Introducing Capacity 2.0

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a growing and vibrant community of IT professionals to the health of the Canadian technology sector.

These are the people on the front lines who test, use and provide valuable insight and feedback on the products being developed for the market. They also make up the large and growing population of certified IT professionals who help technology partners build cutting-edge solutions for businesses.

To ensure continued success, the channel needs to ensure that two things continue to happen: first, a steady supply of these skilled workers must continue to enter the IT professional community, and second, the resources and opportunities to continuously skill and re-skill these individuals must be made available.

This is especially important in light of the ongoing IT talent shortage, which was underscored yet again in a recent survey of 1,000 IT professionals, C-level executives and students by the Strategic Counsel. Ninety per cent of all survey respondents agreed that Canada is experiencing an IT skills shortage. Amid this talent crunch, however, three-quarters of time and resource-strapped IT managers said they are seeking more opportunities to make a difference for their organization. But this is difficult without adequate staff support. Furthermore, as the shortage of skilled IT professionals coming into the workforce continues to grow, existing IT professionals find it increasingly difficult to budget time away from their jobs to learn new technologies and skills that would allow them to ultimately increase their effectiveness and efficiency.

Skills development is one of the building blocks of innovation and productivity, and a key to a successful career, which is why Microsoft Canada is committed to accelerating the development and growth of IT professionals. It’s this objective that lies at the heart of a new approach to the technology partner community, which we’ve coined “Capacity 2.0”.

Traditionally, software makers adopted a very simple strategy to increase capacity of the channel: recruit more partners. In nascent markets where a channel of expertise does not yet exist, this basic approach still works. But in established markets with increasingly mature collections of products and solutions being developed, transacted and implemented through an established and extensive partner community, the definition of capacity needs to be expanded.

Under Capacity 2.0, the approach to increasing capacity revolves around three primary levers: The mindshare of existing IT professionals, the productivity of existing IT professionals, and the entering of new, skilled IT professionals into the workforce, coined “people capacity.”

This may be a subtle shift in thinking, but it’s a very important one. The Capacity 2.0 approach will better acknowledge the value and importance of existing Microsoft Partners and their professionals, and more importantly, target investment, resources, training, and business development in the most effective way, depending on the identified capacity priority.

In my next column I’ll go into more detail about Capacity 2.0, and look at how partners can apply this kind of thinking in their own organizations.

Robert Buren is the channel capacity manager for Microsoft Canada.

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