Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Need more women in IT management roles

When someone told me a few years ago that Microsoft SharePoint and CRM were disruptive technologies, I was a bit hesitant to believe it, but I can see it now.

Historically many computer jobs grew out of the engineering fields dominated by men such as computer science. According to some recent polls (http://www.ncwit.org/pdf/BytheNumbers09.pdf), women only occupy 24% of jobs in the IT sector. I believe that this statistic will be changing for the better.

The "disruptive" part of these technologies is that it is changing how IT departments (and consultants like me) will be supporting the clients. In order to make implementations work, it now requires people to have good business process and people skills as compared with the “days of yore” when programming skills were central to an implementation. If you think of an IT worker as just a programmer, then you need to re-think how you are managing your IT services.

Since I have been working with clients on implementing Microsoft CRM and SharePoint technologies, the majority of people I have worked with were women, and all of their implementations have been successful. In the end, my clients were able to extend the usefulness of the product without having to engage other IT resources.

The pre-registration statistics at the June 2009 SUGDC.ORG SharePoint conference indicates the workforce is changing with over 40% of the attendees to be women. I believe this is because these two products (and others like them) give the client the ability to customize the product to fit a particular business process without the help of typical IT staff, and thus giving women more opportunities to engage in the implementation process and join the ranks of IT professionals.