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  • Refocus Your Time and Attention with IT Outsourcing

    Refocus Your Time and Attention with IT Outsourcing

    If you are like the majority of financial executives, you are spending too much time on your company’s IT functions. In fact, according to CFO magazine surveys, execs are spending almost 20 percent of their time dealing with issues that could easily be handled by IT outsourcing. If you find that you are spending a significant amount of your time dealing with IT issues, while at the same time additional responsibilities are being added to your job function, it may make sense to look into IT support companies that can provide IT consulting and IT outsourcing. That way, executives can refocus their attention on more strategic initiatives within their job description.

    Ok. So where do you start?

    Step 1: Assess the Status Quo
    Begin with what you already have. Define the business IT needs, and then compare those requirements with the people, systems and equipment currently in place. This includes capacity analysis, software licensing, a technology road map for software and infrastructure, security issues and an approach to addressing the increased frequency of patches and upgrades. Additionally, you want to make sure that your staff has the necessary skills to maintain the ongoing network integrity. These skill sets should be outlined in the organization’s business plan and specific job descriptions. They should be based on the best practices of network management, equipment repair, user support / help desk, planning and budgeting.

    Step 2: Choose the Right IT Outsourcing Partner
    Ideally, your IT outsourcing partner should be committed to quality and your success. They should also have an established business plan that is a good match for your organization’s corporate culture. Here are a few criteria for long-term IT outsourcing success:

    • Establish expectations for pricing and delivery. The model should be flexible enough to accommodate changing business needs.
    • Ensure that the IT outsourcing partner will reduce costs while improving the integration of technology into business processes.
    • Facilitate strong communications and reporting consistently.
    • Manage or create processes that will facilitate the transition of services, stabilization of the relationship and the incorporation into the business planning activities.
    • Determine which processes cross all functional teams and align with best practices. Fix any that do not.

    The pricing model and related risk sharing are key to the overall success of the integration. Pricing models vary based on the level of results guaranteed. Make sure you clearly understand the IT outsourcing partner’s accountability. Fixed fee arrangements appear to have an advantage over time-based agreements.

    Step 3: Establish a Strong Relationship with Good Communication
    It is important to select an IT consulting partner with extensive experience in transitioning customers into their IT support model. A strong management team with leadership experience in this arena is a must. You must also allow sufficient time for expectations to align between your company and your IT support partner, particularly if there has been a transfer of infrastructure or employees.

    Expect some internal resistance to the change in IT operations – this is normal. To ease the transition, communicate early and often about why the change will ultimately benefit the organization and how.

    Step 4: Reassess
    The information provided by your IT consulting partner must be valuable and actionable. Additionally, you need the ability to access and interpret key data regarding the costs and service levels provided by the IT support company. You will need this information to align with key issues in your business plan as well as to gain an understanding of the cost drivers and limits of operational processes. If you lose sight of these items, you lose control of your organization.

    IT outsourcing is not a decision to be made lightly, and it certainly isn’t the right choice for every organization or executive. However, most financial executives need all the help they can get, and can easily and effectively benefit from partnering with an IT support company and IT outsourcing. Once your company finds the right IT consulting partner, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

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