Thursday, February 26, 2009

Global Knowledge Announces Results of the IT Salary Survey

Global Knowledge announced the availability of the 2009 IT Skills and Salary Report. This year’s salary survey yielded a participant base of more than 14,000 IT professionals. Among the key findings:

  • Annual Salary Growth and Bonuses: Despite the current economic pressures, the salaries for jobs increased over last year’s findings. The average base salary increased from $73,900 in 2008 to $81,600 in 2009. Nearly half (46%) of the survey respondents received a bonus in the past 12 months. Of those, 22% received between $5K and $10K.

  • Age, Experience, and Education: The average age and experience of the salary survey participants remained fairly consistent overall. However, there was an increase in the education level of this year’s survey participants. Specifically, the number of respondents having at least a 4-year degree grew by 8 points over last year.

  • Training, Certification, and Job Performance: Nearly 75% of IT professionals who attended training earned an average base salary of $82.8K, while those who did not attend training earned an average of $78.4K.

    According to the salary survey, 3 out of 4 IT professionals reported an increase in productivity following the certification. Indeed, nearly 6 out of 10 people we surveyed reported that a key motivator in the decision to train in the next 12 months is to earn a certification or to recertify.

    Overall, job performance was reported as the single greatest contributing factor to a higher base pay. According to the salary survey, 87% who have attended training claim they are more productive in their job role. In addition, 64% stated that the training that they received had a measurable impact on their salary.
  • More information on the IT industry can be found at

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Tech Support Salary Survey Shows "Selective Gains"

    Despite recessionary pressures, salaries for senior tech support staff and managers rose modestly during 2008, according to the latest annual salary survey conducted by the Association of Support Professionals (ASP). But the gains were largely limited to senior support employees and managers, the report noted. Entry- level tech support and customer service reps saw no overall gain in pay during the year.

    The ASP's fourteenth annual Technical Support Salary Survey, which reflects compensation data supplied by 125 participating support organizations, also reveals that a majority of all support employees now work for large, enterprise-oriented software companies whose pay levels have become a de facto industry standard.

    These "selective gains" in support pay probably reflect the growing shift from free to fee-based support, says ASP executive director Jeffrey Tarter. "When customers pay for support and related services, they insist on more technical skill and domain expertise than they did when support was free," he says. "And when customers put more value on experience, it's not surprising that employees with experience will see their pay move up at a faster rate."

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Economic downturn could bring good news for contact center recruitment

    A recent major study of over 200 contact center operations carried out by ContactBabel, has found that the average salary for a new contact center agent in 2008 was $26,067, a decline of almost $2,000 on the previous year. Those in the telecoms, media and technology sector fared best, being paid an average basic salary of $30,465, whereas agents working in outsourced operations were paid an average of only $21,415.

    Experienced agents can expect a salary premium of 22% over new agents, with team leaders being paid an average of just over $40,000. A contact center manager's average basic salary was slightly over $60,000.

    With average salaries static or declining across the industry, a classical economist could read into this that the demand for contact center agents is more than being met: if not, salaries would necessarily have risen to attract more people into the industry. Yet, in fact, the US contact center industry is reporting further requirements for more agents.

    11% of survey respondents state that there are plans to reduce the numbers of agent within their contact centers in 2009, 33% state that there will be little or no material change, and 56% are planning definite growth in headcount. Of the latter group, the average planned headcount increase is 30%.

    Despite this increase in demand for contact center labor, an observer would not necessarily expect salaries to go up as well, as where labor supply is plentiful and matches this demand, salaries would remain steady. However, contact centers are reporting consistent problems with both recruitment and retention, indicating that the supply of labor is lacking, and as such, salaries would have been expected to grow. That they have not grown - and in many cases, actually declined - may perhaps be explained in two ways.

    Firstly, the contact center is often not in charge of its own investment plans. In many businesses, there is a schism - sometimes of both a physical and intellectual nature - between the senior executives who decide budgets and the operational management of the contact center. The contact center is viewed as a cost center, a necessary evil, divorced from the reality of making money, and the lack of interest in, and understanding of its potential shown by senior executives is often demonstrated by low investment levels. Put simply, the contact center does not have the ability to set salary levels which are commensurate with what it is trying to achieve.

    Secondly, the view of supply and demand set out above is too simplistic, assuming that the labor pool is homogenous: that all agents are equal. A low salary does not necessarily mean that absolute labor supply problems will ensue, but it does make it more likely that the quality of staff will not be as high, with better potential agents being able to earn higher salaries by working in other industries. As the job of a contact center agent is generally getting more complex, attracting agents with lower skills than had previously been the case will obviously cause negative issues with performance and staff retention.

    The economic downturn is likely to alleviate this considerably. Recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show a 7.6% unemployment rate, compared to 4.9% 12 months earlier, an increase of 4.1m people. Half of this decline occurred in the last quarter of 2008.

    In 2009, the picture appears positive for those wishing to recruit into their contact centers. Salaries are very unlikely to increase, and with growing unemployment and widespread concern over job security, recruiters are more likely to have their pick of high-quality contact center staff, with a likely drop in voluntary agent attrition rates as well.
    More information on the contact center market can be found at

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    IT Still Strategically-Focused, Despite Weakened Economy

    Recent research, published in Cutter Benchmark Review, has revealed that despite the global economic recession, IT is continuing to focus on the big picture. According to Cutter, the recent downward economic spiral has predictably put IT in the spotlight as a target for cost reduction.

    Some highlights of the research include:

    --Open Source: In a sharp reversal from last year, open source deployments have dropped 25%, to where the trend over four years is now in the negative.

    --IT Staffing: A mix of IT skills being hired reveals that strategic thinking has not fled before the financial storm. In particular, enterprise architecture and business analysis have now become the number two and three skill areas being hired. About one-third of companies are hiring enterprise architects and business analysts, which is now quite close to the 40% that are hiring application developers, still the top hiring category.

    --Enterprise Architecture: Nearly 70% of respondents now have an EA program in place, representing a 25% increase in the space of two years.

    --Enterprise 2.0: Between 25% and 30% of companies are now engaged in early experimentation with Enterprise/Web 2.0, although still around a third haven't taken any steps thus far.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Gartner Identifies Four Discrete Levels at Which IT Organizations Can Help Their Enterprises Optimize Business Costs

    There are four discrete levels at which IT organizations can help their enterprises optimize business costs, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner recommends that IT and business leaders use a cost optimization framework as a template when evaluating cost optimization initiatives.

    Gartner's Four Levels of Cost Optimization framework include the two lower levels -- IT Procurement and Cost Savings Within IT -- focused on the reduction of cost within IT, while the two upper levels -- Joint Business and IT Cost Savings, and Enabling Innovation and Business Restructuring -- involve IT and the business teaming up to reduce operating costs.

    Where appropriate, each level of this framework explores cost optimization issues by technology, domain, technology role, supporting facts and quantifications, estimates of savings and risk, and, in some instances, vertical industry. The broad definitions of the four discrete levels are given below (listed from lowest to highest):

    IT Procurement -- True partnerships with IT vendors mean that each party benefits in the good times and makes joint sacrifices in times of economic uncertainty. Each year, IT organizations spend billions of dollars for hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications services. The manner in which IT organizations approach procurement issues will affect how much they can reduce spending to meet business goals.

    Cost Savings Within IT -- A priority for many IT organizations will be to identify opportunities to reduce baseline IT costs, not just move them to another budget center. Where IT organizations focus is where they will be successful with cost savings.

    Joint Business and IT Cost Savings -- Consider that the average IT budget is roughly 3 percent of revenue, while total operating expenses are 80 to 90 percent of revenue. If the enterprise is looking to reduce costs in 2009, IT managers should try to join IT with the business to reduce costs in business operating expenses.

    Enabling Innovation and Business Restructuring -- As economic uncertainty passes, cost optimization will refocus on efforts to implement long-term process improvement and enable business structuring and innovation.

    Gartner recommends that the framework is used as an organizing structure in which to track cost optimization programs as well as communicating the impact of cost optimization to the business. Mapping out cost optimization efforts to the framework can help to determine whether an organization's overall initiative is out of balance (all cuts coming from cost savings in IT, for example) or whether an organization has mixed IT costs with an appropriate amount of optimization techniques (such as innovation and business restructuring) that can prepare an organization for a return to growth.

    More information on the information technology industry can be found at

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Customer Care

    Think Services' International Customer Management Institute has announced the release of its comprehensive study of contact center people management and operations. The ICMI 2008 Contact Center Operations Report compiles responses from a critical mass of contact center professionals from around the world.

    The results pinpointed some positives and promise, while shining a spotlight on even more opportunities for improvement — some of which are glaring. Some examples of the good, the bad and the ugly practices uncovered by the report:

    The good:

    --The vast majority of centers recognize the importance of call monitoring.

    --Most centers formally reward/recognize agents who consistently meet or exceed key objectives.

    --Most centers correlate employee reward/recognition with improved service quality, higher customer satisfaction and greater agent morale/job satisfaction.

    The bad:

    --The majority of centers rely on internal quality monitoring, rather than external customer surveys, to measure customer satisfaction.

    --Only two in five centers bother to measure agent satisfaction.

    --One in four centers have no disaster recovery or business continuity plan in place.

    And the ugly:

    --In nearly three out of four centers, leaders are rarely held accountable for agent retention.

    --Only 39% measure first-call resolution (FCR), considered one of the most important contact center metrics.

    --One in three contact centers surveyed do not measure customer satisfaction.

    More information on customer care can be found at

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    US Contact Center Outsourcers Deliver Cost Reductions, Flexibility, Knowledge

    Outsourcers are delivering reduced costs, more flexibility and specialist knowledge to US contact centers. But some perceived service shortcomings could be preventing them from winning more business in the current economic downturn, according to recent industry research conducted by ContactBabel and sponsored by Altitude Software.

    According to the report, when asked about the drivers for outsourcing, almost half of the respondents (47%) rate the cost-benefit ratio as the main factor, followed by the flexibility of quickly adding agents and running campaigns (35%), which directly results in better customer service and business results. The need to add specialized people to move forward (24%) and acquire specialist abilities unavailable in-house (e.g. foreign language or technical ability) (18%) are further highlighted as main drivers to use contact center outsourcers.

    41% of respondents used outsourcers in some way in the last year, with almost a quarter (23%) reporting a less positive experience, citing lack of visibility or information, as well as service shortcomings.
    More information on the IT industry can be found at

    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    The Distributed Workplace: The Challenges of Support

    To determine the specific challenges IT service desks face in supporting distributed and mobile workforces, conducted a survey in November 2008 targeting support executives representing a range of vertical industries, including technology, healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing. The survey, sponsored by SupportSoft Inc., was designed to explore the increasing pressures faced by support organizations as they attempt to serve employees operating outside traditional, centralized work environments. It examines technologies and processes organizations have put in place to provide remote support, and the kinds of IT problems remote and mobile workers are experiencing.

    Key findings from the survey include:

    --More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said they've experienced an increased need to support employees working outside the traditional office environment.

    --Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they're supporting remote workers across a range of work environments -- satellite offices, home offices, customer sites, and at such travel-related locations as hotels or airports.

    --A large majority (82%) of respondents said the IT issues their support teams must handle differ between onsite and offsite populations. Only 18% said there's no difference between the problems experienced by onsite workers and those working at remote locations.

    --More than three-quarters (82%) of respondents are using remote control solutions to support the devices used by distributed and mobile workers. Further, 36% said they're planning to increase their spending on remote support technologies within the next two years.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Anywhere IT to Drive $4 Trillion Worldwide Market by 2016

    Yankee Group has published two new Framework Reports that reveal that the information communications and technology (ICT) marketplace is on the verge of its most significant transformation yet and is poised to hit the $4 trillion mark worldwide by 2016. This transformation is about the shift of IT complexity into the network cloud, making it possible for the corporate experience to more closely reflect the consumer experience. Yankee Group predicts that Anywhere IT will change the way people work, give a competitive edge to early adopters of Anywhere technologies and dramatically reshape the enterprise vendor landscape. Even amidst the current economic turmoil, Yankee Group analysts advise organizations to begin exploiting Anywhere IT now or risk losing a competitive edge.

    Anywhere IT moves complexity into the cloud and expands IT into non-traditional areas. This shift will enable corporations to connect everything in the workplace -- conventional connected devices such as laptops and PCs, but also non-traditional devices like employee ID badges, factory equipment and other vertically specific equipment. Simplified and automated communications to exponentially more devices will cut costs by two orders of magnitude, creating a market that is twice as large and extends to ten times the number of endpoints. This will drive dramatic growth of the information communications and technology marketplace from $2.2 trillion worldwide today to $4 trillion in just seven years.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Workforce Management Market Grows by 7.4 Percent Despite Global Recession

    DMG Consulting LLC, a provider of contact center and real-time analytics market research, has published the 2009 Contact Center Workforce Management Market Report, the industry's most comprehensive guide to the essential and evolving contact center workforce management (WFM) market, products and vendors.

    2008 was a good year for the Workforce Management (WFM) market despite the recession gripping the global economy. The number of WFM seats/agents grew by a healthy 7.4%, from 3,463,571 agent/seats in 2007 to 3,719,294 in 2008. Although growth was universal among all vendors covered, the most rapid growth rates were realized among the smaller vendors and those with stand- alone solutions. DMG forecasts WFM sales to increase by 6% in 2009, 7% in 2010 and 9% in 2011, when DMG expects the economic recovery to gain momentum.

    Growth in the WFM market is being fueled by customer-driven innovation and the evolution of WFM solutions to meet the changing needs of contact centers. Vendors are developing and enhancing their solutions to address the needs of complex multi-site, multi-channel (phone, email, IM/Chat, fax, mail, etc.) and multi-skill contact center environments. They are also introducing WFM modules that deliver enterprise-wide efficiencies for non-contact center uses (back-office, retail, branches, etc.).

    More information on Workforce Optimization can be found at