kreizihorse - Fotolia


New IT jobs emerge to target user experience, service delivery

Experts in user experience and IT as a service are becoming critical in the enterprise, especially as the gap narrows between IT and business teams in new IT jobs.

Whether providing application access to its own employees, partners, customers or all of the above, businesses are increasingly sensitive to the user experience. Inaccessible or complicated applications will impair productivity and drive users to another platform -- even if the business doesn't approve or support it.

The importance of user experience has sparked a new interest in application performance management. APM isn't a new idea, and IT administrators have a growing stable of monitoring and management tools to watch and report on applications. But the real emphasis on new IT jobs has shifted to preemptive analysis and remediation.

As IT faces more competition from outsourcing and cloud services, businesses realize that in-house IT resources and staff can -- and should -- serve a bigger consulting or services role.

For example, a traditional IT administrator wouldn't know there's a problem with an application until disgruntled users send help desk tickets. The user experience takes a hit, and the damage has already been done. By contrast, new IT jobs, such as an application performance expert or user experience expert, can monitor application performance parameters in real time, receive alerts and take corrective action when performance metrics fall below thresholds. They fix performance problems before users ever notice.

Many application experts can analyze and understand application usage patterns. That insight can go back to developers and guide future application design and configuration to build on those usage patterns or address possible performance bottlenecks. An application performance expert has a basic IT administrator's skill set and often has experience with software development, cloud deployment and help desk services.

New IT jobs reflect importance of user experience

There is a fundamental change in the way businesses perceive and use IT. Traditional IT addresses technical solutions to technical problems. Need to store more data? IT can add disks or deploy a new storage array. But this only handles the how and not the why; traditional IT had little, if any, involvement in the business side of technology. But as the importance of user experience increases, new IT jobs now focus on the deeper questions.

As IT faces more competition from outsourcing and cloud services, businesses realize that in-house IT resources and staff can -- and should -- serve a bigger consulting or services role. The emerging idea is that IT shouldn't just deploy hardware or install applications. Instead, IT should provide services to the business whose value can be measured. This is sometimes referred to as IT as a service (ITaaS). It requires a role, such as an IT services expert, that can bridge the gap between business and technology, and help the business meet its objectives. Success in this role demands a senior IT professional with a solid technical background, along with strong business, sales and marketing knowledge.

Think of ITaaS as an in-house alternative to Software as a Service. When a business uses a cloud-based application, they're buying a deployed application that's ready to go. The role of these new IT jobs is to accomplish all of these background tasks internally to organize, deploy, support and maintain whatever hardware and software is required to deliver the necessary business service. When implemented properly, the IT services expert can improve the business' flexibility and efficiency by abstracting the underlying IT from the service's users.

Next Steps

Avoid a failure in application performance

ITaaS transforms IT departments

Citrix pushes the ITaaS field

Dig Deeper on Data Center jobs and staffing and professional development