Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

February 27, 2008 13:38 ET

IT Professionals, Students and Business Leaders Agree on Skills Shortage-But Not on Role of IT, Microsoft Canada Survey Finds

CEOs looking for systems that run smoothly, but IT workers and next generation of students want to do more than keep the lights on

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2008) - When it comes to the availability of information technology skills in Canada, the message from more than 1,000 Canadian C-level executives, IT professionals and students recently polled by The Strategic Counsel is resoundingly clear: 90 per cent of respondents agree that Canada is experiencing a shortage. However, only 60 per cent of C-level executives feel that this represents a serious concern for businesses - compared to 96 per cent of their counterpart CIOs and 77 per cent of IT professionals.

One reason for this disconnect is the fact that 76 per cent of C-levels see systems upkeep and maintenance as the most important role for IT. By contrast, three-quarters of IT professionals say they want more opportunities to make a difference for their organizations, while 85 per cent of students surveyed say that more challenging work environments is a priority as they plan their IT careers.

To do this, they need time and resources. But many IT professionals devote up to 80 per cent of their time on routine maintenance in light of the rapid growth of data centres, something that could force the next generation of IT professionals to seek careers in other fields.

In order to help stop this cycle, 73 per cent of IT professionals are looking for technology that will help minimize the time spent on system maintenance and allow them to build an even more effective IT strategy. As well, 70 per cent of IT students see new technology as a way to help untap the potential of today's IT departments and make information technology a more attractive career option.

One company taking advantage of technology to help reduce maintenance and focus more time on the core business is BMO Capital Markets.

"At BMO Capital Markets, we're focused on pace, customers and growth. Our global team supports thousands of applications on hundreds of servers, so maintenance is critical to achieving our goals. By taking advantage of the latest Microsoft server technology, we've been able to reduce the number of servers we maintain. This helps free our time to focus on international expansion, most recently into China," says Sorin Manta, Manager, Windows Server infrastructure, technology and operations, BMO Capital Markets.

According to Phil Sorgen, President, Microsoft Canada Co., technology can help IT professionals enjoy a rewarding career while aligning with corporate objectives.

"Using IT strategically helps businesses drive revolutionary change across their organizations. However, C-level executives say the most important role for IT is to ensure systems are up and running. While this is critical, the next generation of IT workers are looking for something more," says Sorgen. "The launch of the next wave of Microsoft server platform innovation provides IT professionals with resources that will help them worry less about IT maintenance and give them the time they need to develop innovative solutions that add business value and help boost competitiveness."

Microsoft understands that education and workforce skills development are the building blocks of innovation, productivity and global competitiveness. With its launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008, Microsoft can help IT professionals move away from spending time on maintaining current systems and allow them to better manage their IT infrastructure, take control of data and help speed up the application development cycle.

In addition, Microsoft Canada is also engaged in several relationships with the public sector, helping support the Innovation Centre at the University of Waterloo and working with the City of Toronto and various community organizations, including JobStart and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, to ensure that there is access to basic and advanced computer literacy training that will help create a skilled workforce.

Other Interesting Statistics

- Seventy-eight per cent of IT professionals want more opportunities to make a difference for their organizations.

- An overwhelming majority of all respondents (90 per cent) agree that IT executives should be consulted when a business is making a strategic decision.

- The one trait C- level executives most associate with their IT staff (69 per cent) is "reactive" - well ahead of "strategic" and "innovative."

- Ninety-two per cent of CIOs agree that top IT talent is difficult to attract and retain compared with 61 per cent of other C-level executives.

- Fifty per cent of non-IT students believe that Canadians businesses are behind when it comes to adopting new technology vs. other high tech countries. Fifty-four per cent of IT students believe Canada is behind.

- Eighty-five per cent of students feel that a "challenging, creative work environment" is important in their career.

Microsoft and the Next Wave of Server Innovation

Today Microsoft Canada announced the next wave of Microsoft server innovation. The integrated innovation of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 will help IT professionals drive businesses forward through technology innovation. For more information, please visit www.microsoft.ca/launchwave.

About the Survey

Independent IT research firm The Strategic Counsel conducted the survey of 100 Canadian C-level executives, 200 IT professionals and 713 post-secondary students in January 2008.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Visit Microsoft Canada's web site at www.microsoft.ca.

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