As we all know, IT services are a lifeline for most businesses today, kind of like oxygen for all of us. Unfortunately, many business leaders still see IT as that unavoidable cost center versus a tool that can enable processes and add efficiency when properly planned. All too often I am observing constraints within a business that could have easily been avoided if it weren’t for “reactionary” IT. Technology is important, and like people and oxygen, as soon as it becomes strained, panic will set in.

My challenge to clients is often to consider a new paradigm, regardless of their size or industry, and think of themselves as a technology company that does X (X of course being the nature of the business they conduct).  Using this mindset, a company is more likely to place a much higher focus on IT and coincidently gain the greatest return on their investments in technology as they implement it strategically into their business.  They realize that IT is not an unavoidable cost center, but a true enabler of business, and likewise can give them many competitive edges that they did not have before.  No company is too small to adopt this paradigm.

A reactionary company will often be the company that has an urgent constraint or business goal and they look to some sort of IT product to fix the problem, while the “technology company” will identify this constraint or gap as an opportunity.  They also take this opportunity to identify other related gaps or constraints and strategically develop solutions that provide not only a solution to the identified challenge, but provide additional opportunities that help the business run more efficiently or provide additional services to their clients.  IT is not a cost center to a company with a “technology company” mindset, but an investment.

I frequently see clients trying to fit the “square peg through the round hole” when it comes to their past technology procurements and expect results out of the products that while attainable could have been much easier with a bigger vision during the preliminary stages of planning and implementation.  This is often evident when reviewing a network infrastructure that has grown reactionary to the business needs, relying on product after product to deliver a necessary service or mask existing problems with the infrastructure.

Think big from the beginning, no matter how small you think you are and regardless of what you will “never” do.  Large enterprise environments use the solutions, concepts, and practices they do for a reason, and it’s not because they are big.  Successful enterprises deploy strategic solutions that can scale and meet multiple needs according to the companies’ long term strategies and consider those solutions in future strategies as well.  Small to midsize businesses will benefit most when adopting strategic plans, implementing well thought out enterprise class solutions, scaled down to realistically fit the current and short term future needs of the organization.

Contact us for more information on how RSM US can help with your enterprise IT planning.