If you’re an IT Leader you will be seeing the change in the IT Landscape, Business’s are now expecting the IT teams to deliver real value by driving strategy and delivering projects.
It’s a bit like juggling balls, only now you are being asked to juggle more ?
In this article we uncover how these additional pressures place different demands on IT leaders – the factors behind the change, and most importantly – how to make the change and deliver the greatest benefit to your business (with a real world example case study at the end).
Lets first look at the main driving factors behind the changing landscape:
- Increasing complexity of IT systems.
- Vendor Management
- Increasing potential for IT to benefit the business (if properly explored), and help a business achieve its strategy.
- Increased potential of damage or impact to the business from IT outages.
- Blurred boundaries of IT – IT is no longer just a platform. It is relevant to all departments of the business and many customer interactions.
- Challenge of running the support function internally – still critical but equally a significant daily distraction.
Considering these changes, internal IT leaders have needed to adapt. It is no longer enough to focus on resolving break-fix issues. In fact, IT maintenance absorbs too much time and focus, taking them away from where they can really benefit the business.
IT leaders are now taking a strategic lead to the business, in that they are uniquely positioned to understand the businesses objectives, and at the same time create a strategy for how IT can not only support it, but also boost it. All whilst building in the appropriate mechanisms to ensure the business is protected from any loss-of-service.
To make this shift, IT leaders have handed over day-to-day IT support to a partner.
For this model to work, your selected partner should be well developed in the following key areas:
- Ownership – especially managing 3rd parties (such as ISP’s, bespoke applications, POS, etc). End users can pass over any IT issue and focus on their work.
- Technical Support – IT is a broad field and no one person can be an expert in all areas. Technical consultants specialise in different areas which means that when clients want to discuss a potential project, it is possible to bring the best knowledge to the table.
- A high standard of 1st line Service Desk
- Coverage – an option of true 24*7*365 support nationwide (and further afield), .
- Management Wrapper – this is then all wrapped up in a management wrapper with your Account Director and Support Managers to oversee the day to day running of the support and be the bridge of communication.
CMS Group have specialised in delivering these types of relationships for around 30 years now, and as a result we have a great deal of experience in understanding what it takes to make them work. Below is an example of a client we work with in this regard:
Village Hotels a nationwide hospitality brand with over 31 sites / 1650 users. We have worked with the for around 25 years.
IT is critical to Villages function, a simple failure can be measured in serious loss of revenue. To add to that, the nature of many sites spread across the nation with a web of different vendors delivering a variety of services and the need for IT to work 24*7 highlights the degree of support required.
As stated, CMS have worked closely with the Head of IT for Village Hotels. CMS manage all IT Support issues from end users and manage 3rd party issues such as POS, Lines, telephony and so on. As a result, the Head of IT is able to focus is valuable time delivering new business improvement, selecting and managing vendors, and overseeing the strategy of IT in the business.
In addition to delivering support to all sites 24*7*365, we also assist with projects – whether working with them to architect the right solution, or roll outs across all sites.
Communication is critical. Day to day the Account Director is overseeing support and communicating with not only the Head of IT, but also GM’s of sites and users. In addition, the Account Director is liaising the day to day support (escalations, site visits, etc). They also work closely with the Head of IT on ticket reviews routinely to understand any areas where trends are arising, and discussing a plan to resolve root causes to collective tickets.
The result is a very successful relationship which spans over 20 years, one which we are proud of and which demonstrates how effective and empowering this partnership can be.
If you are reading this and it strikes a chord, in that either you or your internal IT department could be delivering more value to the business, if they were released from daily maintenance activities, or if your incumbent is failing to deliver and as a result you are being pulled into the day to day support due to their failings – it would be worth exploring how this could work for your business through an exploratory meeting with myself or another Account Director.