Blog Written by Conor Smith, CEO of First Call

For 20 years I’ve been guiding companies and helping them implement IT.  The expectations of business leaders has evolved.  The short version looks like this: 

  • Accounting needs a computer. 
  • Get a few more of those things. 
  • Let’s network them.
  • Technology is a necessary evil.
  • We need technology in our jobs.  
  • We couldn’t do what we do without technology. 
  • The world has changed and we need to evolve.  

Small and medium organizations are without a doubt, as Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya recently was quoted saying, “in an era of dependence as it relates to IT.” 

I don’t think many small business owners or CEO’s would argue that point.  Especially following the demands that COVID is putting on IT, voice, and other digital systems.    

IT is the hardware, software and services we need to do our jobs.  We are just as dependent on it here in states like Montana as organizations are in California or New York. 

And just as the frame of reference and expectations around computers and IT have changed over the last two decades so has the view of IT people.  That evolution: 

  • Retail guy/gal 
  • Fix-it guy/gal 
  • Upgrade guy/gal 
  • Networking guy/gal 
  • Help Desk guy/gal 
  • Managed Services Provider guys/gals 

The engagement IT providers get from clients today is less around “I need you to fix this” or “I need your to upgrade that” its: 

  • “I need to get technology better aligned with our operations.”  
  • “I need to modernize and improve our flexibility given all the demands on the business and our people” 
  • “We need help managing risk both in terms of reliability and cybersecurity.  Things need to work with as few issues as possible and we can’t get hit by ransomware or some other attack.” 

We already know we are dependent on IT: personally and professionally. That being clear many organizations have not revisited their expectations of their IT Partner.  That’s like saying I am dependent on healthy food but I’m still doing my grocery shopping at the quickie mart! 

Leaders need to look for IT partners with comprehensive capabilities in: 

  • Sourcing the technology you need at fair prices: hardware and software. 
  • IT help desk and support. 
  • Establishing standards and aligning you with them. 
  • IT, Cloud, Mobile, and Voice technologies. 
  • Cybersecurity: workforce, compliance, detection/response/recovery 
  • Your industry, its typical functional demands, and experience helping companies like yours modernize and align technology and operations. 
  • Driving down the number and severity of issues.   
  • Managing risk factors. 
  • Workforce development to help your team leverage modern communication and collaboration platforms (hint – think beyond email….) 

Organizations need to raise their expectations of both IT and their IT partner in order to thrive in challenging times.  The conversations and relationship you have with your IT partner should be less technical and more outcome-based.  The IT function shouldn’t be an “IT Guy or Gal” it should be a team of IT professionals working with you to ensure you have what you need today and are heading in the right strategic direction as you move forward. 

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