WrightRobbins Insights

Drive Sales Results with Workforce Planning

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As the year comes to an end board rooms are filled with executives planning a bigger brighter 2013.  Leaders are analyzing historical performance, future trends, market growth, and methods to capitalize on opportunity.  These are leaders of change.   They are the driving forces behind vision that fuel transformation in the coming year.

At the annual company and sales kick-off meetings employees will learn about leadership’s vision for change.  Everyone will be informed about new products, new solutions, new service offerings, enhanced productivity, all of which targeted at improving their bottom line.  Who is accountable for producing?  People.

Organizations are then met with the challenge of executing business strategy at warp speed.  The whirlwind takes over all the while leaders need to determine if the right players are at the right place at the right time.  If they are not READY then how can they produce at levels preached at the kickoff event?

This is where strategic workforce planning plays critical role in supporting change.  Mollie Lombardi and Justin Bourke define workforce planning as “the systematic approach of aligning business strategy, human capital strategy, and budgets in order to ensure that talent with the right skills and competencies are in place to support anticipated and unanticipated future business scenarios…” (Strategic Workforce Planning – Winning Scenarios for Uncertain Times, Aberdeen).

In our world at WrightRobbins, we scale this process to fit specific change initiatives.  For example, we have one client that is launching major software products that will have a profound impact in the market.  Our client has high expectations for getting these products adopted quickly.  One of WrightRobbins’s roles is to help our client understand current capacity and capability to execute their sales strategy.   First step is to determine readiness through the following workforce planning process:

  • Analyze current sales & delivery capacity
  • Derive workforce demand
  • Identify capability gaps
  • Develop prescriptive readiness plans
  • Measure progress & performance

Clients often struggle with capturing current capacity and forecasting demand based on business objectives such as revenue attainment.  Over the years we developed a method for forecasting skill supply & demand for specific job roles including sales, technical pre-sales, implementers, and developers.  All of which are typical job functions in technology and professional service organizations.

The resulting skill gap analysis provides valuable business intelligence as to organizational readiness.  Leadership is enabled to maximize investment when they understand build, buy or acquisition needs.   The end result is to ensure key sales & delivery teams are READY to execute.   Prescriptive readiness plans help get the right people with the right skills at the right time.   Without it, leadership’s vision will not become a reality.

For information on how WrightRobbins can make sure your sales and delivery channels are ready for the cloud and how we can keep your team ever-ready (just like the cloud), give us a call or send us an email.

 


The 5 Pillars of Cloud Computing: How They Impact Technology Learning Strategy

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By this time we know Cloud Computing has started to drastically changed how people use technology in the enterprise. But have you really taken a look at how these technology shifts are improving efficiency?

  1. On-demand Self-service: Instead of emailing a request to IT, we can self-serve information and computing resources.
  2. Broad Network Access: Instead of accessing information via our laptop alone, we can use our phones, tablets, workstation: any device from any location.
  3. Resource Pooling: Instead of dedicated computer resources, people across divisions and silos can share the bandwidth, servers and information.
  4. Rapid Elasticity: Instead of fixed resources, resources can grow—and shrink–dynamically as needs shift.
  5. Measured Service: Instead of guessing what people are working on, you can measure their time, and resource usage.

We call these the five pillars of cloud computing and when it comes to developing your technology learning strategy, they’re a big deal. Because the cloud is a disruptive technology, it has caused disruption to organizations’ workforces and how they adapt to it. Compounding this is the fact that for the first time in US history, we now have four different generations in the workplace with vastly different learning styles—each with different world views, expectations, and comfort levels with technology.

So while cloud computing can indeed be beneficial, it also carries ramifications that will impact your learning and readiness strategies:

  1. Accessibility: Your learning program must be accessible from all kinds of devices, without barriers such as log-ins or sacrificing security. Younger employees are used to accessing information from anywhere, anytime, without hassle.
  2. Flexibility: Your learning program must be flexible. Employees of all generations want appropriate training, delivered in the right way, at the right time for their needs. Sometimes a virtual instructor is what’s needed; other times it’s self-paced webinars; and even good old in-class face-to-face training has its place. Millennials and GenXers both have shorter attention spans, and are used to looking up exactly what they need to know, just when they need it making just-in-time training strategies a must.
  3. Variety: Your learning strategy has to provide access to all kinds of information—role-based or siloed information is so last century! Learners want two-way dialog and discussion, in addition to content.
  4. Collaborative: Your learning strategy has to be collaborative. GenXers and Millennials want and expect collaboration, teamwork and feedback, through such varied channels as texting, discussion forums, and live chat. Yet the Boomers in your organization are less enamored of technology and prefer face-to-face collaboration.
  5. Measureable: Your learning strategy has to measure results—both of your training program and of your individuals. Cloud systems can meter and report when, what and for how long a person is using a computer resource, which can help you determine if they have learned the material and if the material is compelling.

Bottom line, your learning program must demonstrate ROI. If you apply your training resources appropriately to the new Cloud environment, and across generational expectations, how much more will you sell, how much more productive will your people be, how much can you shrink training costs?

To learn more about how a Cloud-appropriate training strategy can help your company drive more revenue, we’re offering a free one-hour consultation with a WrightRobbins learning architect. During that session, we’ll talk about how to transform your training strategy to align with your cloud environment and/or the overall makeup of your workforce. Contact us to get started.


Cloud Platforms & Technologies: How To Become A Market Leader

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As you might know, Cloud computing has the IT industry all abuzz, and companies like Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google and others are investing billions of dollars in their cloud platforms and technologies in a bid to position themselves as the market leader in this arena. (more…)


Strategic Training And Career Development: Challenge Your Team With Achievable Excellence

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Regardless of size and complexity, most organizations would agree that skilled human capital is one of the most prized business assets a company can possess. Whether it be your employees or peers, skilled talent contributes greatly to the efficiency, quality and thought leadership of the products and services a company offers. Even in organizations which are heavily vested in outsourcing operational roles, the skills and attributes of employees who own strategy, planning, design, and architectural responsibilities are viewed as a core component of the ability to grow and foster a competitive business advantage. (more…)


Private Cloud: 4 major challenges (Part 1)

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In the new reality that is the Private Cloud, I see 4 major challenges:

1.  Transitioning from traditional delivery models

2.  Re-skilling workforce to move up the stack

3.  Overcoming current cloud concerns (i.e. security, availability and loss of control)

4.  Overcoming perceived vendor lock-in

Challenge number one– transitioning from traditional delivery models—is of primary concern to System Integrators and has the potential to change the entire eco-system in which they currently live. (more…)


Windows Azure: How Microsoft’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings impact Traditional Systems Integration (SI) partners within the Microsoft Partner community

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With the evolving cloud marketplace and Microsoft’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, Windows Azure, traditional Systems Integrators (SI) and Value-Add Resellers (VARs) are asking the question as to how this solution fits into their overall Solution Portfolio.

Customers of SIs are evaluating if it makes sense to port data and applications up to the cloud and looking at cost, security, and compliance considerations. With Windows Azure in an incubation phase, it’s unlikely that small, mid, and enterprise level organizations have the internal capacity to fully prepare for such a move. Those organizations are looking to SI partners to help plan and evaluate the various cloud offerings. (more…)


SharePoint People: Staffing to Address the Right Need

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One of the most interesting aspects of SharePoint collaboration technology is that the real complexity of the system lies not in the installation of the platform, but in the implementation and support of its ongoing use.

Regardless of a technology’s relative simplicity or complexity, the management of technology and content seem to take markedly different paths over time (fig 1).  (more…)


Disruptive Learning: Align IT Training Strategy & Business Goals

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At my firm, we embrace a concept we call “Disruptive Learning.” While this may sound negative at first, it’s actually a very positive thing. With this approach, we encourage your organization to disrupt, or re-think, your existing learning strategy so you (more…)


Top 3 New Skills Required by SharePoint

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Over the last several years Microsoft has discovered additional business problems that SharePoint can solve. But these additional features and solutions require IT teams to think differently about how they develop and manage their SharePoint platform beyond local collaboration or the archiving of enterprise data.  The skills traditionally needed to make a SharePoint installation successful, such as system architects, site administrators, SQL DBAs or business analysts are still critical, but the types of skills they need have expanded. (more…)


UC: The New World Of Communication

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In the beginning, we had smoke signals, signal fires, and other means for communicating over long distances. Just as those gave way to the telegraph and telephone, the PBX is giving way to a new model for communication, one driven by powerful software tools over high capacity network lines. Having worked through several of these shifts in the way society can “reach out and touch someone” myself, I will be discussing how we can prepare for the next great transition over the coming weeks. (more…)


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