Welcome to my website and blog, and to a new kind of IT consultancy for small businesses.
Since starting out as a freelance consultant, I’ve seen a number of small companies facing some challenges in getting the most out of their IT.
Most rely on IT to a greater or lesser extent, and for many in this digital age, it’s at the heart of running the business.
Even though it may be critical to the business, it’s still ultimately just a tool. You simply want it to work, doing what it needs to do to support your business proposition, whether that’s selling stuff, delighting customers or performing a public service.
The challenge is that IT is complicated – it has many different elements that need to be harnessed to maximise value. How can you maximise this value with the minimum cost and risk?
You could outsource the problem. There are plenty of companies out there selling managed IT services, and a lot of them do a good job. But how do you pick the right one? How do it make sure all aspects of your IT service are covered, as you may well find that one provider won’t cover everything? Will they engage with you to deliver an IT strategy that aligns with your business strategy, and if so, can you be sure that it serves your best business interests as well as theirs?
You could insource, by hiring someone full time to manage your IT. Your fixed costs go up, and you may find you need to employ more IT people as your business grows. It’s unlikely they will be able to do the job without engaging third party IT providers anyway, and you then run the risk of ‘buying a dog and barking yourself’, as my old boss used to say. Any shortfall in service from the third party is made up by your in-house IT staff to maintain the service, so you’re paying twice for the same thing.
Or you could bring in an IT management expert to deliver a robust IT framework: an IT strategy aligned to your business goals; a plan to deliver the strategy; the right IT service contracts with the right providers, and tactical improvements to address your immediate pain points.
Once this is in place, with the right IT service contracts, you don’t need the IT expert on your fixed payroll, they’re just on the end of a phone to provide ad-hoc advice and to come back from time to time to nudge the tiller and keep the strategy on track. Someone in your business will need to manage the IT service provider contracts, but they will be managing the contract not the technology – that’s the service provider’s job.
You could get this kind of help from a big consultancy or IT service company, but I believe I offer a more flexible, focused service for small businesses with greater continuity and commitment. If I’ve sold you on this approach for getting the most from your IT, and if you believe I can add value, please get in touch and let’s talk.