Three Additional Strategic Outcomes from IT Outsourcing
Are outsourced IT services right for your business? Possibly, I have listed three more business outcomes that you may try to achieve when outsourcing IT managed services. You have probably heard before that the CEO should be working “on,” the business not “in,” the business. The same is true while outsourcing your IT services, the time that is freed up for your staff and yourself should be directed to important work outcomes. IT outsourcing can provide a strategic, cost-effective solution if your management team is focusing “on,” your business outcomes. The business outcomes can be segregated into three areas of business operation, first are the CEO focused business outcomes, and second are the strategic accounting and operational outcomes and finally specific IT business outcomes. In this blog I will discuss the final three of seven business outcomes (the first blog describes the first four business outcomes) you can read the first blog here.
Outsource your IT to maximize Return On Investment and manage costs.
When you add up your IT salaries, annual software licenses, hardware upgrades, is it a significant cost to your business? Most business owners will agree IT is expensive. Owners demand confidence that their IT investments are delivering sufficient business value. Many owners wonder if they can improve IT availability at a lower cost than doing IT themselves. Typically an IT Managed Service Provider can lower your IT costs and improve service levels. I have seen savings range from 30 to 60 percent annually versus doing IT internally. The savings come from adding discipline into the IT operations, and that includes financial discipline. You will begin to predict your IT budget accurately and control costs because everything will be documented and planned. Do you need standardize on a single laptop model or desktop to control costs? Should you be leasing or buying your hardware? These and many more questions will be discussed, evaluated and answered through IT outsourcing. Look for a client Chief Information Officer as part of the outsourcing engagement; insist upon an MBA to periodically hold business conversations with the owner that can help establish a link between your personal business goals and the strategy needed within IT to achieve those business goals.
Outsource your IT to leverage IT as a strategic asset.
Speaking of IT strategy, how do you leverage your IT systems in a competitive manner? Is it possible to look at your current IT applications and consider if you have deployed the best software to align with your business goals? Through IT outsourcing you will have access to an IT expert who can help you evaluate if you have the appropriate applications and systems in place. Time after time, we see business owners who recognize that their company’s IT has degraded in performance and in its usefulness to the business; the owner does not know what to do next. As an owner you need to be ready to respond to changing business conditions, and that often means, upgrading your Line-of-Business application, or at the minimum, evaluating if your IT applications are serving you and your employees. Many CEO’s and owners see their industry is in rapid change, we all saw in 2008 how quickly the national economy can impact our businesses. Owners need access to IT experts that can accommodate the industry or economic conditions as they evolve. How can your IT systems that are 5 years old be serving your business properly five years later? Surely something could be upgraded, or enhanced to add additional value. If you decide to outsource your IT, make certain that the IT outsourcer will provide you with an IT thought leader, who can bridge your business strategies with your IT systems and evolve your IT department into a strategic asset.
Outsource your IT so your business delivers first-class products and customer service.
Gone are the days of paper ERP systems and clients calling in on the phone. Today, to remain competitive, your company needs an excellent web site, an email domain, and ideally a web portal for your prospects and clients to interact with your sales and delivery teams. You need to be able to respond quickly to customer needs and expectations. Your IT systems are an extension and a representation of your company to your employees and your customers. Your company will be evaluated on how efficiently work can be completed. Ideally, you have automated tasks so you can provide a value-add to your clients. Hopefully you are leveraging the Internet and have a web portal so your clients have more than a phone call means of connecting with your company. Today in this globally competitive world, you need to provide your clients multiple channels to interact with your company: ANP has video conferencing, Instant Messaging, Chat, email, service ticketing and a phone call: that’s 6 different ways to interact with ANP… are you offering a client multiple ways to communicate with your firm? Don’t make the mistake of expecting that everyone is going to want to communicate in a way that you prefer! These are reasons why it might be time to consider IT outsourcing, its not just about the block and tackling of IT, an IT Service Provider can help you work through new ways to enhance your products and services for your clients.
I need to say your mileage may vary; every company has different circumstances and will have different business outcomes. I can state our clients are able to achieve most of these business outcomes. ANP's clients are seeking effective business IT solutions that will help increase company: revenue, competitiveness and productivity and enable the company to scale for the long term. If you shook your head and said, "Yes, that's us" when reading our list of business needs, then this is a clear indication that outsourced IT managed services can deliver strategic value to your organization. Outsourced IT managed services will play an ever increasing and critical role in the small and mid-size business marketplace. As more organizations take advantage of performance and productivity-enhancing technology and applications without the distraction and expertise required to manage them, IT outsourcing frees up valuable time for the business leaders. The question for you is not whether to use them - but how and when? Want to get started, click here and sign up for a free 7 step strategic review. I you are not ready to talk yet; you may download our free white paper on the 6 essential IT Outsourcing Strategies (found below.)