Timing is everything: this holds true for choosing a new Technology Management partner. Perhaps you have wondered for some time whether or not your business would be better served by an alternative support model or an alternative support vendor. It can feel overwhelming to consider such a change but it is not that difficult for a new vendor to pick up the reins. While no transition is seamless, an experienced vendor will know how to minimize the bumps and bruises.
There are certain times in a business’s lifecycle when it makes sense to use change as a catalyst for improvement to your technology support situation.
The IT person is leaving
- Replacing internal resources can be very challenging. Finding a person with the right mix of skills and salary requirements can be like finding a needle in a haystack. And then there is the issue of the “revolving door” when this person only sticks around for a few years. It can be frustrating to invest in training and administration time only to lose this person to a different opportunity.
- At this juncture, management should ask themselves, “Would I be better served by outsourcing this role to a team of technology professionals?”
- With this approach you will have a team with a broad set of skills from hardware maintenance to helpdesk and planning and budgeting. You don’t need to worry about being left in the lurch if someone quits. When doing a cost comparison make sure to consider that an outside vendor eliminates health insurance, 401K, vacation and other benefits.
Major hardware refresh due
Often times your IT person or vendor will want to install and support the technology with which they are the most familiar. When your network is due for a major refresh, the time is right to think through new approaches to the long term software and hardware support. If you have been unsatisfied with your current support strategy, use the refresh deadline to provide the incentive to evaluate the best long term solution.
Implementing a significant software application like an ERP
- Is it time for you to implement a new database that will make your business more efficient and profitable? Many growing businesses reach this point and must ask themselves, “Do we have the horsepower to pull off this project?” When you are betting the farm on a new application that will change your business processes and workflows, it is of paramount importance to have a team in place who can guarantee success. This team needs to include people with a deep understanding of the infrastructure needed to optimize the application. Without the right core devices no amount of tuning will achieve the best results. Most app vendors don’t make recommendations about the infrastructure and all too often an implementation is held up while the correct devices are installed.
- When your internal resources understand your operations and workflow they are in the best position to integrate your new application. This is when bringing in an outside group to assist with design, installation and support of the infrastructure makes sense.
Business is changing and growing
- Have your technology needs changed so that you have outgrown the internal and/or external resources? Expansions, relocations and other significant change events are appropriate times to consider alternative support strategies. These changes may lead to the need for additional support so instead of adding another person, consider using an outside Technology Management resource to supplement the people you have in place. Typically the more mundane work of monitoring and patching can quite easily be outsourced which frees up your staff to focus more on the technology tasks that directly contribute to the bottom line—helpdesk support or application management for example.
- If the business is engaging in a merger or acquisition it is key to have a solid Technology Management vendor to assist with due diligence and integration of the companies.
Security has become a major concern
Do you have new or growing regulatory compliance requirements? Have you suffered one too many ransomware attacks? Hiring a security specialist—especially if they don’t have other IT skills—can be an expensive decision. For many businesses filling this position just doesn’t make sense. But with an ever growing group of threats looming, this is not an area of technology management for any size of business to take lightly. If you choose a vendor that can provide a variety of skills (monitoring, management, etc.) along with a deep security culture this will be money well invested!
The most successful businesses have cultivated a proactive rather than reactive approach to technology. Being aware of the timing of events goes a long way to creating the stable environment needed to prosper.