Ask IT leaders – regardless of the size of their company – how they manage system upgrades or, worse yet, entire transformations and you’ll often hear a frustrated exhale. “I’m too busy fighting the last war to figure out how I’m going to lay out the strategy for the next one.”
As an IT leader, you’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone. Surveys of CIOs or CTOs representing the largest organizations down to single-person shops have shown that tasks required to maintain current infrastructure – “fighting the last war” – are the biggest drag on IT’s ability to improve both the core and future-state functions of a business.
Basic maintenance, which includes staying current on patches, scheduling and testing backups, and maintaining defenses against cyber threats, requires constant attention. What’s more, the consequences of a deficiency in any one of those areas impacts business in a material way. Fines for regulatory non-compliance, cyber compromise due to a missed patch and malware, and limited recourse in the event of a catastrophe are all bad. Whether it’s your brand or your wallet, and sometimes both, you will take a hit if basic IT maintenance is performed poorly.
Think about it: Does it make sense to spend time and dollars on tools to overhaul your car, only to have questions about whether or not you did the job right? Okay, maybe you can figure out how to flash the ECU to get more power, but can you do a full service of your brakes with high assurance that they’ll work when you stop short to avoid a deer darting across the road?
Information technology maintenance is no different.
Leveraging a partner to manage IT maintenance provides a business a higher level of assurance:
- Security patches are up to date helping manage risk from known threats.
- Anti-virus tools are monitored consistently (often 24x7x365) to identify malware without delay.
- Data backups are tested often providing peace of mind in the event of a disaster or a ransomware attack.
- The IT fleet is monitored helping maintain end user compliance with corporate security policies.
- Performance monitoring identifies glitches and faults early preventing larger problems.
The fact is, nothing about the preventative maintenance you’re doing internally is more compelling than the way your competitors do it. Tasking internal IT with basic fleet maintenance takes time away from those same resources to focus on technology improvements to systems and infrastructure that is critical to your core business.
Frankly, if your competitors are outsourcing IT maintenance they have a competitive advantage. There is a high opportunity cost to IT maintenance when managed internally. Competitors that can focus on using IT to get to their desired future state don’t lose on the burden of that cost. Instead, they capitalize on their ability to focus on what matters.
Imagine if your IT was focused on improving the technology that runs your business. How might that increase your company’s ability to deliver services to your customers?
Think about the productivity impact of technology simply working--all the time. If internal IT can break the shackles of maintenance they can focus on making sure end users are better supported, who in turn, can better support your customers. Well managed IT maintenance eliminates poorly performing tech as a limiting factor on productivity and it is a tremendous help managing risk. And, in the event a critical system does go down, internal IT has resource availability to resolve the issue more quickly.
The benefit of an IT department focused on strategic initiatives is clear. More productive users with access to better tech ultimately deliver better service to customers.
When that starts to happen, congratulate yourself. IT has transformed into a competitive differentiator for your business.