In InfoWorld’s recent Compensation Survey for IT, we crunched the numbers and ended up with a clear picture of the major trends. Overall, the respondents said they were satisfied with their salaries, bonuses, stock options, and training. But were they happy?
In a special tribute to Labor Day, InfoWorld followed up with some of those same people, as well as many others, and asked them to be even more specific in describing their work lives. Our questions followed up on several of the trends suggested by our survey: Are you working harder? Are you under more pressure? What about your sense of job security?
The answers to these questions were mixed. For the most part, our interviewees described their work environment as more pressure-filled than ever. But they also appear to be getting the kind of support, in both money and resources, to maintain a decent level of job satisfaction. Are IT people gluttons for punishment? Or do they simply know how to leverage their smarts to survive?
Wised-up work habits
Rohm & Haas provides a typical example of how new, innovative work strategies can help. A global chemical company with 18,000 employees and a full-time IT staff of 600 and another 300 contract IT workers, Rohm & Haas takes the cliché “work smarter not harder” to heart by using a combination of standardization, outsourcing, and software-as–a-service to maintain a work routine that averages 40 to 45 hours per week for its IT staff.
"Our goal is to make sure technology is used to make us more business-flexible," says Scott Megill, enterprise architect and program manager at Rohm & Haas.
"The budgets don’t increase so we have to do more with the money we have. But we are not pushing the people," Megill says. Instead, the company is pushing to become more operationally efficient.
One way Rohm & Haas is doing that is by outsourcing work that lacks strategic value. The question Megill often asks is: "Could someone else do this job more easily and at a lower cost than we could?" For example, says, Megill, several years back they decided to offload e-mail to an outsourcer. "We are a chemical company. Why should we maintain staff that knows how to fight spam?"
Another way R & H keeps operational costs down is by standardizing: Lenovo for all desktops and broad deployment of SAP R/3 on the enterprise software side.
"We now have a single global instance of SAP and that is the backbone of our IT infrastructure," Megill says. Using SAP as the primary tool to support the business and a successful migration from mainframes to 100 percent WinTel servers on the back end has helped Rohm & Haas IT staffers maintain a relatively normal workweek.
Economies of scale
Standardization is also how Text 100, a global public relations firm, is keeping operational costs and IT staff hours under control.
Text 100 uses similar desktops and servers throughout the organization, which maintains 30 offices worldwide, according to Brad Bartman, global IT support manager.