Businesses have traditionally viewed IT spending as a sort of “black hole,” one that is constantly draining money that will never be seen again in the form of an appreciable return-on-investment.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. When managed correctly, IT becomes a strategic asset for a business that enhances productivity and moves the enterprise forward. The key is to shift how IT investments are presented to management so executive leadership better understands how the investments are used. Managed IT support services can play an important role in helping executive leadership understand the value of technology by bringing a new level of transparency to projects and allowing the in-house IT team to focus on developing applications that generate revenue.
Management often doesn’t see IT as a strategic asset, because IT teams frequently don’t reveal the specifics about how investments in new technology are used and the positive impact they have on a company’s bottom line. In-house IT teams tend to operate independently from business operations teams, focusing on the task at hand without going into great detail about the “hows” and “whys” of what they’re working on.
This is where a managed IT support services partnership can help. An experienced vendor will have a clearly defined process for implementing new technology or enhancing existing systems that will guide the project from the very beginning of the engagement. A vendor should also demonstrate performance management and compliance capability throughout the project, so the client understands the background of what makes IT a sound investment.
In a strong managed IT support services partnership, the vendor also offers the built-in benefit of allowing in-house IT teams to focus time and resources on developing applications and new technology that the executive leadership views as strategic gains. Removing IT maintenance and general “triage” items from the in-house team’s agenda will allow them to focus on revenue-generating tasks that grow the business and move the enterprise forward. When executive leaders see that clear-cut progress being made, they’re far more likely to approve strategic IT investments.
Sometimes the true benefits of continuous IT investments aren’t dramatic achievements. Rather, they’re the platform that allows for sustained growth. For instance, a large, distributed company with locations across the nation recently implemented an online conferencing system that not only gave users the ability to use their network for voice-over-IP (VoIP), but also allowed them to interview prospective employees through their online video system. The result was a faster, easier and more efficient hiring process that wouldn’t have been possible without a stable IT infrastructure. Years of investing in IT had culminated in technology that saved the company time and money spent arranging multiple in-person interviews.
Beyond the unexpected organizational benefits of IT outsourcing, there are very real, tangible practical benefits that come with managed IT support services. For example, when was the last time your IT leaders were able to take a real vacation during a technology implementation or upgrade when the project was managed in-house? The answer is probably never.
Outsourcing actually allows leaders to take a sick day or spend important occasions with family. When you’re the one in charge, even minor tasks like applying patches is time consuming, and downtime has a huge impact on users. Outsourcing maintenance tasks allows them to happen seamlessly outside business hours, reducing or eliminating the impact on end users.Taking all of these factors into account can quickly transition IT from a cost center into a business enabler.