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Posts Tagged ‘staffing’

Robert HalfIn a presentation entitled “Staffing Strategies for the 21stCentury” by Katherine Spencer Lee, Executive Director at Robert Half Technology (September 18, 2008), the following IT staffing metrics were presented:

A Robert Half Technology* survey asked 1,400 CIOs to compare …
Actual versus ideal ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at their company

  • Mean response for Actual was 136:1
  • Mean response for Ideal was 82:1

Technical Support Center staffs are 40 percent smaller, on average, than optimal.

Mobile vs Static staffing ratios:

  • There is a baseline ratio around 90 customers per analyst.
  • Technical and mobile user bases earn a lower ratio due to higher complexity (1:80-110)
  • Fewer analysts required for non-technical and static users (1:120-160)

Organizational goals should help set staffing levels:

  1. Compete at the cutting edge of innovation (25:1 to 50:1)
  2. Compete on full service and overall value (60:1 t0 100:1)
  3. Compete on thin cost margin and scalability (125:1 to 200:1)

A complete copy of the Robert Half presentation can be found here.

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GroupSeven spending benchmarks are used to help university campuses evaluate IT services. By benchmarking against institutions with similar missions, IT leaders can gain insights into how to best optimize these investments.

Benchmark #1 – Budget Profile [shows how IT dollars are allocated across institutional budget classifications]
Benchmark #2 – Budget Support Level [IT dollars are normalized for institutional size]
Benchmark #3 – Budget Impact [ratio of IT budget to total institution budget]
Benchmark #4 – People Supported per IT Staff
Benchmark #5 – Computers Supported per IT Staff
Benchmark #6 – Staffing Profile Per Service Area
Benchmark #7 – Computer Availability

This article shows actual benchmark results in these areas. Compiled by David Smallen and Karen Leach at Hamilton College. Published in Educause Quarterly in November 2002. The article can be found:

http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0234.pdf

This report was followed up by a 32 page paper entitled “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BENCHMARKS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS” (written by Smallen and Leach) which was published by the Council of Independent Colleges in June 2004. This report contains more data and a more complete explanation of the benchmarks. The paper can be found:

http://www.cic.edu/publications/books_reports/IT_paper.pdf

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A “Information Technology Operation Benchmarks Report” created by Nick Ganesan, CIO/Associate Vice-Chancellor for ITTS aQuality Benchmarkt Fayetteville State University.  The report contains detailed benchmark data for:

  1. IT Budget Profile
  2. IT Budget per IT User
  3. IT Budget as a Percentage of Institutional Budget
  4. IT Users to IT Staff ratio
  5. IT Staff to Number of PCs – Ratio
  6. Staffing Profile by service area
  7. PCs to IT User Ratio
  8. Central IT Support Percentage
  9. Staff ratio by service areas

The benchmark data is against IT services at universities located in the United States.

Location of Report: http://www.kfupm.edu.sa/sict/ictc/related%20documents/IT%20Benchmark/Fayetteville%20State%20University%20IT_Benchmarks_ver1.pdf

Local Copy: IT Benchmark for Universities – Fayetteville State University Report

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TechRepublic has provided a spreadsheet model to help you determine the right number of people in your IT shop.  In their approach, they focus on one category of staff at a time.  In each category, a few key questions are used to focus the analysis:

1. Programmers

  • Is there a separation between application development and support?
  • Do programmers work on multiple business applications?
  • Are external clients supported, and if so, is there customized code for individual clients?
  • Are major investments needed in software development of critical business applications?
  • How big is the programming backlog, and what type of changes are being requested?
  • Can the key business processes be accomplished better and more economically with a third-party solution?
  • If you have external clients, can programmers be dedicated to and billed to specific clients?

2. Business application analysts and trainers

  • Are new applications planned?
  • Does the company support the installation of software for external clients?
  • How knowledgeable are the departments and clients in the use of their business applications?

3. Help Desk specialists

  • Are infrastructure calls separated from business application calls, or is the Help Desk support functions for both combined?
  • How responsive do you need to be?
  • Does the Help Desk have sound escalation procedures?
  • What’s the level of client satisfaction for IT support?
  • Is the response rate to solve user issues sufficient?
  • Do you have a tracking system to monitor support calls, trends, and responsiveness?
  • How many calls is the Help Desk handling now?
  • What is the percentage of local users (as opposed to remote)?
  • Does the company require 24/7 staffing of the Help Desk?

4. Network administrators

  • Are major changes or enhancements planned/needed for the infrastructure?
  • Is an experienced architect of the network in place?
  • What has been the history of implementing infrastructure changes?
  • Is there an infrastructure strategic plan?
  • Is a change management process in place?

5. Desktop support specialists

  • What are the company growth plans?
  • Are major changes planned/needed in the desktop hardware/software?
  • What is the percentage of remote users (other office buildings, cities, etc.)?
  • Is the response rate to solve desktop issues sufficient?

6. Data Center operations staff

  • Does the Data Center require 24/7 operation?
  • What are the requirements for the Data Center?
  • Is a “lights out” operation possible?
  • Is the Data Center secure?

Using this model IT staff needs are based upon a number of factors, including the workload, anticipated needs, current capability of the staff, and maturity of the company. As much as possible, we try to quantify all the variables in each set of issues. Ultimately, it’s a judgment call based on the variable data, the level of support that you need to provide, and your experience in managing IT. If you can quantify the variables that affect levels of support, you’ll be much better equipped to determine your true needs.

A full description of this approach can be found at: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1061079.html?tag=e106

A copy of the IT Staffing Model in an Excel spreadsheet can be found here:  http://downloads.techrepublic.com.com/5138-6321-730024.html

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On November 17, 2009 Forrester Research reported the preliminary results of a CIO benchmark survey.   These results indicate:

  1. Within a given IT group, the number of people in ‘applications’ is higher than the number of people in IT infrastructure.  40% of IT people are in applications and 30% are in infrastructure.
  2. The number of people working on enterprise projects varies a lot, but in nearly all cases is a significant part of the IT organization at an average of 10% in medium sized shops (50 to 300 people in IT) and 5% in large shops (> 300 people within IT).

Source: http://advice.cio.com/forrester_research/are_it_benchmarks_useful

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Coastal TechnologiesCoastal Technologies, developer of HELP!Desk software, has published guidelines for determining the number of technicians needed to staff a support center.

Establishing the proper support staff to customer ratio is essential for any organization. Each of the factors in the table below has an effect on the staff size. Assume a starting ratio 75 to 100 customers per analyst (75:1 to 100:1), then adjust the ratio for the following conditions:

Consideration Support Staff Levels
Experienced support staff Decrease
Customer handling expertise Decrease
Large number of products to support Increase
Multiple shifts and weekends Increase
Support staff possesses knowledge of the organization’s business Decrease
Internal support only Decrease
External support only Increase
Both internal and external support Increase
Service Level Agreements negotiated Decrease
Budget concerns Decrease*
Multiple platforms to support (i.e. Web, PC, Mainframe, Mac) Increase
Automated tools in place Decrease
Experienced support center management Decrease
Support center has good reputation in company Decrease
Center has bad reputation Increase
Multiple support center locations Increase
Quality Assurance or Quality Control responsibility Increase
Proactive support philosophy Increase**
Support center has additional responsibilities not listed above Increase

* = A staffing decrease may be required to meet your budget, but too small a staff can create bigger problems later on – dissatisfied customers, excessive stress, technician burnout and high turnover to name a few.

**= Initially, proactive support requires more staff per customer. The trend is reversed down the line as you should see a decrease in customer problems.

Source: http://coastaltech.com/hd-staff.htm

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Cem Kaner, a professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, has done research on the ratio of software testers to software developers. His presentation entitled “Managing the Proportion of Testers to Other Developers” is partially based on a meeting of the Software Test Managers Roundtable (STMR 3) in Fall 2001.

FIT

FIT

The study found that:
– There were very small ratios (1-to-7 and less) and very
large ratios (5-to-1).
– Some of each worked and some of each failed.
– Many remembered successful projects with ratios lower than 1-to-1 more favorably than successful projects with larger ratios.

Read the paper to find out why is there such a range of successful ratios, and why test managers be happy with relatively low ratios?

See: http://www.kaner.com/pdfs/pnsqc_ratios.pdf and http://www.kaner.com/

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