growth to keep employees from leaving and jumping to their next job. 

Many organizations still suffer from poor resource management because it’s difficult to align everyone with a process of managing human capital. However, if they can overcome that 30 to 40 percent project failure rate with the right processes, that’s a huge wakeup call on the value resource managers can bring to IT.  

Resource management has become the new high-water mark in mission-critical capabilities for running successful projects and achieving excellence in customer service for technology professionals, consulting services teams and Enterprise/IT service organizations. 

Randy Mysliviec, Managing Director of the Resource Management Institute (RMI) 

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