How SaaS Is Changing A Techie's Role

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 11, 2014

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Software as a service (SaaS) has, to a large extent, changed the technology landscape and along with it, the nature of IT jobs. In a recent blog, technology analyst Paul Korzeniowski explains that as the length of service contract shrinks, managers look for ways to create more flexible workforces. This in turn is changing the roles of IT professionals.

In other words, earlier companies signed long-term contracts of 5-10 years, which has now been reduced to a year or even a few months. While businesses are replacing their fixed costs with variable expenses, in terms of staffing too, they are looking to hire contract workers or temporary workforce. Many of them have realized that temporary contract workers are much less expensive than full-time ones, writes Paul.

The numbers illustrate a dramatic change in IT hiring. Paul mentions that a study done by Computer Economics shows that in 2013, contract workers made up 15% of a typical large organization’s IT staff, compared to just 6% in 2011. In fact, the volume of contract workers has reached historic proportions. He points out that the last time there were as many temporary workers was in 1998 when IT struggled with the dot.com boom.

The IT industry in some ways is following that trend. Given the rapid pace of technology change, it has become very difficult for businesses to find, hire, and keep staff with the necessary, quickly-changing skill sets, says Paul. So instead of building in-house skills, SaaS is enabling them to hire third party.

Paul states that IT professionals seem to be responding to the change positively, as they realize that the traditional company career path is being discarded. Emergent Research Inc. found that 18% of all IT workers are self-employed, and this independent workforce is growing at the rate of 7% per year,” he writes.

“IT professionals do benefit by going solo. They gain more independence. Rather than being tied to one company, they work with a couple or even several clients. They are also able to select projects that interest them rather than being told what to work on,” he writes. However, while they seek independence, techies in their solo venture need to take care of billing, marketing, and other tasks typically handled by corporate departments. Long term, they may find themselves lacking benefits like retirement plans and healthcare coverage.

It however needs to be noted that the way SaaS is changing company’s IT resources, techies no longer view themselves as loyal company servants and are trying to seek more autonomous roles.