The #1 Way Top Performing Companies Are Managing Their (Apple) IT
by Elaine Evans, on Dec 2, 2019 3:01:57 PM
While there are a bunch of things to consider when putting together an IT management strategy, one stands out from the rest. What's the number one way top performing companies are managing their IT?
They create an IT Strategy
Companies that see a large amount of growth in their business are often presented with new challenges around how to create a scalable business. The highly agile, brute force approach becomes more and more problematic as the number of team members and clients grow.
Communication and collaboration become challenging, your key players get bogged down by an increasing number of tasks and requests that are not their main job, the infrastructure used to run the business becomes complex -- almost out of nowhere, on its own.
All of a sudden, you look at your beautiful garden and weeds have popped up everywhere. Now, you have to not only start pulling them, but also figure out how to prevent them from popping right back up.
Yet, many top performing firms are able to move past (or get in front of) these growing pains. So, what are they doing?
We thought it would be helpful to do a series of blogs that shed a little more light on certain practical things that top performing companies do to manage Apple IT. Springboard helps Apple-centric businesses, so our conversation will center around the Apple ecosystem, but hit agnostic areas often. We recognize that larger companies may even have a smaller Apple ecosystem they are responsible for supporting, but don't currently have a strategy in place for that subset of users.
We will be releasing more "best practices," and since it's technology, the topics may be updated in the future. However, we are starting by concentrating on the first (and most important) way that top firms are dealing with IT to start:
They see IT as critical to their growth plan and have a strategy/dedicated resources applied to it.
As a leader in your organization, you should recognize the importance of leveraging IT. Having great software and hardware in place is lovely, but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t thinking about how to automate upkeep and prevent issues from occurring.
The Risks of Not Having an IT/Technology Strategy
Top performing agencies understand the risks of not having a plan and the benefits of applying resources to manage the IT strategy. Still, some people may not have thought about what the risks are, so they are worth briefly laying out:
| 1. Security
The average cost to a business of a single stolen laptop is $47,000....80% of breaches occurred from patches that were ten or more days overdue... You can imagine there are endless stats like this. These are preventable if you have a proper IT strategy in place. The silliest thing you can do is ignore them because it hasn’t happened to you yet.
| 2. Time
22 minutes a day (two weeks a year) are wasted by employees on IT related tasks. Also, is it really the best use of your developer’s time to set up someone’s computer? Does the principal need to be learning and administrating an IT system that he/she will need to stay current on constant updates?
|3. Employee Happiness
Employees love to be able to do their work. When they are using sluggish tools, the network is jittery or they have to spend their own time self-solving issues with Microsoft office, they tend to get frustrated. Investing in something that prevents issues from popping up and also gives them a pathway when they run into an issue shows that you care about their work environment.
If you are stuck using old tools, they slow down productivity and innovation. They are killing your competitive edge. Additionally, your clients may have certain requirements that your current IT isn’t able to guarantee. Many companies require that companies have the ability to keep personal devices off of their network or enforce putting a passcode on their computers before they become your client. You have to be able to prove that you can do/are doing it.
At the end of the day, all of these are essentially risking the same thing: your organization's profitability.
So, there's established risk to not investing in a strategic IT plan, but obviously getting there comes with obstacles.
Obstacles to Having Good IT in SMBs
Let’s imagine the scenario most small to medium businesses are in. As an SMB, your IT needs and strategy are incredibly important to the productivity, growth, and security of your organization. However it's not always simple to put one in place because of multiple obstacles:
1. Managing, much less hiring for internal IT is usually out of your wheelhouse.
2. You are getting one (or two) person(s) to handle a multitude of disciplines such as: networks/wireless, device management, break-fix for hardware, software and SaaS (troubleshooting), servers, cloud services like AWS, Azure, Office 365 or G Suite, backups and disaster recovery, antivirus/endpoint protection...there’s more, but I think this list is long enough already.
3. They are going to be so busy, keeping up with training and certifications is near impossible (although vital in the IT world) and is an additional cost.
4. Lastly, when they go on vacation or get sick, you are potentially left with no support or the need to bother them in their personal time.
Where and how do you start forming an IT strategy?
- Do an assessment of your current IT infrastructure (or have someone help you) to understand where you are now.
- What hardware is your org using?
- What software/services is your org using?
- Do a "start-stop-change" exercise about your current IT
- Have a brainstorming session with different internal stakeholders to understand how you envision your technology aiding you to your organization’s goals:
- Talk about the timeline in the same way you talk about your business’s goals, but start from the end (ten-year, five-year, year, quarter)
- Be sure to discuss any risks of NOT addressing/using a certain technology within a certain timeframe
- Be prepared for people to have different ideas on how you would use technology, what’s important and what’s not
- Agree upon and assign the technology goals (SMART goals) to individuals who are responsible for seeing them through
- Address these regularly depending on timeline and priority. Address the one, five and ten year goals during your quarterly and yearly strategic meetings.
- Be prepared to alter your technology goals when it makes sense.
Gartner has the “Run, Grow, Transform” model that they recommend for CIOs. Once you have a strategy in place, you can use this model to ensure that you are responsibly keeping the business operational, iterating on current practices to make them incrementally better and also looking around the corner to innovate so that you have a leg up on the competition.
Deloitte also has a great article that shares the perspective of “Following the Money” that differentiates the key differences in the “Baseline Organizations” and the “Digital Vanguards.” If you read the article, you can start to see that talking about, prioritizing, and measuring your IT strategy are the key themes that pull certain organizations ahead.
No matter what you decide, it having a plan for your IT strategy is key to becoming a top performing firm. You can declutter some of the biggest challenges you are facing with IT and create something scalable.
Stay tuned for our continuing posts in our “Best Practice” series that takes you through each of these important areas.
Do you need help with execution? Great news! Springboard IT can help. Contact us so we can chat about how we work with organizations to put these best practices in place.