Addressing Skill Gaps in a Changing Workforce
We have seen the skills shortage intensify over the last few years in the IBM i environment. Senior IBM i system administrators with years of experience were starting to reach retirement age and move onto the next stage of their life. This has only accelerated with the pandemic. Many CIOs and IT directors are now realizing that it’s difficult to replace 30 years of knowledge or quickly cultivate that skill set. Sure, there are plenty of younger workers entering the workforce, but they lack extensive experience—many only know one job and one environment. These younger professionals have the desire and drive, but are lacking the experience, knowledge and know-how.
A managed services offering is really just an experienced IBM i system administrator being “time-shared” amongst a few customers. These are experienced and knowledgeable administrators with real-life experience who can help you with your skills shortage. In fact, one customer’s CIO told us that he was surprised at the level of experience that we had working on his account; he expected a more junior system administrator. Plus, at iTech Solutions, it’s not just one person, it’s a team of individuals. Let’s look at a few items that companies are currently wrestling with. Security and backup/recovery are always top concerns. I would agree that security is getting scarier and scarier; it’s not a matter of if someone will break into your environment, but when. Of course, there are many things that you can do to prevent breaches or being attacked by ransomware, but do you really want to trust this to your newest employee? Most IBM i shops keep the “crown jewels” of their organization within LPARs, and those need to be protected from unwanted visitors.
Remember what I said about experience, knowledge, and know-how? If someone did break in, you need a backup solution that ensures your organization can recover. Sure, a junior person can execute this, but experience will know what is needed for a recovery. Remember, your recovery is only as good as your backup. While these two areas show the need for experienced IBM i Administrators, let’s not forget OS Upgrades, PTFs, Replication, Single Sign-on, Flash-Copy, adding new printers, Firmware for tape drives, SANS, FSP, and HMCs. The list goes on, make sure you have the skills you need supporting you.
Pete Massiello is the president of iTech Solutions Group, an IBM Gold Business Partner delivering solutions and services to IBM i shops throughout the world.
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About iTech Solutions
iTech Solutions has been an IBM Business Partner for 20-plus years, offering customized and flexible business solutions for your IBM i. Learn more about our solutions →