Why a Resident?
It's a common theme within IT organizations today: Figure out how to do more with less. IT budgets in general tend to be flat or even shrinking—especially for the purchase of technology—but yet IT departments are tasked with providing the same (or better) levels of service to their customers, internal or external. It can be a thankless position to be in. It also means that even when IT departments are tasked with rolling out new technologies, environments, or even upgrades to existing environments, they still need to be able to provide the same level of support and service. This inevitably leads to resource constraints and makes it quite easy to feel that they cannot get ahead of things and be proactive on what's strategic and important.
On top of that, when IT services levels are being provided, the bar is set high (It must always be up, anything less and it's broken) and when any sort of challenge or deviation from the defined level of service happens, it's just not OK. Which of course leaves little room for error, but this is the IT world we live in today. So how do you maintain service levels, perform upgrades, evaluate new technologies and solutions, while being stretched for resources and budget?
One of the solutions that our customers have asked of Vicom to help in this regard over the past few years is the concept of Residency Services or Residents. At its core, a Resident is a high end Subject Matter Expert (SME) that focuses upon a particular technology or environment for generally a minimum of 6 months but usually at least a year. What makes Residents so appealing to customers is that when they have resource constraints or are adopting new technologies or environments, a Resident can help fill that need, without the need of having to hire and train new people or train (or retrain) existing people.
Vicom (as the provider of the Resident) is responsible for their operational and functional success. Which means that objectives for the Resident are clearly defined by us and we are responsible for their initial and ongoing training. And this training is key: this means training on both the customer environment (so the Resident learns on our dime, not the customers) and ongoing on the technologies and solutions they are responsible for administering. This is big key distinction versus just general staff augmentation. We are responsible for making sure that the Resident is successful, where in staff augmentation (hourly based services), we provide a resource and the customer is responsible for guiding, leading, and training them.
Residents are also not just for very large customers, where the perception might be that only the biggest customers can afford them. We also offer up what we call Fractional Residents where a company of any size can have access to these very high end SME's, not fulltime, but from 1 day a week, 2 days a week, 3 days a week, or even 1-2 days a month over a year timeframe. This gives the our customers' the ability to have access to these very high-end SME's on a consistent basis at a fraction of the cost of hiring a resource (salary, benefits, etc.) or even bringing them in as a full time Resident. Our customers have found value in using our Residents in this fashion in providing for the skills-sets and resources that they need now that they know will be there in a consistent, predictable, cost effective way.
So if you are looking for high-end IT SEM's but cannot or do not want to hire full time personnel, consider how a Resident might be of value, especially in this age of shrinking or flat IT budgets. Either way, we all still need to get things done and service our users and customers. Residents can help by bringing some predictability and consistency to this unpredictable and inconsistent world of IT we all live in.