Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why Detroit ought to be Renamed DetroIT

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DetroitImage

 

 

Last week, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget released a data report showing 17,000 more workers had jobs in the state during March, with the number of unemployed workers falling by 14,000. This encouraging news came on the heels of the Michigan jobless rate dropping to its lowest level since the summer of 2008 in March, to 8.5 percent.

While I agree with many economists that a pre-2008 unemployment level may never be achieved given the impact the recession had on companies’ productivity levels and newfound ability to do more with even less, I believe we will continue to see glimpses of recovery like these throughout the year.

A significant factor contributing to this recent rebound is the growing reputation of Detroit and Southeast Michigan as an IT hub, similar to other cities including Silicon Valley, Austin, Research Triangle and others. The technology industry across the country is experiencing tremendous growth stemming from sector dynamics such as, the emergence of the third platform which includes cloud computing, social technologies, big data analytics and mobility. Software developers are also in high demand and is the occupation producing the most jobs post-recession, adding more than 71,000 jobs since 2010.

For Detroit in particular, the technology boom is certainly hitting close to home as we become increasingly known as an innovative technology hotbed. In fact, consider these recent highlights:

  • Fast Company has included Detroit in its list of “10 Underrated Hotbeds of American Innovation”
  • Automation Alley ranked Detroit fifth nationally in technology sector jobs
  • Michigan recently awarded $1 million to build a Detroit Technology Exchange, an initiative that among other things will create four programs, including a 10 week summer boot camp geared towards helping college students learn how to launch a technology-based company

All of these initiatives stand to bring more IT jobs to the city of Detroit and across the State. However, the big hurdle will reside in building a supply of IT talent to help fill the demand. In fact, the IT unemployment rates nationally hover between 3-4 percent, extremely low compared to rates overall.

Many companies will continue to rely upon IT staffing and recruiting firms such as ours to achieve cost-savings while tapping into a database of highly-skilled IT talent – many of whom choose to expand their resume, skill sets and experience through staffing companies because they offer diversity in employers and in innovative assignments. In fact, Staffing Industry Analysts projects IT staffing to grow eight percent in 2013, with IT buyers reporting an average of 13 percent savings from using contingent IT workers.

All in all, the future is looking bright for Detroit. Or, should I say DetroIT?

Supplier Network

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VisionIT partners with some of the best and brightest organizations in the staffing and IT industries. Their specific niche expertise helps round out our pool of staffing candidates and adds depth to our core IT strengths. We have found that the right partnerships help us create additional value for our clients while allowing us to maintain our focus and minimize risk to the client.

We are always on the lookout for new and upcoming organizations that can help benefit our clients.

[Link to Supplier  registration form]

 

Supplier Diversity

We welcome all potential suppliers to register with us as we are rapidly expanding and require a supply base that can also grow with us.

Our company has made diversity a major part of who we are and how we operate. As one of the largest minority-owned corporations in the United States, we have benefited greatly from programs targeted at providing opportunities for minority-owned business enterprises (MBE’s). VisionIT is committed to growing other MBE firms and we have a demonstrated history of this throughout our supply base.

It is the policy and practice of VisionIT to promote and increase business opportunities for Minority, Women and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (M/W/ and DVBEs) to ensure that they receive their fair market share of our total expenditures for products and services. In establishing this policy—and in executing it by utilizing Minority/Women and Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (M/W and DVBEs) as primary contractors and subcontractors—we are realizing our commitment to the communities we serve and the marketplace in which we do business. We also encourage our primary contractors to use M/W/DVBEs as subcontractors to further reinforce our commitment.

Strengthening the diverse business community economically contributes to the overall economic growth and expansion of our markets. Therefore, it is our objective to offer M/W/DVBEs equal access to purchasing opportunities. In addition, it is VisionITs goal to assist in developing and growing such businesses.

VisionIT recognizes the following certifying agencies:

•        National Minority Supplier Development Council

•        Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

•        Association for Service Disabled Veterans

•        Government Agencies (Federal, State, City or County)

 

[Link à registration page]

 

Supplier Mentorship

As one of the largest and top performing diversity-owned businesses, we are able to leverage our experiences, resources, and executive leadership team to assist other diversity-owned businesses through our mentorship program.

Our current mentored suppliers were selected according to their demonstrated ability to deliver quality services. The group includes firms who provide public relations, graphic design, project-based IT solutions, and staffing services to the general market. VisionIT supports them by helping them develop the financial, operational, technological, and marketing know-how they need to execute their business strategies.

VisionIT executive leadership also speaks on a regular basis at national minority business forums across the United States that share examples and stories of what it takes to be a successful diversity-owned business.

 

[Link to stand alone registration page currently found at: http://visionit.com/AboutVisionIT/ForSuppliers/SupplierRegistration.aspx (Text to change to below)]

 

To ensure that VisionIT is well informed on the products and/or services provided by your company, we invite you to set up a company profile. The information you provide will be available to our Procurement and Supplier Relations team and will be used to assess potential sourcing initiatives.

You can set up a company profile by registering through the below form. The process should take approximately 5 minutes, and you will need to have the following information readily available:

•        Federal Tax ID

•        Minority or Woman Ownership Certification

•        References

 

We would like to stress that registering does not guarantee business with VisionIT, nor does it automatically qualify your company to be a part of any RFQs or RFPs.

If you experience difficulty with this registration form, please contact our technical support group at support@visionit.com.

Thank you for your interest in doing business with VisionIT. We wish you continued success!

What Businesses Can Learn From Elementary Schools

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BYODphotoTypically, when you reflect on the primary education system and its purpose, one almost always thinks of teaching and grooming students to become future business and community leaders. But, when it comes to integrating technology into their “working environment,” there may be some lessons Corporate America can still learn from elementary schools. Today, 64 percent of public schools districts are implementing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. Given that public school educators are bridging the digital divide unlike ever before, addressing this issue within the business environment is a necessary initiative for every organization.

Arguably the biggest lesson to heed is this – despite the challenges in adapting to new trends such as BYOD, the benefits can far outweigh the roadblocks. Consider these behavioral benefits that can apply to the classroom and the office:

Play well in the sandbox (or office). There is strong evidence that allowing employees to use their own technology, at least in some capacity, at work may help workers be more productive and improve morale and job satisfaction. When workers feel more accustomed to specific applications or social venues, and are able to tap into those within the working world, the result is often a more collaborative, innovative office environment.

Be responsible (for your own device). A huge benefit for companies that adopt a BYOD policy is cost-savings derived from fewer expenses on high-priced devices it would normally purchase for employees. Secondarily, workers tend to take better care of devices they view as their own property, and often purchase the latest technology and devices sooner than their employer.

Work hard (wherever you’d like). A BYOD initiative allows workers to decide how, when and with which tools work is done – whether in the office space, at home or while grabbing a cup of coffee. This can unlock the next wave of productivity for companies and satisfy the desire of employees to combine their work and personal lives.

Perhaps companies’ biggest obstacle in adopting BYOD policies is challenges with security and IT support. However, that concern has been greatly diminished with some key innovations, including Identity Services Engine (ISE) solutions. Read how in our earlier post.

T-LAB Combines Technology and Academic Achievement to Help Inner-City Youth

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TlabAt the start of this year, an initiative named Code.org was launched with the purpose of inciting enthusiasm and interest in coding among young people. And they launched it in a big way, releasing a video that includes two of the most famous coders in recent history – Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

I am particularly excited about this venture because it is bringing to the forefront what VisionIT has been fostering for the past six years through our sponsorship and collaboration with T-LAB. That is, the belief that every student should have the opportunity to learn to code. One of the highlights of the video is Gates and Zuckerberg talking about how they learned to code at a young age, sharing the same time as myself when I learned how to write basic code at the age of 13, on my Commodore 64. That ability to write software led to my ability to launch VisionIT at age 25 and particularly why I became immediately active and a founding sponsor of T-LAB.   When I see the students working in T-LAB, I remember being inspired at that age that through this computer interface (and now mobile devices), so many possibilities existed and could be created.

T-LAB was started six years ago in Detroit by Dr. Clarence Nixon, former CIO of BallPark Brands and is an innovative accelerated learning center for inner-city youth from kindergarten to high school. The center uses high-end computers and interactive learning applications managed by leading teachers, tutors and mentors. Key areas of study include leadership, math, language (English and Foreign languages), science and most recently, software development skills.

Although T-LAB’s curriculum extends well beyond software development, it is helping to introduce hundreds of students to the world of IT and coding. It is the perfect intersection of my passion to help change lives for the better and my goal of introducing young people to the promising world of technology and specifically, coding. Similarly, it is why I applaud code.org and its initiative to offer support and tools to educate and promote software development skills.

Dr. Nixon has set the academic bar very high for T-LAB students, an entirely different expectation from what many of its students have become accustomed. The result, however, is some of the brightest, highest-achieving students leaving the walls of T-LAB. To date, I’m proud to say we’ve influenced the futures of more than 600 students. And that number is growing exponentially through additional T-LAB locations in Chicago, Las Vegas and soon to come, New York.

Stay tuned for future posts highlighting the success stories of many of our T-LAB graduates, and the future launch of T-LAB locations.