Job Title: IT Outsourcing Service Delivery Manager
Type of Company: I work for a global consulting firm that handles project-based IT work for mid- and large-sized companies. We do everything from help desk to development and high level programming.
Education: BA, Political Science, University of Southern Maine
Previous Experience: I started as a desktop, jack-of-all-trades technician. I worked my way into becoming a programmer and then moved to the infrastructure/server side of technology and eventually into management.
Job Tasks: I am responsible for a large end-user computing project at one of our larger clients. Consultants involved in help desk, systems administration or deskside support report to me. There are approximately 38 consultants involved in this effort. I am also involved in the delivery of application development and support from our offshore component in Bangalore, India. I negotiate bill rates, hire/fire, mentor and perform career development activities for our consultants.
Most days I touch base with my client managers to check on their status. I create and edit financial and recruiting reports. I also spend a good amount of time with consultants, ensuring that they are happy and coaching them to perform at the top of their game. We're always looking to promote from within where possible and it is my responsibility to groom consultants whose careers show some promise.
My company's model has me only doing very light travel. 1-3 times per year I'll go somewhere domestically and maybe once every 18 months I'll go to India.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: One of my favorite parts of the job is working with a consultant who is struggling and helping him to "turn the corner" and improve. Not only is it the right thing to do for our employees, it's a good business decision, since letting someone go means costs us money. (Recruiting a replacement can be costly.)
There are a couple of parts of the job that are less desirable. The first is firing someone. Even when it is deserved, I never like to see anyone lose his job. The second is taking a beating from the client. It's pretty easy to beat up the vendor and you more or less have to take it.
Job Tips: Although many people think a career in technology doesn't require great soft skills, nothing could be further from the truth. You are supporting a business and that business is paying your salary and other technology costs (software and hardware, for example). You need to be able to articulate the value in such costs and show that it is an investment in the business. Never stop learning about your field. Now that we are in a global economy, you will want to be in a position to give advice and be a true consultant. Having a commoditized skill without the soft skills will put you in a position where you are competing not just with the guys down the street, but the guy in China, India and Eastern Europe. Be a trusted advisor!
Additional Thoughts: Depending on what area of technology you go into, you should consider sharpening you speaking and presentation skills. You will need to get approval from your peers and boss to handle projects a certain way. If you want to move into management or leadership, you should understand finance. Just because you are a good technologist, that doesn't mean you'll have the skills to manage a multi-million dollar budget, with its charge-backs and accruals. Lastly, be flexible. You are not always going to get your way. Support others when they have a good idea and don't be inflexible.
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