After 25 years in the IT game, if there's one thing Tony McAlister is truly passionate about it's a commitment to recruiting IT staff with a strong business background. "IT people working within a company need to have enough business savvy and experience to be deemed as internal consultants," McAlister says.
"They need to have a view across different sections of the business, and be able to contribute with suggestions for continuous improvements."
While recruiting staff with the right combination of industry and IT knowledge is often a challenge that results in starting dates on projects being repeatedly delayed, McAlister believes project managers often miss the most obvious source of IT staff - the company itself.
"I'm inclined to look to business practitioners with an IT bent, and train them up in a specific technology rather than attempt to recruit IT people with a business bent," McAlister says.
"People who have come directly out of the business areas are better able to keep in a constant dialogue with the business units, and are better at aligning what they are doing with real business outcomes."
McAlister says companies often make the mistake of looking externally for skills when the people best suited to the role are working right under their noses. In fact, at a time when recruiting IT staff is a particular challenge, he says projects are a marvellous opportunity to create internal skills and expand career opportunities.
"It's a tough time to employ just about anybody, so it's important to look for ways to maintain key process people within the business wherever possible."
© Fairfax Business Media
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