CXO

CIO Jury: The global IT department

Tech without borders - as location becomes increasingly irrelevant

Advances in technology mean that geography and location are becoming increasingly irrelevant when sourcing IT skills and resources, according to leading CIOs.

Just last week Norwich Union announced it will be outsourcing more IT jobs to India and the company's CIO Alex Robinson told silicon.com: "I expect IT in a big business like ours to be a global function. Geography is becoming increasingly irrelevant."

More than half (seven) of silicon.com's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel this week agreed that location is now often one of the less important considerations when sourcing resources.

Peter Pedersen, CTO at Blue Square, said: "Geography is increasingly becoming irrelevant and sourcing the right skills is no longer dependent on location."

Does the UK need to bring in IT workers from overseas to plug skills gaps?

Click here to see how the CIO Jury voted on the subject earlier this year.

Kirk Downey, CTO at Centrica, said that an organisation's ability to understand and manage a globally sourced team is critical to success.

He said: "It is imperative that companies understand what capabilities they are sourcing, and which skills lend themselves to this model. The global IT sourcing market is still in 'maturing' mode, and smart companies are evolving to a globally sourced model, not jumping in with both feet."

It is also vital to balance internal and third party resources, according to Graham Benson, IT director at Play.com's IT subsidiary the Web Factory.

Benson said: "If the communication and management processes are good, you can build an effective team that is physically located in different locations. However, in my opinion, you must still keep a core internal IT team to ensure ownership and management of the company's intellectual property is protected."

But others warned that technology has not completely removed the issue of location from sourcing skills.

Colin Cobain, group IT director at Tesco, said: "It is important to understand what skills you need in what locations and ensure you are developing them. You can't offshore all parts of the development and support cycle."

Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO at Manpower, added: "The concept of using off-shore resources is well established but the factors of language skills and time zone compatibility do need to be taken into account. This should be included in the planning but the business case of lower overall cost will still probably be compelling."

Today's CIO Jury was...

Graham Benson, IT director at the Web Factory (Play.com)
Paul Broome, IT director, 192.com
Colin Cobain, group IT director, Tesco
Kirk Downey, CTO, Centrica
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO at Manpower
Nick Masterson-Jones, IT director, Voca
Rory O'Boyle, head of IT, The Football Association
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Blue Square
Andy Pepper, director of business IS, Tetley
Sean Powley, head of IS strategy, London Borough of Barnet
David Supple, director of IT and creative services, Ecotec
Rob Wharton, CIO, Colt Telecom

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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