If you’re running the same IT playbook you were using ten years ago, you’re dead in the water and don’t even know it.
A decade ago, if you were charged with leading IT operations for a business (however large), your mandate was clear: you needed to build a large, complex, robust team of people—and secure a suite of technologies—to support the business and help realize revenue. You needed people to build and maintain your company’s website, people to oversee your communications systems, people to manage routers and data centers and network devices—essentially, you needed someone working in-house to manage every single technological aspect of the business’s operations.
A lot of companies, particularly the big companies, took great pride in that approach. They took pride in the size of their IT departments, the numerous technologies they were able to bring in-house, and the myriad certifications they were able to secure.
But while impressive, those behemoth IT departments were also extremely vulnerable. If even one or two key employees quit or transitioned, then the business was left—very suddenly—with a massive, unwieldy operation that nobody knew how to drive. On top of that, the whole operation was so large and complex that the business could not efficiently adapt to changes and disruptions in the marketplace.
Still, for many years, that approach remained the status quo. But everything has changed in the past two years. COVID-19 challenged our way of thinking more than anything else in recent history, including the way we think about IT, and now the truth is clear.
The old playbook needs to be thrown out the window. Nearly every single aspect of a traditional IT department can and should be entrusted to someone who can do it better and faster than your company can.
Take communications systems. Why would your company ever want to pay to own and operate its own phone system? In addition to paying for its maintenance, you’d have to hire people to manage the system and do all the associated heavy lifting.
No—the empowering thing to do is give a contract to another company that is the best in the world at what they do. A company whose sole focus is to build the greatest phone system ever invented for business users. All that company does is live and breathe phone systems: they identify trends in that space faster than you ever could, and they’re more on top of potential innovations and updates than your team ever would be.
As a result, their platform would do things that you could never dream of incorporating into your in-house system. On top of that, that company would take care of maintaining and updating the system, creating a disaster recovery plan, enhancing the customer experience, and ensuring that the system adheres to key regulatory compliances. And they would do all of it at a scale and speed that your business could never hope to match.
That is the beauty of the as-a-service (aaS) model. Whatever your company needs—web development, data storage, network management, cybersecurity—there is a specialized service provider out there that can deliver it more efficiently and to a standard that your in-house team would have a difficult time matching (especially with all of the other responsibilities on their plate).
We do this all the time in our day-to-day lives—think of the landscaper you hired to cut and trim your entire yard in fifteen minutes so you didn’t have to spend an hour doing the same thing—but for some reason, we don’t always apply that practice to the business world. And we should: on top of giving you back time, energy, and resources that you can use to go to market and drive results for your customers, hiring a service provider means that you can avoid the headache of finding, recruiting, training, compensating, and ultimately losing IT talent in today’s uber-competitive marketplace.
And it’s not just the business that sees results—your team also benefits. Once you start delegating your basic IT needs, you free up the people in your department so they can focus on collecting data and analyzing those insights to help the company make intelligent business decisions. That, in turn, improves employee satisfaction and customer service—and improves your bottom line, since you will have the latest information about your products and how your customers are interacting with the business.
If you don’t adapt to this reality, you’re a goner. Having the right technology in place and being able to retain and engage employees has never been more vital. Taking advantage of the as-a-service model really is the difference between being good and being great—being flexible, efficient, and cutting-edge.
No—I’ll take it one step further. Embracing the as-a-service movement could be the difference between your company being around five years from now and it being out of business. And if you’re a CIO or CTO, it could be the difference between you being seen as a leader in the industry, as a visionary at your company, and not having a job at all.
But don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. That’s where trusted advisors come in—their primary objective is to help you make an informed decision about which technology partner is the right one for your organization and its needs. They can help you navigate the ever-growing as-a-service marketplace and make sure that whatever service or provider you adopt will enhance your existing business and systems rather than overcomplicating or inhibiting them.
So rip up that playbook from 2005. Find a trusted advisor, secure some third-party providers, streamline your team—and then watch as both your business and your customers start seeing the results.
Drew Lydecker is the cofounder and president at AVANT, a global leader in powering next-generation technology decisions. Drew comes from a family of entrepreneurs who have continually pushed the envelope in disrupting the status quo by focusing on high-value and high-touch solutions.
Drew built AVANT to fill a void in the market created by the accelerating pace of change in IT. AVANT’s market research, resources, and technology helps trusted advisors support their customers to achieve their business transformation objectives by navigating the ever-changing IT landscape. From complex cloud design to global wide-area network deployments, AVANT empowers trusted advisors and clients with access to the global marketplace of cloud, colocation, and telecom service providers that are disrupting today’s IT landscape. Learn more about Drew here.