The Power of Real Time Insight

The Power of Real-time Insights

If one of your business processes has become so costly that it is eating into your profits, you may be unaware of the problem until you receive a monthly report from IT. In the time between when the problem developed and when you learned of it, your business has lost thousands of dollars.

If you are able to receive real-time information instead, you can be alerted about the problem as soon as it develops. The faster you can find a way to fix the problem, the sooner you can put your company back in the black. Today’s analytic applications leverage data to gain the insights needed to make these timely and profitable decisions.

Upping the Ante on Application Performance

Business intelligence tools, automation technologies, and other large applications are becoming more sophisticated, taxing the capabilities of the data center infrastructure.

Traditionally, business analytics applications have been able to draw information from a variety of sources inside and outside of the business, which has helped with strategic planning. Today, business intelligence applications have cognitive abilities that create greater performance demands as they expand capabilities. These applications utilize advances in natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for faster and more highly developed insights.

Armed with these additional reasoning powers, CFOs can have analytics at their fingertips. Graphic user interfaces make data easy to visualize and understand for a simplified and streamlined analytics process.

For its initiatives to be effective, your business needs the power to use applications that analyze data immediately for real-time insights.

Meeting the Challenges of Data Analytic Applications

Accessing the right applications isn’t enough to make analytics work for you. Before you can begin taking advantage of applications, you need to have a powerful infrastructure to support them.

In the past, companies have responded to the increased storage and performance needs of applications by provisioning more servers. Server sprawl, symptomatic of an ineffective infrastructure management plan, devours energy and rack space. Companies remained faithful to these legacy servers because they were reliable at the time of implementation.

Doing More with Less

If you are currently working with x86 servers,  you should consider newer servers that monitor the integrity of data, increase processing and memory, and accelerate input/output rates.  Relying on legacy servers to power your applications keeps your business from being competitive. The effort of managing and maintaining legacy servers stretches your resources. Older servers are inefficient, costing more money for poorer performance. Lag time hurts productivity and loses clients who are frustrated with response times.

Our eBook, Add Power to Your Applications, (download here) gives an in-depth look at how IBM POWER8 provides a superior alternative to the legacy servers that are keeping your business from reaching its full potential. With IBM POWER8, you can break the endless cycle of provisioning lower performing servers and take advantage of the real-time and actionable insights produced by business intelligence applications.

IBM POWER8 provides an answer to the deficiencies of legacy servers by offering:

  • Fastest performance for all types of workloads
  • Ready to address larger workloads (Analytics, Big Data)
  • Lower software and infrastructure costs and Total Cost of Acquisition (TCA)
  • Fewer servers, lower support costs and increased performance
  • Reliability / redundancy

Faster transactional speeds translate into improved business processes, not only from increased production, but from the insights gained through advanced business intelligence applications.

Staffing is so much more than just Staffing

IT staffing firms are often harshly criticized. Some of it is deserved, but much of it is not. staffing firms provide a very valuable service to their customers (see my post: Why Staffing Firms are Critical, back from September 2015) with the consultants and resources they provide. Many of our customers would not be as efficient in what they do in IT without these valuable firms. So why the bad rap I mention above? I strongly believe that it has to do with the how these firms are perceived by their customers. Many customers see these firms as exactly for what they are: a firm to provide only resources versus a strategic partner to help achieve goals and objectives. This is where I am going with my post today, where I unequivocally believe that staffing is much more than just staffing – if you are working with the right staffing firm.

Any staffing firm has the ability to provide resources that organizations need. Like any industry, some do it well, some do not. Some are considered just “body shops” to their customers. A place to get resumes and people and nothing more. Yet some become invaluable partners to their customer. Why the difference? If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’ll know that I will certainly have a definitive opinion about that, as I do all things. It’s all about value and doing well above and beyond just the minimum. And yes, I do have a strong opinion on this, filtered through experience.

When someone is looking for a resource and chooses to use a staffing firm to find said resource, there is so much that a good staffing firm does before you have candidates in front of you to consider. staffing firms search their database or go and recruit (hence the need for recruiters) for people. This can be very laborious and time consuming to find the right people, with the right skills, with the right experience and all of the other items that a customer requires. But good recruiters know how to get it done. The customer doesn’t need to see all of this back-end work, nor would they probably want to. A lot goes into it. A good staffing firm masks all of this from the customer but yet keeps them informed every step of the way, so they are not left wondering what is happening.

A good staffing firm will take care of all the expected things that accompany staffing: qualifying a candidate, doing background checks, negotiating between the client and the resource, helping to make sure that this resource is truly a good fit for the position being considered, and then on-boarding this resource for the client. That’s pretty much what is expected. But what great staffing firms will do to go above and beyond that is do deep background and technical checks to truly qualify and vet the candidate and will have specialties for which they are known to be very strong. We, for example, are well known within the IT infrastructure word, that’s our specialty, and we then dive down into specialties within IT infrastructure such are networking, storage, virtualization, security, operations management (ITSSM), and service management. A strong firm will also keep the customer abreast of what is going on with candidates within their industry.

Customers want to know if they invest in a particular technology that there are people out there to help support them, though perm hires or consultants, and that the pool of candidates is not so finite and niche that they won’t have to pay unreasonable salaries or hourly rates. This is really important. Customers also want to know what’s going on, be kept informed, and feel valued even when there is no immediate opportunity on the table. I’ve seen this time and time again throughout the years. Where partners are only talking to their customers when there is opportunity. This is a huge mistake. As an IT services partner or staffing firm, your customers are your lifeblood and you should be fostering and talking to them all time, not just when there is opportunity. That’s how you differentiate yourself out in the market place and to your customer. Sounds so simple, and it is, but you’d be surprised how many firms do not do this and, by doing so, take their customers for granted.

This is where a staffing firm can be so much more than just a staffing firm. They can guide you by letting you know what is going within their industry, how the candidate pool looks for a particular skill at a given point in time, how salary ranges fluctuate for particular resources in the market; we even have customers ask us for guidance about the salaries they should be paying their own internal people based upon what’s going on in the market. That customers ask us this shows that they see us as more than just a staffing firm; they see value and partnership. And that’s the ultimate goal. A mutual partnership, not just a transaction.

We also guide our customers on what our other customers are doing in terms of how they staff their IT departments so that they can understand if they are being efficient in how they staff. These are some of the examples of the value that a good firm staffing firm will provide above and beyond (or in conjunction with) only staffing. And we as an organization are happy to provide this additional value, that’s how we believe we different ourselves. This makes us more much comfortable in the eyes of our customers and we are seen as much more than just staffing firm, we are seen as a partner.

So when you are evaluating your staffing firms, consider if they are bringing value above and beyond just staffing. In this very competitive market today, value is a big differentiator and your trusted staffing partners will stand up and provide it. A staffing firm can provide so much more than just staffing.

Andy Jonak
ajonak@vicomnet.com