"How might we?" questions are extremely common for a good reason: they have a way of helping people to see beyond the here and now, to imagine new possibilities that often turn out to be entirely achievable.
So, if you're stuck in a rut with your service provider where you only hear from them when it's time to renew the contract, it's time to ask: "How might we have a more rewarding relationship with our IT partners?"
To help you think it through, here are some of the ways our customers have used us to their advantage:
1. Check your thinking. Before making any significant decision about your IT strategy or technology changes, run it past your IT partner. Coming in with an external viewpoint, they may be able to spot inconsistencies, provide important information, apply lessons from similar experiences with other customers or help you clarify your thinking reducing risk and time to value.
2. Fill in your skills gaps. Sometimes, you may need temporary support while you onboard new resources or train existing staff; you may decide there are entire skillsets it makes more sense to out task. Either way, an IT partner with experience across many different customers or verticals can bring strong skills and knowledge to round out your team.
3. Shake things up. There are times when change is needed, and everyone knows it’s necessary, but fear of conflict or disruption keeps things frozen. This is not a bad thing – maintaining good workplace relationships is a vital part of business success. Bring in the outsiders to ask the awkward, disruptive questions and let them take the flak.
4. Redeploy your resources. It gets said a lot, but it bears repeating assigning people with years of experience in your business to keep the lights on work is a waste of a valuable resource. Let someone else take care of the daily grind, and you’ll find those unique ideas can sprout when people with both technical skill and business experience have space and time to be creative.
5. Face your fears. What keeps you up at night? Often these are critically important issues, but it’s a rare organisation that affords the space to discuss them. Using an external partner can help you collate ideas and resources to confront the hidden challenges.
A good IT provider can be like an old-fashioned family doctor in some ways:
No matter how difficult or embarrassing you find your situation, they’ve almost certainly seen worse; they’re skilled at diagnosing problems, and they’re able to prescribe remedies that have a good chance of actually working.
To make the relationship work, of course, one has to be prepared to listen: When the doctor diagnoses incipient disease and recommends dietary and lifestyle changes, there’s little point in getting into a huff about it. As IT providers, we’ve certainly seen this kind of behaviour when people would rather forgo improvements, even ones that save them a lot of money, than admit there might be a better way to do things. Fortunately, that’s rare.
Kyle Davies - Practice Lead, Integrated Technology Architecture
For any enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 020 7791 6000