The Tech Deficit is now an agenda item for many European businesses. This is not surprising with 8 out of 10 IT decision makers believing their technical infrastructure will require evolution over the next two years to keep up with business demands.
The Tech Deficit is the gap between what businesses would like to achieve and what their IT infrastructure can support. It has brought into focus the question of how to meet daily operational demands and also adapt to future business requirements while restricted by limited resources and static budgets?
This gap has surfaced due to the additional demands being placed on technology infrastructure. Together with cost pressures, this has resulted in businesses across Europe looking to move to more flexible, service-driven deployment models, such as cloud services. Here are some ways businesses can respond to and overcome their tech deficit:
1. Embrace Flexi-Working
IT departments today are expected to meet the needs of their internal customers- from business applications to digital savvy employees to service delivery options. Introducing flexi-working can help alleviate these demands and improve efficiency. Flexibility is no longer a perk for companies looking to attract and retain talent, but a legal requirement. Since 30 June 2014, all employees in the UK have the legal right to request flexible working. That means enterprises should evolve their workspace technology to support this level of flexibility and increase staff productivity while supporting compliance and security requirements.
2. Try Before You Buy
A common attitude among shoppers – could the IT industry also adopt it? Owning less and embracing the cloud model can be daunting, but most products today are available on trial basis. That means you can try new products and trial an OPEX-based model before making a commitment. You can opt to migrate a few small servers and scale up if you are satisfied. The same behaviour can be applied to outsourcing data centre needs or switching from traditional to internet based voice applications. Try first, assess performance and draw your own conclusions before making commitments.
3. Focus On SLAs
For most businesses IT is a means to an end, not the company’s core business. The cloud model should allow enterprises to focus on their core business and hand over (some) of the back office functions to strategic partners. But how do you know you can trust these suppliers? How do you know the systems are going to work when you no longer have control over the hardware? That’s why service level agreements (SLAs) are so important. Identify the specific barriers stopping you from adopting new technologies and ways of working, translate them into SLAs and reflect these in your contract. SLAs are they key ingredient to removing anxiety and ensuring your IT systems will meet your requirements.
4. Plug The Knowledge Gap
Upskill IT staff when and where you can. Limited knowledge can make you slow to react. Cloud is a forward thinking model, transitioning to it will help businesses meet increasing customer demands. The IT function should be an enabler for innovation in the digital age and that requires specialists that are up to date with new technologies
5. Work With Strategic Partners
The right partner can help you identify and overcome the tech deficit. Partners with a broad range of services can help you consolidate and make your IT infrastructure easier to manage. Building a closer relationship with a strategic partner also means you get to influence their roadmap and have access to people who promptly resolve issues. Strategic partners can be a valuable resource when building your business strategy.
6. Make The Customer The Centre Of Everything
Sounds obvious, but with the incessant pace of the digital economy, sometimes the customer can slip into the background. Customers are now tech savvy and want to know how businesses can solve their specific problems. With the explosion in big data, they have grown to expect innovative solutions and now demand that businesses keep pace with their requirements. Innovating specifically to solve the business challenges of your customers will help you become a market leader.
IT systems are a means to an end and should be treated as such. Take a close look at your business objectives and what is required from IT to make these happen. Service-based delivery will play a key role in improving the customer experience. As a consequence, the tech deficit will lead businesses to change the way they think about, buy and manage infrastructure. Don’t let your tech deficit become a business deficit.