Mark Petty

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Mark Petty: Sales & Marketing Director at Littlefish



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Why today’s C-Suite wants its CIO to outsource IT support

01/06/2018


From service desk to IT optimisation ‒ today’s C-suite understand the business value that IT outsourcing brings.

IT is the engine that keeps your business moving, supporting operations and providing a platform for new developments. And if your business is serious about achieving digital transformation, that IT engine becomes even more important. However, serious problems can arise when basic servicing work to keep the engine running ‒ otherwise known as maintaining legacy systems ‒ gets in the way of the innovation work that will move the business forward.

The pressures of now

Unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, some CIOs have fallen behind the curve. The constant battle to keep the lights on means that they are unable to identify new technologies that will benefit their business – or how they can be integrated.

The out of shape CIO never intended to end up where they find themselves now – but the pressures of ‘now’ means that strategic projects often get pushed to the back of the queue, where they may stay indefinitely.

The pressures of the C-suite

The C-suite knows that technology is the key to taking the business forward. They recognise the crucial role IT plays in making information flow around the business and out to customers in the most effective and efficient way possible. Today’s business leaders are unquestionably more sophisticated in their understanding of IT than they were in the past. But ‒ and here’s the key point ‒ for the most part they remain reliant on the CIO to lead the way. So if the CIO is under conflicting pressures, then strategic direction is likely to wobble.

IT strategy is crucial for addressing low productivity, revenue targets, and generally improving the bottom line. It’s also increasingly seen as an important protection against reputational damage. What’s not to love about IT strategy?

CIOs know this of course. What’s happening, though, is that legacy systems are swallowing up resources from those strategic initiatives that promise business growth and customer engagement. And even when exciting projects do get off the ground, they often call for more work on legacy infrastructure, to bring it up to the level required to interoperate with the new technologies. The modern business needs to do more than simply have systems available – these systems must also work together efficiently.

Outsourcing ‒ the pressure buster

Partnering with a reputable third party allows you to outsource responsibility for the day-to-day issues that continue to drain a significant proportion of your resources. Choose the right partner and you’ll be giving your systems the loving care they need, as well as helping to manage the broader risks of your IT operations. This should give you increased capacity to deal with outages, performance bottlenecks, or interim support during upgrades and deployments.

Engaging an IT partner that can relieve you of these burdens will free the CIO to refocus their efforts on driving the business forward, not just maintaining the status quo.

The benefits of outsourcing arrangements accrue over time. Initially, an experienced third party can be used to provide remote support and management capabilities to oversee basic IT support and operations.

What follows from this is even better, and is why the C-suite will support your outsourcing arrangement.

First, the CIO is progressively freed up to focus on the more strategic aspects of their role, helping to meet the challenges that the C-suite faces.

Second, as you know, every business and its needs are different. Your IT systems require bespoke support provisions to ensure you get the advice and assistance you need, when you need it. Choose the right third-party provider, and they will add more value over time as they take the trouble to get an in-depth understanding of your business. And when they do that they can help you to optimise your IT, not just keep it running at a basic level.

IT optimisation ensures that systems are configured for greater efficiency and helps to reduce management overheads. Being ‘always on’ is a fundamental tenet of corporate IT, and that can put a real strain on what is usually a portfolio of diverse technologies that now have to be orchestrated to speak with each other round the clock. It’s at this point that the C-suite sits up and takes notice ‒ as IT operations have moved beyond merely keeping the lights on.

Your IT partner can also become an important moderating force. Their objectivity combined with knowledge of your business, its processes, and goals can cut through internal politics, re-focusing their activities (and yours) on what matters most – your customers.

At an administrative level, outsourcing will make your life easier by helping to regulate expenditure. With a fixed-price support contract in place, you can accurately forecast costs. And the savings realised through reduced recruitment costs and management spend can be reinvested in other strategic projects.

Why the C-suite wants you to outsource IT

The right IT support provider places a designated team of experts at your disposal ready to assume responsibility for the day-to-day running of your IT infrastructure. Perhaps more important still, this team, as it gets to know your business, can help optimise your systems for the transformation programme that will secure your future. And, of course, CIOs can spend more time where their experience really counts ‒ on IT strategy. That is why today’s C-suite is so open to the notion of IT outsourcing.



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