Information Technology: As Important to Your Business as Legal or Financial Matters

January 11, 2016 - by Synoptek

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Think about the value your lawyers and your accountants bring to your business. As big data gets bigger and your business becomes increasingly dependent upon information management technology, isn’t it time you engaged a professional IT consulting firm as well?

Would you walk into court and represent your company yourself? Would you perform surgery on a family member? Would you put yourself through all the yearly retraining accountants must complete to stay current on tax codes? Of course not. You trust these precious things to professionals.

The information or data that drives your business is as precious to you as anything can be. When it comes to managing that information, protecting it from damage or theft, and using it to create competitive advantage for your business, turn to an IT professional.

The IT Professional Practice

You select a law firm or an accountancy for the breadth of knowledge possessed by its partners, their track record of success, and the value in time, money, and expertise they bring to your firm. You depend upon them to be as good at what they do as you are at what you do, and to do those things better for you than you could yourself.  Their value should always exceed their fee.

Apply the same logic when selecting a professional IT firm. How many experts do they have on staff? What are their knowledge and skill sets? What companies have they served and how incredible were the results they delivered to them? Can they do a better job of designing, deploying, managing, securing and supporting your information technology (IT) requirements than you could do yourself? Better than their competition?

Are they familiar with the technologies that drive your business? Many IT firms will tell you that they’re “authorized or certified” but that often means they successfully taken tests, or exceeded sales goals. That means nothing to you. Ask for examples of what they’ve accomplished with the technologies that you are concerned about.

The Litmus Tests of IT Professionalism

The IT firm representative who immediately starts talking about her firm’s services, or specific technology solutions they’d like you to consider is not listening.  Listening is the most important thing they can do. You want them to ask about your business, what’s working well and what needs improvement. They should be seeking opportunities to apply technology to resolve problems and improve processes to significantly add to your company’s bottom line. If they’re not asking questions, they’re giving you the answer about whether or not you should waste more time on them.

Another signal is when an IT firm representative starts focusing on components and downtime. They may be seeking a “break-fix” relationship where the goal is to increase hours billed.

Keep listening for “alphabet soup.”Clever but valueless representatives will want to astound you with their breadth of technical knowledge and will confuse you with a dazzling array of acronyms. Don’t bother asking them to define their terms. You don’t need to know about the underlying protocols and technologies that make things work for you.  You need to know what they’ll do for you, and at what ongoing operating cost.

When a professional IT firm representative meets with you, you’ll know them by their questions.They’ll ask about your business. They’ll confirm their understanding of your business operations responses. At times they may discuss possible solutions as concepts, but will most often defer to their firm’s Solution Architects to dive deeper into your requirements and identify the most effective solutions.They’ll ask about the equipment you already have installed to see if they can keep your support burden limited rather than pitch their favorite manufacturer’s latest offerings.

They’ll ask you about your data assets. What information do you keep, how are you currently protecting it, and what is the approximate value of each data asset.  They do this to determine the ratio between the value of the data and the cost of protecting it. This keeps your costs reasonable.

They won’t immediately “pitch” cloud computing or any other popular marketing entities. They’ll talk about the most cost-effective way to deliver the best business outcomes.

Engage a Synoptek Professional

If all of this makes sense to you, give Synoptek a call and ask to meet with one of our IT advisors. You will find each of them to be an excellent first example of the level of professionalism you can expect from every member of our staff. Our goal at Synoptek is to improve your business, help you attain your business objectives and gain a competitive advantage in your marketplace.