Typically speaking, there are two distinct roads to raising the level of IT within a company. The first can be described as ‘Stepped Change’ and the second as ‘Holistic Change’.
What is Stepped Change?
Stepped Change is implementing a series of radical IT changes within a short space of time to introduce a new wave of IT capabilities for a business. Often this happens at the start of the financial year when IT managers are eager to use their new budget. This can also happen in response to critical processes or systems not being available for a significant period of time, affecting operations.
Stepped change is an expensive but highly impacting form of IT improvement. The jump in changes can have benefits – with employees moving from one setup to another, completing their training in one go.
What is Holistic Change?
Holistic change utilises a regular and proactive approach to IT systems, working in 6 month chunks to ensure all IT equipment and operational software is kept up-to-date and in good working order. Often this approach leads to more stable improvements in technology across more areas of business, but can often be slower in introducing larger changes. Additionally, training is often longer and more in-depth, leading to employees who have fewer day-to-day support needs.
Holistic Change requires a dedicated commitment to IT management. With extra demands on time at all levels and the need for greater understandings on how a company can leverage available technology to achieve their aims, holistic change can seem to be more of a difficult path to follow.
While there are examples of companies which prefer one methodology over the other, many organisations rely on their IT team to take the lead – trying to employ a mix of both approaches to meet their ends. Often, it becomes apparent that having a mix of both approaches is not entirely effective. Adopting both approaches tends to lead to a reactive (and costly approach).
Practically speaking, this is because IT teams and Senior Managers (FD’s / MD’s) have two very different outlooks. IT Managers and Directors consistently look to reduce the burden of older technology on the business, and so wish to invest in areas that will save them hassle in the long term. Finance and Managing Directors often wish to keep their IT spending minimal while ensuring that a business is able to perform all of their functions effectively.
This naturally causes a feeling that neither side is getting exactly what they want. As both sides fight to meet their own aim, a great amount of time can be wasted in finding a compromise.
For companies who do outsource some (or all of their IT needs) to a third party, the first step can often be the most important. Without outlining a clear focus on the type of approach a company is looking to employ (ie. Stepped or Holistic), communication can quickly break down. In these cases, many companies run into disasters – supported by IT providers who do not fully understand what they are looking to achieve and who do not communicate regularly with the business.
Smaller issues can escalate quickly and a lack of trust can mean that recommendations are not followed through.
The Road to Growth
Today, IT outsourcing depends largely on the provider. There are many great IT outsourcing companies, who are willing to invest time and resources to helping a business improve. In these cases, where a provider invests in their client business from day one, the outcome is often a strong working relationship.
The power of mutual growth should not be undervalued, primarily because it tends towards a more consistent and manageable IT growth strategy. It should be noted that different types of IT outsourcing companies specialise in different company types and sizes.
In many cases, Business owners are well aware of what is required to improve IT within their business. Indeed in most cases the only real factor is trust.
For any companies looking to outsource their IT needs, we are able to offer real advice – having provided this service for almost twenty years.
The foundation of a strong IT outsourcing relationship is trust, mutual trust between two groups who understand what the other is trying to achieve and is accepting in their view of reality. While any number of facts and figures may lead to one decision or another, the key principle of working together effectively comes down to the ability to speak candidly and realise that the other person has good reasons for having particular opinions.
This is not an overnight process, but it begins with a simple conversation covering this topic. In what sense do each party see the way IT is handled within the business. Are they looking for Stepped Change (with a hands-off approach) or a Holistic Approach (with regular involvement from day one)
Speak to us
KJL understand what makes a great IT outsourcing company. Our customers appreciate our level of commitment and our professional attitude to managing the various aspects of IT for them. From a streamlined support process, right through to full IT audits, we would love to know how you manage your IT environments.