Sunday, March 23, 2008

Perfect Customer, Perfect Vendor - Hand in Glove

Do you know what gets us at Ishi Systems excited? The opportunity to work with our perfect customer. The perfect customer provides us with the ability to excel in what we do while adding the most value. Here are a few characteristics that we have observed in our perfect customers.

Transparency and Expectations
We are free to communicate not only our strengths but also our weaknesses to the customer. Our strengths are appreciated and leveraged while our weaknesses are understood and we are expected to perform extremely well within the constraints of our capabilities.

Open Communication
The perfect customer communicates all assumptions and constraints to us in a timely fashion. They provide us with critical information regarding budget constraints, organizational issues (predominantly in the case of outsourced projects), quality requirements etc. which helps us manage the engagement effectively handling any risks.

Educative and Knowledgeable
The perfect customer is very knowledgeable about the problem area and makes all efforts to communicate and educate the project team. We in turn share our knowledge with customers on technology improvements, new products, development & project management techniques, market information etc. This communication improves the quality of partnership helping us understand each other better.

Separation of Concerns
Customer maintains clear separation of concerns carefully avoiding micromanagement. However they are very aware regarding the project progress, anticipating and communicating risks as well as issues proactively. This promotes a sense of ownership within us driving us to constantly improve the quality of our deliverable.

Customer provides continuous and comprehensive feedback pertaining to service quality and issues. This contributes considerably towards the improvement of our delivery.

Vendor Management Interaction
Customer periodically connects with our management to communicate the future direction of the relationship. This increases management awareness which impacts the quality of our relationship while contributing to our strategic direction.

Please let us know what you think of our perspective at saju dot thomas at

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

5 things Hiring Managers should be aware of before buying IT staffing services

1. Is your provider the right choice for specific skills you are looking for?

It is very common for Hiring Managers to buy from providers whom they have a relationship with rather than investigating who the right provider for a specific skill set is. For e.g. a provider might be an expert in identifying statistical programmers while being weak in JEE Architects. A hiring manager who is constantly required to hire diverse skill sets should invest into identifying right sourcing partners for different skill sets.

2. Team or individual sourcing
If there are multiple consultant positions to be filled in a single project the Hiring Manager should focus on creating a team sourcing plan rather than having individual requisitions. This approach has 2 advantages:

  • Ability to negotiate better rates with this approach.
  • Team sourcing enables the staffing provider to take into consideration the team dynamics that is required for effective project delivery.

3. Are the rates right?
It is very important for Hiring Managers to have an understanding of the market rates for various skills. Rates can be a meaningful guideline for Hiring Managers in shortlisting the right consultant. Too low or too high rates should raise a flag as either the consultant will not have the right experience or will lack the technical and functional depth required to perform the job. Hiring Managers can utilize his/her relationships with providers to understand the prevailing market rates.

4. Are the Background and Reference Checks done?

5.Strong Vendor/Provider Relationships
Build strong relationships with select Staffing Provider representatives with a consultative/solution sales approach. Few and strong relationships can reduce the cost of doing business as they will be attuned to your quality requirements, cost constraints, soft skill requirements etc.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

IT Staffing Industry Ecosystem

Several staffing customers do not necessarily understand the IT staffing industry ecosystem as well as they know the off-shoring or outsourcing industry. This is very counter intuitive considering that the IT Staffing industry is approximately $19 Billion in size. However it is a very fragmented industry with very low barrier of entry and very unstable much like the restaurant industry. Single customer players survive for years and gets wiped out as the competitive environment shifts. Even large players are constantly fighting to sustain and grow their business under challenging industry environments as highlighted by the recent Chimes bankruptcy incident.

The staffing industry gets very little respect (from both customers and consultants) which can be attributed to the fact that they are not responsible for delivery unlike outsourcing or consulting vendors. They also do not necessarily invest in thought leadership highlighted by the fact that there is very little knowledge base online. However there exists a dynamic ecosystem which is built around the access to talent and speed and agility of response. Due to the fragmented industry, there has been a continuous drive towards consolidation as shown by several M&As of staffing providers. Breadth of services/talent and Cost has a substantial influence in the industry in the absence of any perceived value-add. Several successful players have identified a niche where they are really good at identifying talent and can hence demand a premium.

The Need

This industry exists to cater to the need of small, medium and large organizations for qualified consulting talent which need to be scaled up or down based on the projects that these organizations undertake. The consultants are usually contracted from the staffing company for a period of 6-10 months to complete projects and are released subsequently. This eliminates the overhead of hiring and letting go of employees and also addresses the legal implications.

The Ecosystem

Small, medium and large staffing providers are prime vendors for organizations which means that the requests for talent (aka requisition, orders) go to these selected few organizations to be filled or serviced. The prime vendor or vendor list has been put in place to deal with the proliferation of providers and normalization of IT procurement costs. These organizations first try to identify consultants who are already on their roll to satisfy the order. If the orders remains unfulfilled the recruiters scour their consultant networks to identify the right fit; if it still remains unfulfilled the recruiters open it up to partner providers (We call them SCPs or Sub Contracting Providers) who have a pool of talent that they can tap into. This end to end process occurs within 48 hours and the prime vendors submit the short-listed consultants to the customer for evaluation. Customer interviews the candidates and identifies the best fit (prices, quality) and on-boards them onto the project team. Understanding this ecosystem is critical to understanding the cost structure of identifying the consultant which in turn affects the quality and cost of customer service.

About Ishi Systems

We are first and foremost a technology company with deep understanding of the talent and processes required to deliver high quality IT projects. This is evidenced in the fact that a large component of our revenue is from outsourced IT projects. We have leveraged this understanding to deliver top quality consultants to our customers which has resulted in the duration of our customer engagements being double the average duration of typical consultant engagements. Our customer satisfaction is so high that our consultants have become trusted advisers to our customers. If you are a hiring manager and would like to understand how we can help you, please contact us at 2015213119 or email saju dot thomas at

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What do customers look for in a IT staffing, consulting or outsourcing provider?

We at Ishi Systems are constantly trying to understand our perfect customer; one who gets the maximum value from our services while we benefit from consistent business and ability to grow.

We believe that our customers will benefit from our keen understanding of technology, while being pleasantly surprised with our agility in responding to customer requests. We constantly try to identify the best consultants (enterprise architects, security architects, project managers, J2EE and .NET developers, sharepoint developers) to support ongoing IT projects.

We have instituted a consultant screening process that helps us identify the best fit for your needs as well as the analysis and technical skills to complete the assignment. Our recruiters have the advantage of a deep understanding of the technical and functional areas making them sensitive to the nuances of the customer requirements.

We deliver outsourced solutions from our Jersey City, NJ development center, the credit goes to our development team who use cutting edge technology solutions to develop, integrate and deliver solutions for our customers.

Our deep expertise in enterprise security, architecture and project management has helped us differentiate ourselves in a very crowded market.

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Ishi Systems Inc.

We are a leading IT Consulting and Staffing solutions company based out of Jersey City, NJ. We serve some of the largest organizations in the world with prudent and innovative IT solutions including consulting, staffing and outsourcing.

Our value proposition is rooted in the understanding of what our customers need to succeed be it delivering large, complex IT projects or solving business problems using it. We understand the talent and perspective required to solve IT problems enabling successful project delivery.

Our company has been involved in delivering large projects for Fortune 500 companies for the last 14 years which forms the basis of our outsourcing, consulting and staffing approach. We identify the analysts, project managers, architects who can do the job effectively and consistenly for our outsourcing and staffing customers.

Call us at 2015213119 to understand how we can work together.

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