The Future of IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions: Expect the Unexpected

So what’s next? As we prepare for the TechServe Alliance annual conference in just a few weeks, that’s a question that’s been on my mind. Every year, our community comes together to exchange ideas and learn from one another. While a major part of the formal and informal discussions at conference inevitably focus on achieving excellence in execution through proven tactics, I feel it's incumbent upon us as the industry’s trade association to concurrently drive the conversation toward strategic transformation as well. In other words, what we really need to be thinking about is the future of our industry.

Take note: disruptive change is coming. Firms that rely on a non-differentiated business model will find themselves struggling to demonstrate value and will be squeezed by ever tighter margins.

What will the new world of IT & engineering staffing and solutions look like?

Hints of the future exist in the past. Twenty years ago, the rise of job boards kept industry executives awake at night. Fear of disintermediation pushed us collectively to up our game by deepening relationships and adopting technology to improve efficiency. As it turned out, rather than ‘taking us out’, job boards actually accelerated the growth of our industry.

Today, online staffing is the perceived menace, represented by firms like eLance/oDesk, TaskRabbit and guru.com. Are these transactional services just skimming the edges of the project-based talent market, or are they setting the stage for a bigger play?

Idle threat or game changer?

At first glance, the threat seems minimal. After all, can you imagine a Fortune 500 company deploying a major global upgrade of its enterprise software using individual, bid-based contractors? Not likely. But with a combined market presence of $750 million, these services have clearly tapped into a market that has a need for qualified individuals with specialized skills.

The easier it is to search for, engage with, and deploy talent, the faster some clients will migrate to a just-in-time, self-directed resourcing model. There’s a reason online staffing expects double-digit growth in 2014 and beyond. Outside of our industry, just look at the impact of Uber. In short order, it has turned the taxi industry upside down and placed it directly in the hands of the independent service provider and consumer. In other words, it's disintermediating the long-established dominate players.

So where does that leave our industry? I would argue there will always be a place for thoughtful, mindful interactions with clients and candidates. But the tools and technology facilitating that interaction will certainly change. You can be sure we’ll be talking about that at our annual conference November 3-5 in Boca Raton, FL.

If you’re thinking about the future and not just this month’s P&L, here are some sessions you won’t want to miss:

  1. Your Business 3.0: Capitalizing on the Forces that will Determine Success in 2015 and Beyond

    Patrick Meyer, CEO, President, CMO and C-Suite Advisor

    As one of our keynote speakers, Patrick will talk about how to capitalize on transformational forces, including technology, mobile, social and generational shifts, that will remake the industry and determine future success. Hear his vision of the future and what it will take to succeed with change and accelerating disruption of seemingly entrenched business models as the only constant.
  2. Evolution & Innovation in the IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions Industry

    Moderator: John C. Larson, CEO, CPSI Consulting

    Find out what progressive firms are doing today to stand out as thought leaders and enhance their value to clients. Learn how these innovators are reshaping their businesses to remain relevant and position themselves for success in an evolving marketplace.
  3. IMPACT! Talk: Gene Holtzman, CEO & President, Mitchell Martin

    Modeled after the TED Conference talks, Gene will offer his perspective in a concise talk on the future impact of technology on the industry. As a thought leader on the subject, Gene has launched an incubator to support a few among the literally hundreds of new companies that are seeking to revolutionize the human capital space.

  4. Now, I’d love to hear from you.

    As with everything TechServe does, your input is critical. I’d love to hear your ideas for my new blog. What’s on your mind? What’s keeping you up at night? What’s your big idea that’s going to drive the future of IT & engineering staffing and solutions? How should we be helping you prepare for the future? Share your thoughts on our LinkedIn page or tweet about it!

    I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what comes next.