Pendulum swings from shrinkage to growth

In recent years workloads for IT pros have continued to increase while their departments have been shrinking in size, but all of this is about to change, according to Australian Computer Society (ACS) president Edward Mandla.

A mandate from boards in Australian organizations to cut costs in the past few years has seen IT managers focus on operational efficiencies to keep the shop running, he said, but 2004 is the year departments will grow in size and there will be additional staff hires.

"The past few years IT managers have seen departments sharing duties, as well as offshoring and outsourcing in a bid to cut costs but this is set to change as organizations try to gain a competitive advantage through their IT shops," he said.

Gartner research chief John Roberts said although there has been plenty of pressure to demonstrate efficiencies, IT department cuts haven't been particularly savage.

"There has been some relocating of IT workloads through the use of outsourcing," he said.

Supporting Mandla's claims that 2004 is set to be a year of growth, Spotlight Stores IT manager Carl Gadini said IT departments are currently growing in size and his department needs to employ more staff.

Payless Shoes IT manager Kerry Smith agreed but admitted there had been some shrinkage in specific areas of IT in recent years.

"But I think that was simply a knee-jerk reaction to what was going on in the industry at the time," Smith said.

However, Suzanne Grae IT manager Brad Williams said the pressure is still on for most IT departments.

"More is being asked of IT departments than ever before, although I don’t think this is related to IT departments shrinking, I just think departments are being expected to carry out a lot more tasks with the same amount of people," Williams said.

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