VP, Managed and Executive Services
  • Services and Consulting
The 2016 Olympic Games are winding down, and the competition has been exciting. I love watching the Olympics. Of course, I enjoy the drama and the spectacle of the events. But what I appreciate most is hearing the stories of the athletes and their coaches. Their hard work, dedication, commitment to excellence, and competitiveness inspire me. And in my own way, I can relate to how difficult global competition can be.

As business professionals, we are acutely aware of how competitive it is in the marketplace. Regardless of industry, global competition is fierce and continuously changing. Flashy new startups from across the globe emerge almost daily. Corporate conglomerates launch business initiatives into new market sectors. And industry stalwarts often break up or fold. To succeed, we must develop a customer-obsessed business model and focus on innovation, efficiency, and differentiation.

In other words, maintaining the status quo won’t achieve the results we want. We must change the way our businesses operate and engage our customers. And IT is at the center. Digital transformation is no longer optional. It is essential. But technology continues to change at a break-neck pace, and new cloud services and SaaS offerings are creating a lot of buzz in the industry. How do you know if you’re deploying the right solutions and fully leveraging your IT investments in order to generate the business outcomes you want? 

Overcoming Common IT Challenges

If I’ve learned one thing from my years of working with customers, it’s this: Partnering with trusted professionals makes a difference. In fact, I’d say it makes a huge difference. It’s not unlike competitive sports. Elite athletes know that in order to reach the top of their sport, they must follow a plan, stay on top of the most current training techniques, and work hard. To give themselves the best chance to succeed, they rely on knowledgeable, trusted coaches who they believe will help them achieve their greatest potential.

It’s the same in information technology. Partnering with knowledgeable, trusted professionals is extremely important, and it can help you overcome five common challenges all IT organizations face:

1. Determining the right IT investment to business outcome ratio

Smart investments are vital in business today. And budgets are tight. You want to ensure every dollar you spend on technology delivers value back to your organization. But how do you do that?

I believe it starts with a thorough understanding of your current operations and how your people, processes, and tools compare to others in your industry. COBIT and ITIL frameworks can be used to measure your level of process maturity and give you a baseline from which to begin. From that effort, you can document your “organizational fingerprint” and align your IT investments with initiatives that are expected to drive specific outcomes and return on investment (ROI). By doing this, you not only better prioritize your investments, but also prevent wasteful spending on technology solutions that won’t benefit your organization.  

2. Developing an IT strategy

The natural next step after creating your organizational fingerprint profile is to take those results and create a new—or revise your existing—IT strategy. Working with your executive champion and business unit leadership teams, you can prioritize your key initiatives and develop a 3 to 5-year roadmap to carry them out.  Don’t forget the most critical component here—tying all investments to business objectives.  If you cannot draw a tangible linkage between these elements, focus elsewhere.

3. Staying informed on current technology, trends, and new capability

I think most of the people in our industry would agree that technology change is an exciting part of working in IT. Likely, it’s one of the reasons many of us decided to pursue this profession. New solutions are fascinating, and there is always something new to learn.

But the daily business demands on your time and the pace of change make it difficult to stay on top of new developments in technology. Trusted experts are a valuable resource. They can help you stay informed on new solutions as well as provide an outside perspective to help you weed through the hype, making it easier for you to select the products and services that best fit your needs.

4. Optimizing IT staff

Making sure you have the skills you need assigned to the most important projects is the goal of every IT manager. But skill gaps, resource shortages, and daily operational tasks are realities and cannot be ignored. Partnering with outside professionals can provide the project-based talent you need as well as supplemental resources who can offload daily technical tasks from your team, freeing up time for your people to focus on business critical initiatives. 

5. Viewing IT as an enabler instead of a cost center

Changing the perception of IT within your organization is an ongoing effort. However, the impact of digital business on customer experience and brand differentiation is becoming more prevalent every day, and business executives are taking notice. By engaging knowledgeable professionals through executive services consulting and virtual C-level assistance (such as vCIO and vCISO services), you can accelerate culture change within your organization and begin shifting attitudes away from a cost center opinion to one of true business enablement.

For more information on how ePlus can help you overcome your IT challenges through expert guidance from trusted, knowledgeable professionals, visit www.eplus.com/services or contact your ePlus Account Executive.


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