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Information Technology as a Business Process

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Information Technology as a Business ProcessI’ve noticed an interesting trend of late that, in my humble opinion, is long overdue: the notion that IT support shouldn’t just be about keeping the network up and running anymore – in other words – information technology as a business process. And that if your provider is only looking to accomplish this, they (and by extension you) have missed the boat entirely. The reality is, IT support is only one of several roles you should expect help with from your service provider – a large one albeit – but only one of many roles.

As is often the case with thinking outside the Inbox, a paradigm shift is required to reposition information technology from the tired cliché of pocket protector wearing nerds, to an integral piece of the strategic planning process and ultimately, IT as a competitive differentiator. Yes, I did say that: Information Technology as a competitive differentiator. In short, computer technology needs to be treated as a business process no less important than your manufacturing, R & D, HR, accounting, (etc.) processes and that initiative needs to be driven from the top down. You will note two very important statements in that last paragraph:

  1. Information technology as a business process
  2. A top-down paradigm shift in thinking

Information Technology as a Business ProcessMost businesses still consider computer networks, arguably the most powerful tool they use, as a cost center. And not just a cost center, but one to be vilified! We all know that most organizations live and die by their sales teams so imagine if we vilified our sales people the way we… OK, bad metaphor but you get the picture. Isn’t it time you started getting more out of IT? Leaders of organizations need to start thinking of information technology as a business process; a mindset that shifts technology expense from the spend bucket to the profit generator that it truly can and should be.

I do want to be clear here though: Technology is a wonderful thing. But its acquisition needs to have clear objectives: SMART goals, measureable ROI – you know, due process – not just technology because it’s cool or new. In other words, no technology for the sake of it, only technological solutions for business problems. Problems like competition, and the need to deliver more robust solutions to YOUR customers and clients; think “bigger, better, faster” and how technology can help you kick serious ass against your competitors.

Information technology as a business process is nothing new; I’m not reinventing the wheel here or even saying anything remotely revolutionary. But in our 19 years of experience, clearly we have noted that it’s no longer about a service provider merely helping you prevent downtime. That ability has long since become a table stake for Managed Service Providers (MSP). No, the true MSP must be able to transition from the role of basic service provider to trusted adviser and finally to strategic ally. Once proven worthy of achieving that coveted status, the “true” MSP then works with the customer to help them achieve real, quantifiable ROI on their IT expenditures which thereby translates to a better bottom line.

Information Technology as a Business ProcessIt’s no longer about remote monitoring and maintenance, it’s more than just preventing downtime, its even more than being a royal adviser – its about helping businesses achieve their goals and visions by providing technological tools applied in a correct and efficient manner to provide a desirable, measurable goal. Like I said: information technology as a business process. This is a natural evolution of IT as a service; you need to demand it from your provider if you aren’t already getting it.