Working with external service providers has become a fact of life. Seven out of 10 (70 percent) IT leaders say they spend up to half of their total budget on external service providers, according to a survey by the CIO Executive Council and IDC.
At the same time, IT departments have an increasing array of technologies, approaches, and delivery models to consider. For data centers, WAN, and beyond, software-defined everything has become the next step to building out infrastructure. Then there’s hyperconvergence to consider. The concept of infrastructure and applications collapsed into a single box is here to stay.
Organizations that navigate this landscape without in-depth knowledge of their internal requirements and the external landscape risk both vendor overload and incomplete solutions.
Take, for example, a company that invests in security offerings reactively (rather than proactively) to protect expanding data and perimeters. In no time, the IT department finds itself with 10 vendors to manage, many of whom overlap in their security functions. Yet significant gaps might remain in the organization’s security posture.
Or consider an organization shopping for new collaboration or workflow solutions. The impetus could be one of the many factors driving IT investment today: leadership mandates to trim costs, mergers or acquisitions demanding integration across global locations, or the competitive pressures spurring the swift adoption of new innovations.
Midway into the process, the IT department makes a discovery: The organization already possessed the functionality it was looking for, in an existing solution. They just hadn’t understood the full extent of this solution’s features or how these features could be put to work in this particular organization.
How can IT leaders avoid outcomes like these and become the master of their technology solutions, rather than the other way around? Instead of engaging in a patchwork of transactions with individual vendors, they can seek the holistic guidance of a trusted advisor.
Seven out of 10 IT leaders say they spend up to half of their total budget on external/service providers.
Think of a trusted advisor as an industry clearinghouse, expert guide, and long-term partner in the digital transformation journey.
How can a trusted advisor help? With many cloud implementations now underway, many organizations today are turning their attention to aging infrastructure. Others are seeking surveying and implementation support for wireless solutions. A trusted advisor with hands-on experience in these areas can help organizations evaluate the range of options.
Those with strong vendor relationships can keep organizations ahead of features and innovations on the horizon. And those who view the customer relationship as a long-term partnership can help organizations match technology solutions to cost, productivity, and growth objectives.
What should organizations look for in such a trusted advisor?
Seek out depth and breadth of expertise
A trusted advisor needs expertise in both technology and a client’s industry. In the public sector, this may involve an in-depth familiarity with politics and paperwork. In a highly regulated industry like finance or healthcare, compliance knowledge is a must.
A trusted advisor should be able to rally subject matter experts, business analysts, solutions architects, network engineers, and others toward recommendations that are vendor-agnostic and respond to the client’s business requirements.
For implementations, just parachuting in a few system engineers isn’t sufficient for today’s complex multi-vendor, multi-national endeavors. An advisor should have resources on the ground, ready to go on-site when needed.
Take a future-oriented focus
There’s been a fundamental shift in the ways organizations consume technology. The traditional focus on buying redundant, long-lasting, highly available infrastructure has now been joined by a focus on spinning up, then discarding resources in an agile, flexible, and swift fashion. A trusted advisor should be knowledgeable in these new resource consumption models and be able to evaluate their customers’ use cases in order to help meet their business objectives.
Whether an organization’s sunsetting a data center, optimizing spend, or refactoring applications, guidance by a trusted advisor can help. With a trusted advisor, organizations can look beyond individual vendors and transactions to navigate an evolving technology landscape, avoid IT redundancy and gaps, while making informed decisions for digital transformations.
With a trusted advisor, organizations can look beyond individual vendors and transactions to navigate an evolving technology landscape.