You Failed to Strategically Plan!
There are several common issues that we see as a Managed IT Services Provider.
At times we identify issues within our processes and use it as an opportunity to improve. Often we will find a new and better tool solution via a webinar, conference, or vendor product demo. But the most common issues we see relate to pain points we hear by talking to prospective customers—and we hear many of the same things repeatedly. Through this series of blog posts, we will examine some of these common items and talk about how you can deal with them.
One thing most business leaders understand well is that strategic planning is key. Without it, opportunities will be missed or, worse, upcoming trends that could have been profitable are not used to fullest advantage. Still, too often those same leaders fail to connect the strategic planning that they apply to their vertical to their IT—and how it can help to achieve those goals.
We’ve discussed productivity gains with proper equipment in a previous blog post, however simply keeping machines up to date is not the full scope here. Undoubtedly, having a complete understanding of the investment required for proper IT is very valuable. However, just as valuable is understanding the IT forecast, current trends in technology and security, and upcoming advances in technology services.
For example, recently cloud computing was the “next big thing”. It allowed many businesses to change their IT budgeting and equipment models: instead of large investments in servers every 5 years or so, for example, working in the cloud using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model allowed spreading the cost to a monthly recurring model. While this wasn’t (and isn’t) the best model for everyone, those that saw the trend and realized it would be a beneficial portion of their IT plan were able to incorporate the changes in an incremental fashion so that the cut-over to virtualization was seamless. Microsoft Azure and One Drive are two examples of this, and commonly used today. These technologies have vastly changed the outlook of other concurrent IT issues: security, disaster recovery, and online data speeds. And, very importantly, the costs thereof.
Unlike some other portions of business strategic planning, IT planning may not encompass quite as large a time frame. While it is prudent to look at long-range planning, the world of IT moves so quickly that many professionals will especially focus on the coming year or two as opposed to five to ten years a traditional business strategy may entail. For example, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) will likely have a ten year plan, but it will undoubtedly be a work of constant revision.
This can provide a challenge for many small- and medium-sized businesses. Without the company infrastructure to support a full-time CIO, planning can become much more difficult. The company “IT guy” may have good intentions, but the day-to-day Operations duties can be difficult to see past in order to properly plan and budget.
IT Managed Services can be invaluable in assisting with this planning. By occupying a vCIO (virtual CIO) role, MSPs can step in to provide consulting on keeping technology working for YOUR business. While a vCIO may certainly recommend purchase of new hardware, software, or services, the role of a vCIO is not delivering sales but rather advise and navigate the ever-changing sea of IT.
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