There is a revolution underway around many new technologies from cloud, to 3D printing, mobility, to data analysis and business intelligence.
Similarly, there is a revolution going on in the provision of IT services to the SME community. I am seeing this as a provider in the market, but I wonder if the clients have noticed?
A few years ago it was okay for your IT guy to just upgrade your server, so the new one was pretty much like your old one only it had more capacity and speed and newer versions of the systems and tools. Today we need to consider the options of cloud, virtualisation, centralised storage on SANs and many other factors even for relatively small businesses that could not afford this technology a few years back.
Right now there is a lot of price pressure on services in any industry, from lawyers at the top of the professional services stack to cleaners at the labour end of the stack, to drive productivity and reduce prices. Margins are being squeezed and so is performance. In IT this has a serious impact, training budgets are being reduced and certainly the small operators are working longer hours to earn their money and are not keeping up with the technology trends, industry certifications and opportunities created by new solutions in the market place.
What was new two years ago such as apps for devices, mobility, mobile device management, cloud solutions is now all just part of the kit of the IT guy and has become what we refer to as a hygiene factor; it is a skill the company has to have to be able to say we are IT professionals.
This is leaving a lot of space for the solid performers in the industry to offer clients and prospects leading solutions that, once proposed, lock out the competitors. So if you are one of those IT companies that has fallen behind and needs to update, it is time to plan and budget for the training and study. If you are one of the clients of these laggard firms, it may be time to find a new up-to-date organisation to provide your next IT strategy review.
This is not a time to be depending on old technology, as the rate of change is intensifying, leading to some great business opportunities to do things better, smarter and cheaper. IT is a massive cost to any business, making sure you spend the IT dollar well is key to your success. So do seek a provider with the hygiene factors in place.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?