It’s an interesting paradigm: the more companies try to simplify things for customers, the more complicated business gets.
With increasingly complex technologies and services come increasingly complex infrastructures to develop and maintain them. At some point, companies need to simplify to remain competitive. One way they can do that is by contracting IT services.
A Tricky Paradigm
There’s a saying among writers that easy writing makes hard reading (bad) while hard writing makes easy reading (good). It’s easy to apply that to business—anything that makes things easier for customers is likely to make things harder for you.
Want better business integration? Expect a more complicated enterprise system. Want a website that’s simpler for customers to use? Expect a more complex backend. Want better customer outreach? Expect a more intricate marketing communications strategy.
Yet that’s the direction things are going. Modern customers are more sophisticated than their predecessors. They know what good products and good services are (i.e., things that make their lives better). And they want it all at the touch of button (i.e., plug-and-play, simple APIs, et cetera).
To make matters worse, customers have the world of businesses to choose from on the internet—they can leave at the click of a mouse. To retain customers, companies need to be on their game more than ever.
As technology becomes more complex, it simplifies our lives—yet the processes necessary to deliver that simplicity become more complex as well.
Complexity can wreak havoc on both the IT and business sides of a company. It means higher operational costs, more work for IT staff and possibly decreased quality of service.
And the more strategic IT becomes, the greater its impact on a company’s competitiveness. In a survey, the Wharton School found that business complexity can require more resources than are good for a company’s bottom line, especially when those resources can serve the company better in other areas.
Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication
The subheading above is a quote from Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s another one, more recent (obviously) and more to the point, from Mary Haskins of SAP:
The benefits of business simplification are actually quite significant: better customer experience, higher profitability, reduced costs and an increase in employee engagement and retention. It minimizes redundancy and improves efficiency, customer satisfaction and retention.
Companies can save big money by contracting IT processes, while improving their businesses overall. In a survey of large companies in various industries (financial services, retail, healthcare, government and more), the IDC found that those companies could save tens of millions of dollars every year (up to $83 million).
One Number to Call
Rather than wrestle with a hydra of services from different vendors, companies should put everything in one place – like contracting IT. By contracting IT to a service provider, the provider has all their vendor information and can handle contacting the various vendors to take care of changes or issues.
That way they have time to focus on other things. That’s an important point. If a company is stuck dealing with IT issues, it can’t deal with customers or products or services—the heart of the business.
With the hydra, you don’t always know who to call even. If it’s something with the phone system, do you call the company providing the automated voice technology or the phone company (or companies)? If it’s a problem with your website, do you call the website designer or the domain provider?
Disaster recovery is a good example. A proper disaster recovery program has a well-thought-out plan, a web of roles and responsibilities and, most importantly, redundancy at every level.
The redundancy alone is a huge commitment. Not only does a system require well-established roles and responsibilities for maintenance and upgrades (to keep the system running and protected against the latest threats), it requires physical redundancies from the smallest cord to the largest server farm.
Just setting that up and maintaining it is a huge investment of time and resources—all for a disaster that may never come. It’s time and resources perhaps better used elsewhere, for higher ROI.
Navigating the Paradigm
As business gets more complex, companies need more simplicity. One way to get it is by contracting processes that are necessary but also ancillary to the heart of a business. Like contracting IT.
At the end of the day, it’s easier and more competitive to contract and have one number to call. One accountable source for all business technologies. A single point of contact, whether it’s for the phone system, printers, business software, email or anything else.