Does Loyalty Always Make Good Business Sense?
Often we talk to business leaders who are hesitant to look at an IT provider because they’ve been with a guy for years, we’ll call him Joe, the IT whisperer. Joe isn’t a value creator, he isn’t producing ROI, he just knows their IT systems. Somehow, these business leaders have one of two things in their mind:
- Their IT systems are like an old classic car named Betty, with its own likes, dislikes, and hiccups, and only Joe, (the IT whisperer), can make Betty purr like a kitten and run smoothly without fuss.
- Their IT systems are more complex and challenging than any other business in town, and only Joe alone possesses the genius to solve the daily demands of their system.
With this in mind, when a business owner or executive says, “We’ve been with Joe for 20 years, and he knows our systems,” it raises quite a few red flags, from a business perspective and they may not actually be in as good of shape as they think.
Your IT Guy Should Be Doing More Than Keeping Your IT Systems Running
Your IT guy should be producing ROI with your IT and technology. Because of over-commoditization of IT from tech companies that possesses little to no business acumen, some business leaders have struggled grasping how IT benefits their business beyond basic infrastructure.
While there is plenty of research out there showing that companies that invest more time, energy, capital, and focus on IT out-perform their competitors, some businesses have grappled moving towards a business model that includes aligning strategy with business goals.
When a business leader is hesitant to look at other IT solutions because they think the most important thing is keeping their systems up and running, (ad how they need an IT whisperer) it screams that they are less focused on technology from a business perspective than they are from a utility perspective.
Of Course Your Business Should Stay Up and Running
Frankly, many IT companies out there will keep your business up and running. That’s not a unique characteristic to Joe, Bob, Tom, or Harry. We are living in the post-digital age; it is unlikely that you can’t find more than one IT provider that won’t keep you running and operational.
With that being said, there’s more to keeping you up and running than up-time or downtime.
- Even though you’re up and running, are your networks running fast enough?
- You’re up and running, but is your technology really working for you? Is IT giving you a competitive edge? Is IT giving you unique opportunities to grow your business?
- Are your IT systems producing ROI?
Your IT networks should have little to no downtime and they should be giving you unique ways to communicate with your customers, increase revenue, and expand your business.
Solutions to Complex Business Problems
Your IT provider should be involved in strategizing solutions for complex business problems, regardless of what operational level that the problems occur. IT and technology encompass every aspect of your business, from operations, to sales, to human resources, and finance. Every complex business problem you face will have IT tied to it in one way or another. Why wouldn’t you involve IT in solving business problems? Is it easier to change a line on a blueprint or move a wall after the building is finished? The same principal applies to your technology systems and planning.
If you’re only using an IT provider because they keep you up and running, it’s unlikely that you are involving them in complex business strategies or producing ROI, which in turn may be handicapping your business rather than helping you.
What if your guy disappears one day?
What if your IT whisperer, Joe, suddenly disappears into thin air? Or what if he is hit by a bus? Or moves away? What if he retires?
You know that Joe was keeping you up and running, but do you know if he documented everything he did with your system? Did he leave you a network map? Was he following best practices regarding your upkeep, upgrades, and network security? If he wasn’t and he does disappear, will it still matter that he was keeping you up and running, just like any other IT provider should be doing?
IT is a Value Creator, Not a Utility
Not only is IT a value creator, but it’s also an innovation engine that profoundly improves corporate performance, increases customer knowledge base, and boosts business operations. If a company only thinks about whether or not “their guy” knows their IT systems, is an IT whisperer, and not a value creator, then likely “their guy” hasn’t shown them an adequate return on investment.
Custom Information Systems, is a business process company and takes a strategic approach to technology and IT. We excel in not only actively managing IT systems, but also taking a part in strategical business planning with our client’s executives to assist in building a strong IT strategy that gives a solid ROI. Want to know more? Contact us today.