Managing Your IT Strategy: Part 2

Technology is a necessary service often overlooked because it’s largely invisible. We’ve talked about the importance of integrating your technology services into the structure of your business. But what does that look like and how much will it cost?
Keep it close, or source it out?

The next question is should it be done in-house, under the same roof as other disciplines? Or is the smart money on outsourcing?
As a consultant my allegiance lies with eternal solutions. Small and medium-sized service businesses typically avoid bulking up payroll with specialists like accountants and lawyers. Instead, they partner with outside experts who provide top-level service at a fraction of the cost of bringing someone in-house. The same applies to IT.

Many clients moved to outsourcing as a way to preserve resources during the economic downturn and haven’t looked back since. In a typical scenario a business might eliminate a $70,000 FTE, hire a consultant for about half that amount and, like magic, watch $35,000 drop to the bottom line.

Beyond the dollars, many businesses make a seemingly ironic discovery- IT can be more actively managed from a distance. Here’s what I mean: Within several months a competent IT person can have a network humming. But in most cases, it does not require 40 hours a week to maintain.

What’s more, many in-house IT professionals become more inattentive (dare I say lazy?) over time. They get annoyed over receiving yet another call about a router problem. They see themselves in a support role that ends with fixing the problem, rather than identifying opportunities to grow the business.

Beyond support

When IT is managed on the level of marketing or finance, it’s no longer just a support function but becomes a critical component of business success. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does IT meet regularly with business owners and top management?
  • Is IT consulted about large changes or capital projects?
  • Is technology a component in your strategic business plan?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re on the right path. If not, it may be time for a change. Open your organization to creative technology-driven solutions aligned with business goals. I’m confident you’ll like the results.