Web Support Staff Stays Grounded as Cloud Rises

February, 2012

The portion of the IT staff dedicated to supporting web and e-commerce systems has remained steady over the past five years, an indication that web development today is proceeding at a sustainable pace and web management has matured.

While investments in cloud architecture, mobile applications, and enterprise social networking are gaining considerable traction, these activities do not appear to be impacting the scope of traditional website management or the resources dedicated to this IT function.

In our study, Web/E-Commerce Staffing Ratios, we find that web and e-commerce support staff rose only slightly as a percentage of the total IT staff, going from 2.5% of the IT staff in 2007 to 2.7% of the IT staff in 2011, as shown in Figure 1. The fluctuations in this metric over the period are influenced by overall changes in staffing mix and not fully attributable to resources dedicated to managing websites. We find that staffing of this function is largely unchanged.

1 WebStaff Fig1 - Web Support Staff Stays Grounded as Cloud Rises

Our definition of web/e-commerce staff includes personnel who are responsible for the creation and maintenance of websites, intranets, and e-commerce systems. We also include personnel who manage electronic data interchange (EDI) systems. Typical job titles in this category include webmaster, web designer, web administrator, web programmer, web developer, Internet specialist, and EDI specialist.

In the full study, we benchmark web staffing with two ratios: web/e-commerce staff as a percentage of the IT staff and users per web/e-commerce staff member. For organizations with less division of labor, we also provide benchmarks for all personnel engaged in supporting applications, which we call the application group, and we examine the influence of sector and organization size on web staffing.

The scale of web development has contracted since the early days of the dot-com frenzy, but web and e-commerce systems are more mission-critical today than during the growth years. As website functionality continues to expand and extend to mobile devices, IT organizations will need to ensure the web support function is appropriately staffed and that productivity is optimized through the use of tools and strategic outsourcing.

Benchmarking the IT function is a good starting point for ensuring the website management function is appropriately staffed. This study is best suited for typical manufacturing and service organizations that are not heavily reliant on e-commerce. Today, most organizations outsourcing some of their web operations while retaining some expertise in-house to meet strategic development and operational objectives. It is not an either-or question. This study provides a basis for benchmarking the internal web support function for typical organizations and assessing whether adjustments should be made to the balance between outsourced and in-house capabilities.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Web/E-Commerce Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.