How is the support person with which you deal? Are they speaking to you in a way that makes sense to you rather than “techno gibberish?” Are they pleasant? Were they cordial when you spoke with them and did they thank you for entrusting them to help resolve your issue?
Are your Windows updates and anti-virus signatures applied? Are your systems responsive? What about your “non PC” systems? Are they current on patches? Is your system always available when you need to meet those critical deadlines?
You better be able to answer “yes” to all of these questions and more. However, even if you can, that is just not good enough. It is merely your IT service provider’s permission to play.
How is your IT service provider ensuring that your systems are always up to date? Yes, some of these can happen automatically and in the background but many of them can’t and require negotiated outages to perform.
Who in your IT service provider’s organization is responsible for these updates? Is it a support person? If so, is their availability to perform this important work compromised by the amount of support-related activity they may have with other clients? Maybe it’s a project resource. Do they have other projects that contend for their time to look at YOUR environment?
Either way, isn’t this reactive and not the proactivity you heard about?
These are the types of things that should be happening on a consistent basis, but as good as they are, they are still not enough and represent the lowest common denominator of requirements for IT service providers. While they are all good things, in and of themselves, they are not indicators that providers are adding value. Rather, they are prerequisites to creating a valuable and long lasting business partnership.
Technology does not exist on its own. Whether it’s the latest cool game, social networking sites, or the tools necessary to drive the business with which you work, there is a business behind IT and it affects us all on a daily basis. Business does not exist without IT and IT does not exist without business.
An IT service provider MUST map business initiatives to technology in a way that the organization can easily understand. But again, this is not enough.
This cannot be a one-time mapping but rather needs to be a continuous process. By working with organizations to jointly identify target standards and articulating the BUSINESS impact of meeting or not meeting those standards, organizations begin to gain a clear understanding of how IT can further enable their business. Perhaps more importantly, there is a clear understanding of the BUSINESS impact of not meeting those standards and making those investments.
When you combine “independent” proactivity to ensure that your systems are current and lie within communicated standards while maintaining an IT strategy that DIRECTLY maps to BUSINESS impact, an IT service provider is maximizing its value add.
How is value being added in your organization or is someone just asking for “permission to play?” Contact The TNS Group to learn more about what it takes to truly be proactive.
By: John Stroili, Chief Operating Officer, The TNS Group