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 has 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 can solve the issue without escalation or taking up a bunch of my staff's time on the phone.
- After-hours IT support – My team doesn't just work Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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 tell 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 reasonable, 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 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 drive 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 problems so my people can focus on their work.
- Ensure my business is secure – Verify and implement current security standards to protect my data and business from cyber threats.
- Increase staff productivity – Identify and recommend ways to use all our technology better to reduce the number of people and time it takes to do our work.
- Guide my entire technology spend – Consider all the money I spend on technology hardware, business applications, internet feeds and everything. Ensure it is needed and all are 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 for 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 spends most of its time proactively driving the right results to improve your business.