Many companies exist, who can sell technology. Fewer of these can provide solutions to company IT needs - and answering the many questions posed by IT requirements, upgrades and systems development . It is vital to achieve a holistic approach to technology; and depending on your size and needs, that can mean anything from complete outsourcing to being a friendly voice at the end of the phone line. Thus, before you buy, read on: the information you find here is based on many years of experience, and should inform your IT strategy as your company grows. IT Strategy Development It is important to work with IT companies who understand totally that IT exists to support the goals of your business- not the other way round! That's easy to state on the face of it, but keeping your business and it's supporting technology in line day-in, day-out can be a challenge.
In a nutshell, two major themes appear over an over again, when the subject of IT Strategy is raised. IT departments often complain that purchases are made on a cost, rather than value. Business owners complain of spiralling technology costs without visible benefit. These are common battles, and are symptomatic of a piecemeal approach to technology. If you want to avoid that clash of wills, you need effective communication between the business and the IT functions.
The reference point for that communication is some sort of IT strategy - a plan in which both business and IT stakeholders participate, and which can be referred to and amended as priorities change.The burning question: How Can This Be Done? IT Strategy Development: A starting Point Here are just some of the questions along the way to establishing an IT strategy. Where are we going as a business? How do we want to be organised to get there? What information/applications do we need? What infrastructure will help deliver our core functions to our users and clients? What sort of support will keep the whole thing going? How often does all this need to be reviewed? Obviously, these questions must be tailored to your business; but for the majority of enterprises, large and small, , however they're dressed up, they're the same questions.
Answering the Questions Ideally, the process of answering these questions should include the support of an aribter: an independent facilitator to this discussion. Irrespective of the size of your organisation, a technically knowledgeable outsider, with experience enough to understand your IT needs, and focussed enough to understand your business requirements, is well worth serious consideration. Above all, such a person can add a vital layer of impartiality, so resourcing arguments need never boil over. Implementation If considering a holistic IT strategy made you ask yourself some hard questions, that's a good thing. But implementing that strategy can be even harder.
Here again, an independent facilitator with knowledge of a range of software products and solutions, can support the straightest-line purchasing solution, and can also provide a contracted service level so that, whatever is provided by way of systems solutions, you will also benefit from a fully-supported implementation. This would include getting solutions which are workable rather than merely elegant, recommending solutions which work day-to-day for your staff and clients, offering solutions which also take into account your existing IT: (very few IT projects exist in isolation from what was there before), operating to sound budgetary limits and demonstrating a clear return on investment, as well as keeping your business running whilst work is progressing As you can imagine, in the real world there are tradeoffs to be made. Navigating those questions is what outside consultancy expertise is all about. From initial strategy development though to pragmatic, workable implementation plans, expert consultancy ensures a successful navigation through the purchasing maze and ensures you make an informed choice for your money.
Jimi St. Pierre writes for several Office IT Equipment suppliers in the UK, including office IT systems supplier Officemagic. The Officemagic range of IT products including desktops, laptops and peripherals can be found at => http://www.officemagic.co.uk