This is a copy of a guest article I wrote for Company Connecting on making a difference with IT (Information Technology). It was first published here.
I use an example where cost reduction and performance improvement was possible. There are many small and medium businesses who would benefit from looking at how they do things with IT and wider technologies. In all organisations division into silos can slow progress. What if there was someone or a service that spanned multiple disciplines to allow your organisation to innovate?
I’m happy to chat with anyone looking to improve how they do things. E-mail me here.
The article …
The Reality of Making a Difference – it can reduce costs and increase efficiency
At the start of this “Making a Difference” series of articles, Janice asked whether commercial concerns and ‘making a difference’ are compatible or mutually exclusive. I think they are compatible and believe the best results always come from those who think about the bigger picture, and not the immediate gain.
Since starting out as an Electronic and Information Engineer I’ve always enjoyed solving problems by applying the most appropriate technology. Not the “best”, not the most expensive, not the cheapest, not what I’ve always used before, not the most popular, not the “latest thing”, not the … (you get the picture). In the world of IT there are any number of disciplines and exponential growth in possible solutions.
I use my experience as an in-house development and Technology Manager to analyse and define the problem to be solved, identify the most appropriate solutions and manage delivery of them. In some cases, there is a bonus where the solution to be developed matches my core skills and I get to play with the tech hands-on. In other cases, there are people who can do the work more quickly and cost effectively than I can, and I partner with them to deliver the solution.
It is just my nature to look at things differently and collaborate. I see the way things have been implemented and ask “Why was it done that way? Why not this way? Ooh, what if we did this?” There are many ways to skin a cat as they say, and the default position of each IT company is not necessarily the best fit for the client. I think few would argue against allowing your organisation to look at things without a pre-determined bias to achieve the best outcome. Yet, time and again deals are done with suppliers with a limited pool of potential solutions instead of first determining the most appropriate solution. This is particularly true of small and medium businesses who do not have in-house IT expertise. Typically, they rely on personal recommendations with mixed results which on occasion are disastrous.
When I set-up Analysis Logic four years ago this lack of time or internal ability to analyse potential IT solutions was one of the areas that my research showed as a pain point in small and medium businesses (SMBs). They seemed happy to be spending too much on their IT solutions and services (in reality most didn’t know) yet were unwilling to pay for a consultant to help them do better with their tech, and potentially reduce their costs. I saw a gap and wanted to help. To make a difference like I had as an internal technologist. These SMBs were sceptical about consultants, yet trusting of, or unwilling to change, outsource firms who had overcharged and underperformed. They didn’t know enough to challenge them. So, this was one area that I wanted to help with as part of the Virtual IT Manager/Director service I created. Here the client gets the advantage of an independent experienced person, but only pays for them when needed.
As an example, a company had some problems with IT performance and in getting multiple suppliers to agree on technical issues. They also had a suspicion they were being overcharged but didn’t have the technical background to challenge the suppliers. On recommendation they asked me in to audit their IT systems and spending. They had a turnover of £8M and 50 staff.
During the audit I was astonished at some of the items they were paying for which they simply did not need. In addition, the way the solution was designed, it could never have supported the number of people using the system concurrently that it was supposed to. The supplier didn’t resolve this, and the company had already fallen back to old ways of doing things to get by.
Our audit revealed £9,500 of annual savings from a previous cost of £50,000pa and a path to resolve the performance issues. That’s before considering the efficiency gains of having a performing IT solution. They have been a returning client since and I have advised them further to which they said: “We couldn’t have gone so far, so quickly without your help”.
The client gets a better and cost-effective solution and I enjoy delivering it.