In speaking with hundreds of business leaders these are the common expectations everyone has of their internal or outsourced IT group.
- Responsive IT support- When my team is having computer issues, they need help fast so they can get back to doing their job.
- Capable IT support- Capable IT staff who don't have to google the answer and are able to solve the issue without escalation or taking up a bunch of my staff's time on the phone.
- After-hours IT support- My team does not just work Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm, I need my IT group to get my staff back working any time of day or night.
- Local IT support- When an issue requires an onsite visit, I need local IT support who can get there fast.
- Monitor IT for outages- I want my IT group to call and inform me if we have a critical device or software offline. I do not want to start the day having to inform them my staff cannot work.
- Implement security patches- I expect my IT group is testing and installing critical security patches to eliminate known vulnerabilities in our software. I do not want to hear it's our fault for not leaving the computers on at night.
- Periodic meetings with my sales rep- Inform me what licenses need renewing each year and what hardware needs replacing so I can budget and purchase ahead of systems failing.
When the IT group isn't delivering on one or more of these items, it often triggers a search for someone new. While these are good sound expectations that all businesses should have of their IT group, these are the basics needed to maintain a reactive IT approach. Here is the thing, I have yet to meet a business leader that spent money on technology so it could create additional cost in their business. Yet the approach from 90% of IT groups is just that a reactive, sunk cost in their business.
You invested in technology to help you run a more profitable scalable business. You need your IT group to driving value, creating a positive ROI for your business. So, what results should you look for from your IT group to help you do that?
- Prevent issues from happening- Eliminate ticky-tack issues so my people can focus on their work.
- Ensure my business is secure- Verify and implement current security standards to keep my data and business protected from cyberthreats.
- Increase staff productivity- Identify and recommend ways we can use all our technology better to reduce the amount of people time it takes to do our work.
- Guide my entire technology spend- Take into account all the money I spend on technology hardware, business applications, internet feeds, everything, and make sure it is needed and all working in concert together, so I am not overspending.
- Strategic IT leadership- Create and guide a forward-looking IT roadmap that aligns with my business needs and where we are headed over the next 3-5 years.
These results are only attained from a proactive IT approach. While every business has different needs from their technology, fewer companies each year can remain competitive by continuing a reactive approach within the IT function of their business. Be sure your IT group is spending the majority of their time proactively driving the right results to improve your business.