job description: The software implementation analyst ensures that
deployments of new applications or upgrades are planned and carried out correctly. They act
as a bridge between the software developer and the IT infrastructure team that handles
installation and maintenance, says Carlo Carbetta, vice president of operations development
at CIO Partners, an executive search firm. They determine whether the applications
interoperate with existing systems and plan for customization or integration work. This
person may be involved in testing, creating documentation and dealing with end users.
why you need one: When a company buys packaged software, it has to adapt it
to its operations and processes. “If you don’t have your own staffer involved in that
implementation to make sure that the vendors understand your needs, you run the risk of the
implementation moving off your business plan,” says Eugene Farago, an account executive with
the IT and metals division of Hudson, a recruitment and talent management firm. The
software implementation analyst also acts as an agent of change for the company, steering it
through an often risky but necessary process, he says. This means addressing user concerns
while keeping the implementation on track. Finally, with IT environments becoming more
heterogeneous, the need for someone with detailed knowledge of a company’s business and
technology increases, experts say.
desired skills: Candidates should have computer, technical, engineering or
science degrees,and certifications in areas such as project management and software
development lifecycle. Experience with and knowledge of a company’s business and technology
operations are key. “This is a midcareer-plus position,” Carbetta says.
how to find them: Software implementation analysts move around a lot and
many do contract work, so they network a lot. Try business-oriented social networking sites
what to look for: A potential hire should be meticulous, process oriented,
methodic and cool under pressure. They should be able to build relationships across the
business and IT.
elimination round: Ask candidates which software platforms they are most
familiar with and their experience deploying them, including the environment size. Good
candidates will discuss their interaction with the infrastructure team regarding things such
as hardware provisioning and bandwidth requirements.
salary range: $65,000 to $125,000
growing your own: Groom internal candidates by rotating them through the
business to gain expertise in a variety of areas. “They need to understand the bigger
picture. A typical issue with implementation consultants is that they were previously a
developer only and they get stuck in the details,” Farago says. Putting a prospect on a
process-improvement team is also a good idea. This allows you to see how quickly someone is
at identifying problems and coming up with solutions, and to determine whether or not they
are good facilitators.
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