Five Conversations to Have with Your IT Provider

What type of conversations do you currently have with your IT provider? If you’re looking for more value in these conversations, recognizing the opportunity technology holds for any business is a critical concept to embrace.

As the foundation for growth and productivity, a quality IT service provider will thoroughly understand your business and provide a concise yet holistic view of technology as it applies to your business.

That’s the first part of the equation. In the best relationships, a certain amount of participation is required from both parties. If leadership takes the approach to hand off too significant of a portion of IT services without fully comprehending its implementation, it can be risky. It gives the impression that the IT provider is on a solo mission to merely provide the standard type services to keep the business running.

On the other hand, business leaders who are open to learning more about technology can more readily see how it directly applies to their business. It takes the element of trust for the business leader to the level of collaboration: I have a vested interest. I see the value of technology. I am always ready to have an informed discussion with my IT service provider and be a confident voice in the decision-making process.

If you have a business/ IT provider relationship founded in openness, ongoing technology discussions and collaboration, the results are incremental. It’s the difference between meeting standards and exceeding standards related to efficiency, flexibility, resources and growth.

So what types of things are standard and how can IT help your business exceed the norm?

Economist Insight states that core IT operations account for two-thirds of IT spending. The article asserts that to find money and time for innovation, businesses need to get creative about optimizing their core operations. This translates into opportunity that your business could be realizing with the right IT partner.

At a basic level, a business might have a monthly check-in with their service provider where they recap hardware replacement needs, software updates and the status of transitioning data into a new CRM system.  The discussion revolves around network downtimes, problem-solving, new software implementation and educating and incenting employees to use new systems.

At a heightened level in the business/ IT provider relationship, built on trust and collaboration, you can more effectively address improvements to your core operations. The conversation might cover topics like these:

  1. Where are the largest opportunities to improve processes and directly impact our bottom line in our core areas of operations?
  2. When new software is implemented and new data is accessible, how do we get feedback on its effectiveness from our employees and clients?
  3. What additional trends on data use and communications are we seeing in our industry? Outside of our industry? How can we learn and apply these examples?
  4. How does our unique business proposition align with evolving technology? Where are the opportunities?
  5. What level of risk are we willing to take to apply new technology? What is the impact? How do we plan and allocate resources to make this happen?

The extended conversations are of the kind we aspire to create, right? It all starts with IT service provider/ business leadership trust which then fuels understanding and a vested interest to have meaningful collaboration. From there, the door is wide open for conversations that will take your business to the next level.