There have been a few serious accidents with light planes lately and this got me thinking about flying, probably because that is what I spend my weekends thinking about too.
When we go on a long flight between cities we expect two pilots up the front. As we don’t want to see big planes involved in accidents.
It is not just the pilot that we are relying on when we fly a commercial airline. First obvious bit is we rely on a co-pilot to assist when there is a heavy workload, assist in any emergency, or take over if the pilot falls ill mid-flight. We are also relying on the in-flight service crew who are all trained in emergency procedures should they be required. We then rely on a host of ground services from the check in to the boarding gate to the airport security staff and the ground crew who ensure the plane is fuelled and prepared for flight, baggage handlers and aircraft maintenance people.
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There are also IT people ensuring the ticketing systems are functional and that the travel agencies traditional and digital get the information flow right and so it goes. It is obviously a huge industry with multiple skill sets being used.
So it makes absolutely no sense to asses our travel costs and follow the logic of, ‘I am now spending $1,000,000 per annum on travel so I will hire a pilot’. Even at $10,000,000 we don’t hire a pilot. So why do we take the most complex business feature in the world, IT, and hire an IT guy when our expenditure goes over a single person’s salary?
Could it be that those making the hiring decision fail to appreciate how hard it is to collect sufficient IT skills to service the simplest of businesses?
According to Gartner, the analysts of the IT industry, over the next seven years every business will become an IT business as technology takes over every aspect of our businesses. Those who lead IT in their industry will lead their industry.
For small businesses this will mean partnering with IT innovators to resolve business problems efficiently to ensure success of their core business. Having your IT resources internally focused is likely to impede this innovation.
My recommendation is that small business people need to learn the skill of managing multiple external IT resources across the areas of Web, Social, Mobility, Information, infrastructure and security amongst others. If one company can cover two or more of these aspects that will simplify the management load, however a company that covers all aspects of technology is likely to be large and expensive and would pose too much risk to your business as a single point of external control and a single point of failure. Hence a balanced well managed approach to IT is essential.
Work hard to keep your IT services balanced between in house and outsourced. Seek external advice often to ensure you remain competitive.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?