Managing Your IT Strategy: Part 1

If you are like most service professionals, meetings with your IT team focus on outages, hardware failures, and slow-to-respond servers.

Imagine a scenario in which the discussion centers on business development and innovative offerings- less on fixing problems and more on achieving business goals.

How do you get from here to there? It’s all about managing your IT strategy in the same way you manage other business functions like accounting, marketing or operations.

Integral, not added on

Twenty years ago technology was a business amenity bolted onto operations to enhance efficiency. That’s no longer the case. Today, technology is an integral part of service, manufacturing, government knowledge transfer and virtually any other industry you can name.

From housing your law library to parsing hundreds of megs of discovery data, technology is inextricably woven into how you work.

Much like electric power, technology is an essential, yet largely invisible commodity. We access it with little thought about where it comes from, but with full confidence that it will be there when we need it.

Beyond the capacity to run programs and support devices, we also need technology to provide a safe place for data to rest and a way to access, secure and protect it. While essential, these logistical concerns are just the beginning of what you should be getting from your IT provider.

A business-driven approach

Two or three times a year my colleagues and I sit with each of our clients. We don’t talk about technology, although that’s what we’re paid to provide. Instead we get detailed updates on where the business is heading – the plans and the pains managers and owners are experiencing.

We review current strategies and assess the impact. What’s been the effect and what are the likely consequences of pursuing or veering off the path?

We combine that intimate knowledge with technical expertise to develop value-driven approaches aligned with business plans and aspirations. Then we develop a master technology plan that addresses subjects like network design and application support, as well as strategic planning.

What matters most are not the routers, firewalls, and apps, but the proactive application of technical solutions to support an organization. We mitigate user problems in the design of the network not just to “fix” the problems, but also to improve productivity, profitability, and other metrics.

As a business owner who is also a technical specialist, this approach is intuitive to me. I understand dropping money to the bottom line, so if I can help a client leverage technology to increase sales or other metrics, I’ve succeeded.

Assuming you’re on board with the idea of managing IT as a business function- next, we’ll discuss how to make it work for your business with in-house or outsourced solutions.