Client Q & A

Connecting with Modis… A Dynamic Conversation

Modis Sr. Business Development Manager Richard Massie recently sat down with Vice President and Chief Information Officer of The Paradies Shops, Tony Dudek for a dynamic conversation about the importance of having a relationship with a staffing provider. The Paradies Shops employs 3,500 people, with 700 stores in 77 airports in North America. The company was named the 2012 Best Airport Retailer, a recognition the company has received 17 years in a row.

Richard: In your opinion, how important is ‘relationship’ with your staffing providers?

Tony: On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11. Honesty and integrity are crucial. In order to have that sense of honesty and integrity with an individual, you have to get to know them.

Richard: What factors determine whether you continue a relationship with an IT vendor or sever that relationship?

Tony: A vested interest in the outcome. Obviously my projects are important to me but I need to know my projects are also important to you.

Richard: Is that easy to find?

Tony: No. That’s rare. Very rare. There’s lip service but in actuality, it’s [my project]  more like fourth or fifth on their list.

Richard: How much do things like price, experience and reputation play into who you do business with?

Tony: I would say that for me it’s a value judgment rather than price judgment. With the few partners I do business with in addition to Modis, I’m satisfied that I’m going to get good value. That’s where the honesty, integrity and relationship come into play. If there’s an $80/hour Java person out there and you know they are an $80/hour-type resource but decide to present that resource at $110/hour; well, first of all, I know that wouldn’t happen, but if you had done that at the beginning, I would have found out because that person’s work wouldn’t be befitting of a $110/hour resource and we wouldn’t be doing business today. I need to know a vendor is going to present talent at a fair price that’s worth their skill sets.

Richard: With the implementation of VMS/MSP programs, the relationship aspect is often taken out of the equation. Is that something you’ve seen / experienced?

Tony: Yes, I’ve seen that. And, it’s penny-wise, pound-foolish in my opinion. Having that relationship [with a staffing partner] is everything. Whether I’m staffing five or six positions or just one, I’ve got to be able to call my vendor and describe my needs somewhat loosely. Often, I don’t have the time to jot down a tremendous amount of detail – it may just be one or two top qualifications I’m looking for in a given position. But, to know and have the confidence that you are going to take that [information] and be honest with me about whether or not you have someone in mind or on the bench – I know you are going to be honest where others I’ve worked with will just say ‘oh yeah, I’ve got just the guy for you’ but in actuality, they haven’t got a clue [what I’m looking for] and present someone they don’t know from Adam. And, they don’t really know if that person is going to be a fit culturally, professionally, etc. – aspects which are just as important as technical skills.

Richard: What would you say to other CIOs out there who may be considering going to a VMS/MSP model for their staffing program?

Tony: To me, it’s a cookie-cutter solution and they would need to ask themselves if they have cookie-cutter jobs. Most companies do not. The reality is that there is a ton of collaboration that has to go on in and across the life of a project. There’s a lot more to it than just the technical book skills needed, more than just say Java or Linux or SQL Server or something like that. And, when you’re in a bind and you need a partner, a VMS/MSP is not going to be that partner. If I’m in a bind on a Saturday because I need someone to start on a Tuesday, I know I can call you. A VMS/MSP is not going to give that same service.

Richard: As CIO of the Paradies Shops, what are some of the challenges you face from a staffing perspective?

Tony: Time/speed to market. Oftentimes when we determine we need someone, we could have used them yesterday. Seems we’re always under the gun – something most CIO’s can relate to. But being a smaller shop, a half-billion-dollars in annual revenue, I get pulled in a lot of directions, as you know. So having the trust that when you put a resume in front of me, I know they’re going to be pretty good and if they’re not, it’s not going to be a problem changing them out. I know that you’re going to be here and back it [the service] up.

Richard: How are emerging technologies and/or changes in the economy changing your company’s approach to staffing?

Tony: Having many years experience with large companies featuring large IT and infrastructure departments, to now being with a smaller company with a smaller IT presence, I now have to get work done through others. I don’t have a staff of 500 to get projects done so my view of service providers like Modis has changed. Also, before I could be very specific about the skill set I needed but now I’ll come to you and say that I only have the budget for one resource but I need someone who’s a Linux Administrator that can also double as a SQL Server DBA. I need more breadth and versatility in the people I hire. They need to be multi-dimensional.

Richard: Is there anything else you’d like to add/share with other CIOs out there?

Tony: Well, I would just say that I recognize and hopefully other CIOs recognize as well that we need companies like Modis to be successful so that I can be successful. And that success goes hand-in-hand with having a solid relationship. It all comes back to honesty and integrity.

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