The Two Faces of Information Technology

The Two Faces of Information Technology

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Businesses almost always rely on information technology to survive but in many cases, “IT” is treated as a necessary evil rather than as a driver of goals and facilitator of success. IT tends to be one of the most crucial areas of the business but also one to which the least amount of attention is paid. When more attention is paid to the landscaping than to IT, you can be assured that the results are lacking.

Left unmanaged (or improperly managed), IT ends up being a time-suck and a money-pit. Individual technology products are purchased haphazardly to solve individual needs without much regard for an overarching plan that supports the business goals. These individual products may be over-bought but more typically are under-bought and fail to deliver the full benefit they would otherwise provide.

Many organizations buy the least expensive computer, server, firewall, support provider (etc…) they can find thinking only of the cost of the initial purchase while ignoring the ongoing costs associated with poor performance, lackadaisical security, breakdowns, lack of interoperability with other systems and overall lousy productivity. What’s more, these purchases tend to need replacing more often creating more churn and more time lost. Without an overall plan, the pieces don’t work together in a manner that supports the business.

When the individual pieces have problems, “band-aids” are applied to solve the problems but they tend to just come back, eating more and more time and money. For almost any business, the time lost to dealing with repetitive problems can be directly translated into lost profits or poorer results for their clients- no matter how friendly the IT help desk is or how happy they are to keep solving the same problem over and over.

Sadly, this has become the norm for IT and IT support because most business owners don’t realize that IT can be a driver of the business and not just an ongoing expense. The check they write every month for IT is rarely the end of the story.

The key is in the understanding of the goals of the business and a careful and skilled application of technology solutions to help achieve those goals. Properly designed, managed and maintained, IT systems do not commonly have repetitive problems that require visible fixing and daily interruptions of employees.

How can you tell if you are hiring a “band-aid” application service, or a company that will help your business meet its goals by leveraging technology? It starts with the first meeting.

Purchasing technology solutions is not easy and it isn’t something that can be compared “apples to apples.” Ideally, you are looking for a partner to support your business. This is a different process from buying a case of toilet paper or a pizza.

If the company you are considering is more concerned about how many computers you have than about understanding your business, what makes it unique and how you want to leverage technology to meet your goals, the chances are good that they are just calculating how many “band-aids” to buy if you become a client.

If the company’s proposal is a bunch of gibberish that doesn’t tell you how they are going to help you meet your goals, it should be obvious that they don’t understand you or your needs and are simply going to be part of the “necessary evil” system.

If the company spends only an hour or two during the initial onboarding exercise and doesn’t spend the time to talk to the key people in the business to understand what challenges they are facing with IT and what systems and processes are crucial in their world, you are likely dealing with someone who isn’t planning to contribute much effort to helping you meet your goals.

If, after you are a client, the company only contacts you to sell you things and doesn’t spend time helping you with planning and figuring out how to better use the technology you already own, you are clearly not experiencing what IT is really about: helping your business excel and meet its goals.

At IntelliSystems, our greatest joy comes from helping clients leverage technology to solve business problems, meet business goals and enable employees to do their job better and more efficiently. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation to see if we can be a great resource for your organization.