In most cases, it’s easy to see if your team is busy. After all, furious typing, frequent meetings, and piles of reports stacked on desks can show that your staff has a lot on their plate.
But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. In fact, some of your highly tasked workers might not actually be accomplishing much during your day.
How can you tell how productive your employees are actually? By asking them this one simple question.
What Results Did You Achieve Today?
Ultimately, results are more important in business than just being busy. But, if you ask your team what they actually achieved over the course of their day, even if they’ve been working furiously, you may find that they don’t have much to show for their efforts.
Now, this doesn’t mean it’s your staff’s fault, though, at times, it certainly can be. Luckily, there are things you can do to increase their level of productivity. Here’s how to get started.
Align Their Duties with Their Talents
In some cases, an employee is busy because they are working on a task that doesn’t fit with their primary skill set. This can increase the amount of effort and research required to get the job done when compared to that of a worker who is adept in that area.
If you want to increase productivity, make sure to align a person’s role with their primary skills. That way everyone can work more efficiently by staying largely within their wheelhouse.
Use Metrics for Accountability
Often, a particular position is associated with specific goals, and progress towards these goals is typically measurable. Ideally, you want to identify any Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) associated with each position, and then monitor the employee’s productivity based on those metrics.
By doing so regularly, you can ensure that accountability is a foundation upon which your business is built. You’ll be able to identify which workers are meeting expectations and which aren’t, giving you a chance to intervene when necessary.
Simply dumping a task or project on an employee isn’t delegation. Instead, you need to set your staff up for success by ensuring they have the proper tools and information to perform. Additionally, you need to set clear expectations, including defining milestones, to help keep them on target.
Essentially, don’t just define what they need to do, but also how, why, and when. This creates a roadmap that not only outlines your expectations but also gives them a plan of attack, making it easier for them to meet or exceed your expectations.
By following the tips above, you can determine exactly how productive your employees are while also increasing the odds that they can achieve the results you need to succeed.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a skilled professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of your knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can benefit you.
It wasn’t long ago that IT functioned in a supporting within nearly every business, learning about the business rules and processes and identifying corresponding solutions. Now, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, having the capacity to define the business and serve as a source for positive organizational change.
As things have shifted, IT is tasked with being a leader in innovation and has certainly become a more visible component within the company thanks to its ability to be the root of future successes. This makes matching your tech to the business incredibly critical.
If the idea of making your technology match the company is new to you, here’s how you get started.
Concentrate on Creating a Competitive Advantage
With the number of IT solutions available on the market today, it’s easy to become sidetracked by offerings that don’t align with your larger strategic goals. Instead of allowing yourself to be automatically caught up in the latest developments, focus only on those that will enable you to create a distinct competitive advantage, preferably one that is sustainable.
Ultimately, every business has mission-critical tasks that help with market differentiation, and supporting these activities through updated tech can allow your company to stay ahead in the overall marketplace. Identify the areas where the organization truly stands out from the crowd and seek out tech that can make it easier to maintain that advantage.
At times, you’ll need to dig deep into how the business operates to figure out which areas truly deserve special attention. You may need to ask certain questions, often repeatedly, that allows you to drill down to the core areas where a competitive advantage exists as many people want to believe that their company outshines the competition in every possible area. However, every organization will have a core focus that separates them from similar offerings in the marketplace, and those are the areas that truly deserve additional innovation as a means of staying ahead.
Befriend Best Practices
Once you’ve identified the company’s competitive advantage, it’s time to build best practices that keep everyone aligned with this goal. Generally, this means standardizing specific activities and simplifying your core objectives so that everyone can operate on the same page.
In the end, every project IT takes on should be for the betterment of the primary competitive advantage. Those that don’t align with that concept should usually be set by the wayside, at least temporarily, so that the larger goal of remaining ahead can be the focus.
By ensuring your tech matches your business, you can increase your odds of maintaining your advantage without wasting time, energy, or other resources on tasks that genuinely aren’t as critical to your success.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a tech professional who can help you reach your goals, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to learn more about how our services can benefit you today.
When companies look to hire new employees, they often focus on the candidate’s experience and available skills. However, this information isn’t always indicative of the job seeker’s potential to succeed, and failing to account for this point can lead to a bad hire.
While a candidate’s potential can’t necessarily be the only consideration when selecting a new hire, it should play a role in your decision-making process. If you are wondering how much their potential should factor into your hiring, here’s what you need to know.
A job seeker’s potential is a reflection of their ability to grow and adapt to a particular role or environment. Those who are more capable in these areas may have an easier time achieving success, even if they don’t possess the same level of skill as other applicants.
It is important to understand that the candidate’s past accomplishments or the length of their resume may not accurately portray their potential. This means you will need to delve deeper if you want to find out details that can help you assess them in this manner.
In some cases, a job seeker who appears to be highly experienced may have a lot of years in the profession but has actually been relatively stagnant in their career. For example, a 20-year veteran of the field who has held the same position for nearly a decade may not have experienced much growth, depending on whether their duties evolved over time.
In contrast, a person with five years of experience who has been steadily moving forward is actively progressing in their career, which can be an indication of their level of drive and interest in furthering their skills.
Similarly, whether a job seeker is still actively learning about their field or has resigned themselves to coasting through their career is valid. Someone who is constantly pursuing knowledge may be more valuable, even if they have less starting experience than someone who has stopped actively learning about their area of expertise.
The Value of Accomplishments
Many hiring managers would assume that a candidate without a major accomplishment isn’t what they need. However, a person who has a steady, solid performer over the course of their career may be more valuable than a job seeker who had a single great accomplishment that amounts to no more than a flash in the pan.
Additionally, a candidate’s level of participation in an achievement is also valid, particularly when the accomplishment is related to the work of a team. Often, not everyone contributes equally, so you need to determine whether the individual’s contributions are as significant as they seem.
Ultimately, the presence or lack of a significant accomplishment needs to be closely examined if you want to figure out its true value, particularly when you measure potential.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a talented professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists as The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
More companies than ever before are embracing their data, leveraging it to make smarter business decisions and help them learn about the customer base. Data analytics plays a large role in maximizing the value of data, and 2018 is poised for some major advancements.
However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, particularly if you are just venturing into this exciting arena. To help you prepare, here is a look at what IT leaders can expect from data analytics this year.
Cloud Computing is Essential
Based on the sheer volume of data most organizations have managed to gather, on-premises solutions may not be sufficient for supporting data analytics goals. This makes cloud-based solutions critical, as they allow for greater flexibility and scalability, while also promoting collaboration.
Cloud computing infrastructure is often far more capable when it comes to managing increasing quantities of data, and the ability to select new tools and models to implement is easier on the cloud, particularly from an operational perspective. Plus, the increased level of agility makes exploring emerging solutions simpler, as many internal infrastructure limitations aren’t a factor.
Growth is Possible
Data analytics has the ability to support business growth in a variety of ways. Not only can it help companies increase their profits through a deeper understanding of customer preferences and behavior, but it can also assist with streamlining internal processes, modeling the results from potential solutions, and improving engagement. The technology is particularly effective at identifying bottlenecks in production, allowing companies to focus on key areas that will result in the most significant level of improvement.
Cumulatively, this allows organizations to develop innovative solutions based on concrete data, increasing the likelihood that any changes will be effective.
While data analytics solutions can be quite robust, that doesn’t guarantee a seamless deployment. Some companies aren’t realistic about their expectations, often due to a limited understanding of the technology, and securing top talent to manage the workload can be difficult.
Often, successful data analytics deployments involve a number of different skill sets, including those traditionally held by business analysts, data analysts, modelers, and engineers. In some cases, AI and machine learning specialists may also be required, depending on if you intend to leverage those technologies in conjunction with data analytics. When viewed together, this can seem like a tall order, especially if you don’t already have some talented individuals on your team.
However, IT leaders can mitigate these concerns by ensuring that all stakeholders are fully aware of both the benefits and limitations of data analytics. Additionally, by securing the right employees, you can make sure that your team has the necessary skill set to maximize the value of data analytics at your business.
If you are looking for a data analytics professional, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.
Maintaining your IT architecture is often considered a critical component of sustaining operations, but many businesses separate the task into specific elements, like infrastructure and application, instead of treating them as parts of a larger whole. With the complexity associated with many corporate or enterprise level architectures, selecting a person to overseas them in their entirety can be incredibly beneficial, as it brings all of the pieces together under a single umbrella.
Hiring a technical operations architect is a serious matter, as the breadth of their duties requires a broad skill set. To make sure you can find a star in the crowd, here are some tips to get you started.
A technical operations architect needs to understand a wide range of IT products, services, and designs in a fairly in-depth manner. Without the proper level of expertise in all related forms of architecture, the person will struggle when it comes to maintaining the whole, even if they excel in specific segments.
Precisely which areas they will need experience in may vary from one company to the next, based on the current architecture in place and future development goals. However, they may not need to be true experts in every area, as they are often leading a skilled team of specialists with the necessary knowledge, but they must be competent enough to understand any discussions that occur and to properly select products and services that will best meet the company’s needs.
A star technical operations architect must also possess a selection of soft skills that will help them perform their duties. Many of these focus on communication, as they will be tasked with leading complex discussions, relaying information to stakeholders who may be less tech-savvy, and coordinating cross-departmental efforts.
Similarly, they must function as leaders within their team, not only being responsible for planning and guiding the work of others but also resolving conflicts and performing delegation duties. Additionally, they will need to build strong relationships with the members of their teams as this facilitates a more productive and supportive work environment for everyone involved.
Research skills are also imperative since most technical operations architects must examine various architecture plans and associated products or services to help determine an ideal direction. They may also be responsible for participating in troubleshoot activities across the board, so being adept at locating vital information is a critical skill.
An analytical mindset is often helpful for these roles, as technical operations architects must review projects, perform cost/benefit analyses, and assess the risks associated with each venture.
While the exact nature of your requirements may vary, those listed above can serve as a solid guideline when you are hoping to hire your next technical operations architecture superstar. If you would like assistance with your search, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top candidates. Contact us today to see how our services can help you find the expert you need to succeed.
When it comes to hiring, two things matter more than anything: speed and quality. While the two don’t always seem to go together well, there are strategies that can help you secure top talent as quickly as possible. Here’s how to get started.
Clearly Define Your Ideal Candidate
One of the easiest ways to improve your hiring process is to first clearly define what your ideal candidate looks like. Typically, this involves an extensive review of the job requirements with a focus on critical competencies and priorities, such as filling skill gaps.
Now, during this process, you don’t want to create a skills list that is so extensive it becomes practically unattainable, especially since many professionals won’t apply to a position unless that are a 100 percent match for the requirements. Instead, list only those that are most crucial for the role as requirements, and review the applications to determine if anyone also possesses any “nice to have” skills as well.
Align Your Interview Team
Often, each interviewer on a team or panel has a different idea of what a great candidate looks like unless they are given clear guidance regarding any current priorities. Failure to align your interview team means everyone isn’t likely to agree on a top prospect, which may leave you without a potential new hire.
Begin by identifying any essential core competencies that are necessary for the role as a method for guiding everyone’s analysis of the interviewees. This will also help you determine if you need someone who functions as more of a specialist or generalist in their particular area, as either approach can be appropriate, depending on your priorities. Then, consider if any attributes define candidates who may be a solid cultural fit, increasing the chances that they will excel in the environment.
You also want to make sure that the panel won’t place too much weight on credentials from top-ranked schools or previous experience at leading companies, as many professionals are just as skilled even though they don’t possess that particular pedigree. It also helps to have a discussion regarding the importance of achievement versus experience, as a seemingly less experienced job seeker may be more prone to greatness despite their greenness.
Agree on Acceptable Trade-Offs
Some teams are more willing to take a risk on a potentially great talent who needs some additional development than others, and getting everyone on the same page in this area is essential. If everyone isn’t assessing the candidates from the same perspective, you may have conflict in your interview team as they debate the merits of someone who appears to have potential but isn’t proven. By having this discussion in advance, it is easier to align the panel in a particular direction, speeding up the hiring process.
Similarly, very rarely does a candidate possess every skill or trait you’re hoping to find, so it is important to determine which points are non-negotiable and which can be overlooked as long as the interviewee has another characteristic or competency which could be helpful.
By following the tips above, you can streamline your hiring process significantly. If you would like to improve your strategy further, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading talent. Contact us today to see how our hiring strategies can work for you.
With company culture being in the spotlight, creating the right environment for your employees is more critical than ever. The tech sector has been plagued by its reputation of lacking diversity and cultivating workplaces that aren’t as inclusive or diverse as they could be.
The prevalence of what has become known as “bro culture” harms diversity efforts and may lead some professionals – especially women, minorities and older workers – to leave the company or exit the field entirely based on their experience. In that regard, maintaining a bro culture ultimately harms your business. Here’s how.
It Isn’t Inclusive
Typically, a bro culture favors young men, even to the detriment of everyone else. Certain bad behaviors end up being tolerated, including inappropriate comments and jokes, that may offend employees who don’t fit into the bro culture segment. As their co-workers become uncomfortable with the environment, especially if they are left with little recourse or support from upper management, many flee the workplace.
This means you are missing out on great tech professionals simply because they don’t feel secure at work. Additionally, they tend to be passed over for promotional opportunities, harming their careers and their job satisfaction. You may lose top talent based on the company’s culture and perceived lack of support.
It Doesn’t Adapt to the Needs of Your Entire Workforce
Bro culture generally doesn’t consider the needs of those who may be in the minority when it comes to the environment or even benefits. For example, flexible work arrangements might not be available to women who give birth, or maternity leave may be lacking.
Regardless of whether the disparity is intentional or merely overlooked during the creation of compensation packages, the lack of support drives away workers who may require something that just isn’t being offered.
It Promotes Like-Mindedness
While co-workers having common ground can be beneficial, having a team who all share similar backgrounds and perspectives can limit your organization’s potential for innovation. Having a diverse staff means ideas will be introduced based on each employee’s unique experience and discussions will be livelier as a result of their differences.
It is true that these differing points of view can lead to conflict, but they also ensure that your company is benefiting from a larger cumulative world perspective, which can lead to the development of new products or services that will reach a broader market.
It Limits Your Candidate Pool
Unemployment among tech professionals is shockingly low, and having a less than stellar reputation means you may have even more trouble finding suitable job seekers to fill vacant positions. Being known for a bro culture, or simply not being inclusive, means some skilled candidates aren’t going to apply when you list a job, making your talent pool smaller than ever.
Eliminating your bro culture opens the door for a more diverse workforce and encourages a wider range of candidates to apply to work for your company, making it a wise business move overall.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking out top talent for an open position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.
In a world where artificial intelligence, big data, and advanced analytics are making headlines, many companies are struggling to see how business intelligence (BI) fits into their plans. The technology, which involves software and associated services that help translate data into actionable intelligence, has been around for some time, leaving some to wonder if BI is still relevant in the workplace.
The truth is, BI still provides a significant amount of real value, as long as it is handled and leveraged properly. To help you see what business intelligence brings to the table, here is what you need to know.
The Data is There
In most cases, companies are collecting the kind of data that BI tools can use to provide valuable insights. These programs allow you to observe relevant trends and the success of past efforts, helping to steer the direction of an organization’s future actions. And, since the data is available, failing to use BI means potentially missed opportunities, even if other forms of analytics are performed on a regular basis.
The Past and Present Are Relevant
As more companies put emphasis on predictive technologies, some choose to shift away from BI. However, making this choice means you aren’t getting an accurate understanding of the implications of past events as well as a full assessment of your current state.
To make smart business decisions, organizations need to be able to reflect back on past activities and see where things sit today. Otherwise, it can be especially challenging to choose how to act on predictive recommendations as you don’t have a strong grasp of your current activities, systems, and capabilities.
Additionally, BI gives you tools to better determine the feasibility of business analytics (BA) outputs. For example, a BA tool may state that lowering a product’s price to a particular point could lead to increased sales, but it may not take into account larger parts of the picture (such as whether the current inventory could support the projected sales).
It’s Part of a Larger Whole
New software systems are being designed that combine aspects of BI and BA, and even integrate new technologies like machine learning. Combining these resources in the workplace can create a whole that is more powerful than the sum of its parts, giving you a complete picture of the state of business and allowing for deeper explorations through what-if scenario analysis.
BI provides a strong foundation upon which to begin making a new plan of action, as it lets you know where things were, the state of the company now, and how things shifted based on previous actions. When combined with analytics, you could have the potential to make stronger business decisions that are more likely to benefit your organization.
If you would like to know more about BI in the workplace or need a business intelligence professional to join your team, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to see how our services can help you unleash the power of BI in your workplace.
When you’re looking for a new job, the salary a company offers often plays a large factor in whether you should accept. In general, software architects in the Silicon Valley area make significantly more than the national average, making it a great location to pursue a career in the field.
In fact, the national average for comparable positions sits just over $120,000, but the same positions in San Jose, California, and the surrounding area can come with an average paycheck of nearly $160,000. And experienced top talent can easily cross the $200,000 mark. But not everyone qualifies for such high pay rates. The unique mix of skills and education a job seeker brings to the table often determine whether they can reach the upper echelons in regards to salary.
If you’re interested in securing a higher-level position, here’s what you need to know.
In most cases, people who reach the average pay rate in Silicon Valley have a minimum of five years of experience in the field, and those at the top may have 10, 15, or even 20 years of relevant experience. As with any job, entry-level positions will pay significantly lower than those that require time in the field.
However, even lower-level positions can be incredibly lucrative. The lowest 10 percent of software architects, on a national scale, can still reach the six-figure mark if they bring the right education and skills to the job.
Required Skill Sets
Typically, software architects need extensive knowledge of programming languages and specific computer systems. However, which ones are required can differ depending on the employer. That means software architects that have experience in in-demand languages, like Java and C++, may have an easier time finding a high-paying position than those whose skills are less needed by today’s workplaces.
Experience in particular development methodologies, such as Agile, or certain application program interfaces, like RESTful, may also be requirements depending on the expectations associated with the position.
The amount of required education can also vary greatly from one job to the next. Some companies are comfortable offering positions to job seekers who have a bachelor’s degree, though many of the higher paying jobs consider a master’s degree to be the minimum.
In some cases, acquired experience in the field can offset a lower level of education and vice versa. However, it is often safest to assume that a bachelor’s degree is the minimum amount of educational experience required to reach the higher pay levels.
As with any job, pay rates can vary greatly based on a wide range of factors, so there isn’t necessarily a target that every job seeker should seek out. However, reaching the $160,000 point with the right education and experience in a Silicon Valley is perfectly plausible with proper career planning.
If you would like to learn more or are looking for a new software architect position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can benefit your career.
The need for a strong corporate culture has gained more attention over recent years, especially as competition for skilled IT workers continues to become fiercer. But a company’s culture isn’t just there to benefit the employees; it can help the business too. A culture of productivity can contribute to improving morale, increase efficiency and enable teams to be more effective. If you want to design a culture that supports these goals, here are four ways to get started.
Provide a Sense of Safety
No one is at their best if they feel threatened. Fear and anxiety can negatively impact a person’s ability to solve problems and think creatively, lowering overall productivity and harming the quality of any outputs. Creating an environment that provides employees with the physical and psychological safety they require ensures everyone can be at their best.
While physical safety is obvious, making it easier to manage, psychological safety is less clear. However, focusing on organizational transparency, respect and trust goes a long way.
Demonstrate Care for Your Workers
When leadership cares about how their employees are doing, it creates an environment based on trust and loyalty while also improving engagement. Often, this means creating programs designed to support the needs of workers including opportunities for growth and advancement, and creating a workplace that focuses on inclusion and acceptance.
It’s also important to create an environment that utilizes a team-like atmosphere. Typically, this means making sure management doesn’t distance themselves too far from regular employees and instead fosters a sense that everyone is in this together.
When team members have strong, healthy working relationships, they are more likely to collaborate effectively. Additionally, having friends at work can reduce turnover and improve the level of job satisfaction they experience. All of these points can increase engagement and enhance productivity, as happy employees are often more effective and efficient in the workplace.
In some cases, team members will connect naturally. However, introducing team-building activities can help foster relationships that may otherwise take more time to develop, allowing everyone to work better together more quickly.
When workers feel they can take risks and cultivate new ideas, it can create a culture in which innovation thrives. Enabling employees to explore new approaches and ensuring they have suitable support from management can encourage them to think outside the box, potentially developing new systems, solutions or products that can increase productivity or even profitability.
To get the ball rolling in this area, your company may wish to offer training on best practices associated with innovative thinking, and the creation of processes designed to make sure ideas can be thoroughly examined and implemented when appropriate.
If you’re interested in finding out more about creating a workplace with a culture of productivity or are looking for a new employee to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to discuss your needs today and see how our customized approach to staffing can work for you.