As a small business owner, you face numerous challenges, not the least of which is choosing the right IT provider. Business owners often do not understand their true costs stemming from technology. The true costs of IT are not what the company pays to the service provider but far more related to productivity, risk, and ROI. Such an important business decision probably should not be delegated to another team member.
Choosing the right IT provider is a decision that impacts your whole business. Like all business decisions you make, it is important to open up conversation and solicit input from your team, but the final decision should be made at the top level.
The biggest problem I see small businesses face when choosing IT providers to partner with is when the decision is delegated to lower-level employees, they cannot answer the question that matters: How much is this worth to the business?
As a business owner, you often have a much different perspective than your employees about what provides value to your company and its overall direction.
While some decisions can be delegated, when my company needs to source services that impact the company, I find it is most effective for me, as the business owner, to be involved in the discussions. I’ve learned that, while it can be uncomfortable to be involved in business discussions about services I don’t specialize in, that I can’t hide behind a lack of knowledge about a specific area of my business. That’s not what the discussion is about.
When you’re choosing the right IT provider to partner with you, you are talking less about the specialty of the IT provider's service and more about how the service affects your business. Your decision is about profit; it’s about whatever your organizational goals happen to be. Being willing to effectively communicate and talk about the decision strategically, evaluate your real costs, your employees’ productivity, and so on is very powerful, and almost always leads to better partnerships and better business decisions than when the decision is delegated.
As a business owner who both provides services and obtains services, I can see both sides of the decision-making process. As a business owner, I know that I have a different perspective on my business and am ultimately responsible for its strategic direction. I'm going through something like this with our new accounting system. When there are things that do not work up to our standards, I know those issues intimately. I can't run my company effectively without solving those problems.
As an IT provider, the conversations I have with potential clients are as enlightening. Talking to someone in the role of IT manager rarely brings out the true challaneges facing the company, because the IT manager can only see the pain of his own challenges. It’s only when the leadership of the company is involved can we have a genuine conversation about the role IT managed services play in their overall business strategy, because business leaders understand the true costs of the choices they have in IT.
My advice? Think about who is qualified to have a discussion about how an IT provider's services align with the business goals and strategic direction of your company.
Think about how an IT provider is going to impact your business, and consider the importance of understanding the true costs and results of technology on your business. Choosing the right IT provider can have an far-reaching impact on your business. You are the most qualified person to make that decision.
- Choosing the right IT provider is a decision that impacts your whole business.
- When you’re choosing the right IT provider to partner with you, you are talking less about the specialty of the service and more about how the lack of that service affects your business.
- Only business leaders are fully qualified to have a discussion with an IT provider about how the services offered align with the business goals of the company.