IT Workforce Augmentation Delivers Value to Public Projects

Public works projects are often scrutinized, and sometimes criticized, for inefficiencies in delivery and spending. At a time when transparency and attention to value for each dollar spent are paramount, public agencies at the local, regional, state, and federal levels are well advised to engage with suppliers that not only possess the experience and skills to augment internal workforces, but also understand the local requirements, challenges, and idiosyncrasies that can occur in any given locale.

These technology projects surround us every day. From the installation of message boards and public information displays in train stations to deploying video distribution and surveillance infrastructure and installing lifeline services such as wireless internet access throughout residential buildings, each project requires available—and sometimes specialized expertise—that is simply not feasible to maintain within a single agency.

With the frenetic pace of innovation—and unfortunately rapid obsolescence—that is fundamental in most IT-related endeavors, the understanding of the local lay of the land is even more important. By leveraging the agility of service-driven outsourced providers, project timelines can be maintained. In addition, tapping already existing fleets of service vehicles, warehouse and logistics centers, and technology experts can reduce project costs, as well as overall agency operating costs.

According to James Brehm, principal analyst at James Brehm & Associates, there’s a growing need to outsource the highly technical and complex components of Industrial IoT projects.

“Engaging with the right partners to provide expertise to complement in-house capabilities when and where needed, helps to overcome internal certification and knowledge gaps and provide the scalability and agility needed to address short-term demands without incurring long-term costs,” said Brehm.

It is seldom possible for public agencies to directly employ appropriate staffing to address the ebbs and flows of customer service demands, unexpected outages, or the inevitable technology refreshes or relocations that are likely to occur. The cost to hire, train, and maintain experienced and certified staff for the busy times is not tenable, nor is it responsible stewardship of public funds.

The flexibility and scalability that comes through partnering with trusted local providers can reduce or eliminate costs associated with hiring, training, and managing additional staff for certain projects. The soft costs associated with maintaining expert workforces in these disciplines, including network installation, technical support, project management, and IT hardware deployment services, can be borne in a pay-as-you-go model where necessary personnel are available at any time to meet spot demands. Tapping into the experience and knowledge in specific disciplines can streamline overall project performance while ensuring compliance with best practices and standards.

Many outsourcing providers bring much more to the table than just labor. While employee management is always important, project management and ongoing field support services can be just as appealing to public agencies. Since it is core to the business of these providers to deliver on time and on budget, credible outsourcing partners should provide stringent SLAs and have robust risk management strategies in place to provide public entities with a high degree of confidence that projects will be managed appropriately. Providers that focus on customer satisfaction and effective resource management are best positioned to satisfy the needs of public agencies and the communities they serve.

It’s simply smart business for any agency to build upon their internal strengths and partner with expert suppliers to augment human, knowledge, and asset resources to meet continually changing project demands and requirements.