Project management is a great reseller opportunity

Ask a Canadian CIO what is the most pressing skill need within the IT organization and the answer for most is project management talent.

IT project failures are often rampant and things don’t appear to be improving anytime soon. That’s not news. Research seen for many years shows project deliveries are typically late, cost over-runs seem the norm, and all too often IT projects don’t deliver the full value of what was expected.

Depending on the statistics you read, failures occur at rates anywhere from 50 per cent to 80 per cent or more. Case in point: In 2006, KPMG International’s survey of 600 organizations across 22 countries revealed that 86 per cent of respondents reported the loss of up to a quarter of their targeted benefits across their project portfolios. These are projects that didn’t deliver what was expected.

Similarly half of respondents in the same survey said they reported at least one project failure in the previous year.

Not surprisingly, CIOs in a recent survey by IT World Canada identified project management as the one skill over all others they’d like to hire in 2008. Approximately 65 per cent of the 235 senior IT executives we surveyed in December/January said project management is the skill most in demand for the next 12 months. No doubt that’s being spurred by these aforementioned poor success rates. The ability to successfully manage an IT project has a direct bearing on the chances for success.

So not surprisingly, many Canadian companies would like to hire such talent, but it’s not easy to find. And that’s where resellers, particularly those with a “solutions-oriented” bent, can be invaluable and cash in on an opportunity. Resellers should spend the time and effort it takes to improve their project management skills and capabilities, then sell it as a service. There’s definitely a customer need.

Spend less time on the various product and services certifications that any number of product vendors might be encouraging and give more attention to helping a customer achieve greater success and recognition of value in their IT projects.

It’s a strong value proposition. Resellers looking for an obvious opportunity and the chance to build deeper client relationships should seek to offer customers some assistance in scoping, implementing and managing an IT project to timely delivery. Customers are struggling and can use the help.

Resellers have for many, many years been encouraged to step up and provide services alongside the products they sell. Many have focused on support (break/fix) and implementation, but the big margin dollars have always been in front-end consulting and in activities such as project management.

Get the skill required and serve your customers by helping them achieve measured success in IT project implementation and completion. It will pay off in highly valued – and profitable – service and as a lever to much greater customer loyalty and satisfaction.

They’ll thank you for it.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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