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Guess What? IT Does Matter!

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This article in Business Week really caught my eye because it hits so close to home for many of us. A few years ago, Nicholas G. Carr, former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, wrote an article titled, IT Doesn’t Matter, that created a great stir in IT, the high technology industry, staffing and recruiting and among business pundits across the globe, particularly in the U.S. If you’re not familiar with Carr’s article, its basic premise was that the rapid proliferation of IT over the past few decades caused it to produce diminishing returns as a competitive advantage, and as a result, would soon become a commodity, much like a utility. Utilities are necessary for survival, but once they mature, they do not raise the standard of living across the developed world. Hence, Carr’s premise – IT would continue to be a useful necessity but no longer a business game changer. Well, apparently, IT does matter.

As stated in the Business Week article, which features a report by the American Electronics Association, employment in the U.S. IT industry is at its highest levels since 2001. In fact, it is at such a high level that companies are offshore outsourcing to fill labor shortages, rather than solely to lower cost. Unemployment among programmers, designers and IT Managers is less than 3.1% or more than 1.5 points lower than U.S. unemployment in the aggregate (which by the way is impacted by highly employed nurses and other health care workers).

Bullhorn’s latest online poll certainly bears this out. As of today, April 23rd, 46% of poll respondents said IT services was their hottest job market in Q1 versus 19% for healthcare. And the time-to-fill implications are now significant. It now takes 56 days to fill programmer and designer slots and up to 87 days for IT managers. When I read Carr’s article a few years ago, I couldn’t help but think and believe that it too heavily discounted the one thing that drives the U.S. economy – innovation.

Innovation is again driving IT. Web 2.0 technologies (like the ones you are experiencing by being on The Bullhorn Blogger and using Bullhorn) are driving the latest round of IT investment. If you’re in the IT market, then you know Web 2.0, Software-as-Service, Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and wireless technologies continue to be rapidly adopted. It’s one reason why corporate earnings continue to be strong and why the financial markets are doing very well right now in the midst of earnings season.

If IT does matter once again, then what is the implication for you? You know the answer to the question, but the solution to the problem is difficult – it’s all about sourcing candidates and decreasing time-to-fill. I won’t jump on the Bullhorn soap box and talk in any great detail about Dragnet, the Bullhorn CRM, Jobcast or any of our other solutions designed to solve this problem. But I’d ask you this, are you and your team using Bullhorn to its fullest? Do you wonder how you can? Our prescription for that right now is to come and experience Bullhorn Live 2007. The whole conference is built around maximizing your team’s productivity and helping you out of the sourcing conundrum. In fact, we are very fortunate to have Melissa Rosen, director of recruiting at Bartech, to come and present and demonstrate how her team is increasing its sourcing efficiency through Dragnet. There are also other solutions to the sourcing conundrum.

I’ll continue my blog series on how you can use marketing as a competitive advantage to increase the value of your firm, which includes sourcing candidates. Next up for discussion in the marketing blog is using the power of Search Engine Optimization so candidates and potential clients can more easily find you on the Internet.

In the meantime, I still haven’t heard from the Yankee fans that I referenced in my last blog post. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the Red Sox sweep of the Yankees this past weekend! Till the next time.