August 23, 2017  
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Staffing Ratios and Trends

Personnel costs typically represent the largest single budget line item in the IT organization. Therefore, effective IT management requires effective personnel management. Our research in this section includes IT staffing ratios and metrics that are useful in evaluating IT headcount levels, justifying increases in IT staff, improving recruiting and retention processes, and managing IT employee relations.

The following is a list of recent sample articles within this section. (Note also that extensive analysis of IT staffing metrics is also provided in our annual IT Spending and Staffing study).


IT Staffing Ratios: Benchmarking Metrics and Analysis for 16 Key IT Job Functions
This special publication bundles the entire collection of our reports on IT staffing ratios. The IT functions covered include IT management, project management, help desk, desktop support, business analysts, server support, network support, application maintenance, application developers, ERP support, database administration, data management, IT quality assurance, IT security, web/e-commerce and communication systems. This special collection is a valuable source of information for IT executives interested in benchmarking their staffing levels with those of similar organizations. (269 pp., 111 figs.) 
[Full Report Description and Free Sample]

IT Security Staffing Ratios
August, 2017IT security staffing has risen again this year in the wake of a continuing onslaught of high-profile ransomware attacks. For many IT organizations, this means it may be time to reassess the adequacy of their IT security staffing levels. In this report, we present data about the five-year trend in IT security staffing and provide four benchmarks: IT security staff members as a percentage of the IT staff, IT security specialists as a percentage of the Network and Communications Group, applications per IT security specialist, and network devices per IT security staff member. We also assess the influence of organization size and sector on staffing requirements. (22 pp., 10 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Management and Administration Staffing Ratios
When it comes to IT managers, it is important to find the sweet spot. Too many, and the IT group can become top-heavy and bureaucratic, while too few can leave IT staff members feeling unsupported and without direction. This study examines how many IT managers a well-run IT organization typically requires, along with staffing metrics for two related administrative functions: IT finance/vendor management and clerical support. To benchmark IT management, we use two metrics: IT managers as a percentage of the IT staff and users per IT manager. We provide metrics for small, midsize, and large organizations. To provide further perspective, we consider the five-year trend in IT managers as an average percentage of the IT staff. (20 pp., 10 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Application Developer Staffing Ratios
With the changing IT environment, the need for application developers is in flux, and IT organizations can benefit from periodic assessment of their staffing levels. This study uses three metrics to make that assessment: developers as a percentage of the IT staff, users per developer, and applications per developer. We provide benchmarks for the composite sample, by organization size, and by sector. We also provide a benchmark for the larger Application Group, which includes personnel engaged in application maintenance, web development and support, quality assurance and testing, data management, and business systems analysis. (21 pp., 9. fig)
[Research Bytes]

Application Maintenance Staffing Ratios
As an organization’s applications portfolio grows, the application maintenance role becomes a more critical function, and IT organizations can benefit from periodic assessment of their staffing levels. This study uses three metrics to make that assessment: application maintenance staff as a percentage of the IT staff, users per app maintenance staff member, and applications per app maintenance staff member. We provide benchmarks for the composite sample, by organization size, and by sector. We also provide a benchmark for the larger application group, which includes personnel engaged in application development, web/e-commerce support, quality assurance and testing, data management, and business systems analysis. (21 pp., 9 fig.)
[Research Bytes]

Communications System Support Staffing Ratios
Corporate communications systems—which include email, messaging, telephony, videoconferencing, unified communications, and other communications systems—are becoming more sophisticated and powerful. Yet communications system support headcount as a percentage of the IT staff has remained relatively steady and may even be shrinking. IT organizations, therefore, can benefit from a periodic assessment of their communications systems support staffing levels. This study uses three metrics to make that assessment: support staff as a percentage of the IT staff, percentage of support staff in relation to organization size, and support staff spending per user. We provide benchmarks for the composite sample, by organization size, and by sector. (18 pp., 7 fig.)
[Research Byte]

ERP Support Staffing Ratios
For many IT organizations, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are at the center of the application portfolio. In this study, we analyze ERP support requirements by means of a simple ratio: the number of ERP users per ERP support staff member. The higher the ratio, the more productive the support personnel appear to be, all other things being equal. We assess this ratio by size of installation, sector, maturity of installation, and upgrade frequency. We then compare ratios specifically for SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle J.D. Edwards, Microsoft, and Infor. Finally, we provide recommendations on optimizing staffing levels. (16 pp., 6 fig.)
[Research Byte]


Network Support Staffing Ratios
The importance of computer networks cannot be overstated in this digital age. Yet remarkably, the network support staff as a percentage of the total IT staff appears to be shrinking. This study will help IT managers determine whether their organization is keeping pace with improvements in network management by comparing their network support staffing ratios against industry benchmarks. We provide four benchmarks: network support staff as a percentage of the IT staff, network support staff as a percentage of the Network and Communications Group, network devices per network support staff member, and users per network support staff member. (20 pp., 9 fig.)
[Research Byte]


Help Desk Staffing Ratios
The help desk not only plays a key role in maintaining user productivity, it also serves as the day-to-day face of the IT department. This study provides staffing benchmarks for this important function. We look at the trend in help desk staffing over a five-year period and provide two benchmarks by organization size and sector: help desk staff as a percentage of the IT staff and users per help desk staff member. Because companies organize the end-user support function in different ways, we also provide benchmarks for a combined help desk and desktop support staff. (19 pp., 7 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Project Management Staffing Ratios
In this study, we examine the question of how many project managers a typical IT organization requires. We present six benchmarks: project managers as a percentage of the IT staff, project managers as a percentage of the Application Group, users per project manager, applications per project manager, application programmers per project manager, and capital budget per project manager. All of these ratios are presented by organization size. In addition, we look at the influence of sector on the key ratios. (25 pp., 11 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Server Support Staffing Ratios
State-of-the-art data centers with virtualized architectures are changing the equation on optimal server support staffing levels. How many server support staff members does an organization need? To answer that question, we provide four key benchmarks: server support staff as a percentage of the IT staff, users per server support staff member, physical servers per server support staff member, and OS instances per server support staff member. We provide these metrics for small, midsize, and large organizations. (18 pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Web/E-Commerce Staffing Ratios
The growth of mobile applications, analytics, and e-commerce demands are increasing the back-end requirements for the web/e-commerce support staff function. In this report, we provide benchmarks for staffing functions related to web and e-commerce development and operations. We benchmark web staffing with two ratios: web/e-commerce staff as a percentage of the IT staff and users per web/e-commerce staff member. Benchmarks are provided by organization size. (15 pp., 7 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Benchmarks for IT Training Budgets
Many factors influence the training requirements for IT organizations today, including the evolving composition of the IT staff. This study provides IT organizations with benchmarks for setting competitive IT training budgets for their organizations in the wake of these changes. We provide benchmarks for spending on training per IT staff member and as a percentage of the IT budget. We also assess variation in training budgets by organization size and sector, and we look at the change in training expenditures over time. (12 pp., 5 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Desktop Support Staffing Ratios
As a percentage of the IT staff, desktop support has dropped during the past two years. This study explores the reasons for the decline and provides benchmarks on typical desktop support staffing. We use two metrics for benchmarking: desktop support staff as a percentage of the IT staff and PCs per desktop support staff member. We also assess these ratios by organization size and sector. We conclude with strategies for improving the efficiency of the desktop support staff. (21 pp., 9 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Data Management Staffing Ratios
Data management is a vital function that crosses departmental borders, involving business intelligence, data warehousing, and data architecture, among other functions. This category of IT employees, as we define it, has declined slightly as a percentage of the IT staff for the second year in a row. As such, the data management headcount requires ongoing assessment. In this study, we use four benchmarks to assess data management staffing levels: data management staff as a percentage of the IT staff, data management staff as a percentage of the Application Group, users per data management staff member, and applications per data management staff member. (18 pp., 7 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Business Analyst Staffing Ratios
Business analysts as a percentage of the IT staff is up for the third year in a row, and we expect that trend to continue. The business analyst serves as a bridge between the IT organization and the users he or she serves. It is a multifaceted function that is important for ensuring that IT application systems meet business objectives. In this study, we assess staffing levels for the business analyst using four metrics: business analysts as a percentage of the IT staff, business analysts as a percentage of the application group, applications per business analyst, and users per business analyst. We also present ratios by organization size and sector. (19 pp., 9 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Quality Assurance Staffing Ratios
This study provides benchmarks for assessing staffing levels for quality assurance in an IT organization. In our overview, we present the trend in quality assurance staffing. We then provide three benchmarks by organization size and by sector: QA staff as a percentage of the IT staff, QA staff as a percentage of the Application Group, and applications per QA staff member. We conclude with recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the quality assurance function within the IT organization. (19pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Current Use of IT Contingency Workers
As a percentage of the IT staff, the use of contingency workers has fallen back to normal levels after a surge in their use during the recovery period. Nevertheless, the use of contractors among IT organizations remains an important and well-established strategy and one that many IT organizations employed aggressively during the recovery. This study helps IT decision-makers understand how organizations are balancing the use of contingency workers with full-time employees in the current environment. (13pp., 5 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Database Administration Staffing Ratios
In recent years, database administrators (DBAs) have made up a somewhat declining portion of the IT staff, despite the growing amounts of data that organizations are maintaining. This study helps IT managers determine whether they are keeping pace with industry standards by providing four benchmarks: DBAs as a percentage of the IT staff, DBAs as a percentage of the Data Center Group, users per DBA, and business applications per DBA. We present benchmarks for small, midsize, and large organizations. We also examine the influence of sector on these benchmarks as well as the multiyear trend in DBA staffing. (21pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Security Staffing Ratios
IT security staffing is rising in the wake of a continuing drumbeat of security breaches. For many IT organizations, this means reassessing the adequacy of their IT security budgets and staffing levels. In this study, we present data about the five-year trend in IT security staffing. In light of current trends, we help IT executives assess their security staffing needs by providing four benchmarks: IT security specialists as a percentage of the IT staff, IT security specialists as a percentage of the Network and Communications Group, applications per IT security specialist, and network devices per IT security specialist. We also assess the influence of organization size and sector on staffing requirements. (20 pp., 11 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Application Programmer Staffing Ratios
With the changing IT environment, IT organizations can benefit from a periodic assessment of their application programmer staffing levels. This study uses three metrics to benchmark this function: application programmers as a percentage of the IT staff, users per application programmer, and applications per application programmer. We provide benchmarks for the composite sample, by organization size, and by sector. We also provide a benchmark for the larger Application Group, which includes personnel engaged in developing and maintaining applications. (19 pp., 9 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Measuring Help-Desk Efficiency
As a labor-intensive function, the IT help desk (or service desk) is generally high on management’s list of areas targeted for productivity gains. But, as it is often said, if you cannot measure something you cannot improve it. To meet the needs of managers seeking to better handle this critical function, this study examines the most common metrics used for tracking help-desk efficiency, costs, and productivity. It also assesses the role of technology, service-level agreements, outsourcing, and IT service management best practices in improving the return on investment for the service desk. (14 pp., 6 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Pay for Performance: Popularity and Impact of Incentive Pay in the IT Workforce
The incentive pay debate is intense and has strong advocates on both sides. In this study, we analyze the current trend within the IT industry based on a Computer Economics survey conducted during the first half of 2008. We provide data on the percentage of employees receiving incentive pay by job level, the percentage of compensation comprising incentive pay, the percentage of incentive bonuses based on individual, group, and company performance, and the impact of incentive pay on employee turnover rates. Our study concludes with recommendations for implementing effective programs and mitigating some of the unintended consequences of paying for performance. (5 pp., 6 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Factors Influencing IT Employee Turnover Rates
Because it is generally less expensive to retain good employees than find new ones, lowering turnover rates is a good strategy for reducing IT personnel expenses. In this study, we examine current trends in turnover rates and provide benchmarks for turnover by organization size. We then examine 11 factors commonly believed to influence employee retention, specifically: education and training opportunities, flexible schedules, work environment, social environment, incentive pay/bonuses, base salaries, insurance benefits, employee recognition programs, paid time off, retirement programs, and telecommuting opportunities. We assess how IT executives rank the importance of these factors, and we measure the impact of each factor on actual turnover rates. We conclude with recommendations on how organizations can most cost-effectively reduce turnover. (7 pp., 9 figs.)
[Research Byte]

 


 

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