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Why Running An IT Business Is Like Driving a Formula One Car

Whether you’re big or small, international or local, selling widgets or selling ideas, you’re probably in the most exciting - and terrifying - time of your business life. Competition is coming from new directions, and emerging so fast you barely have time to blink. If there’s one thing you need, it is focus. So, should you be spending time thinking about the mechanical side of IT?

Yes and no. We’re not going to tell you there’s a simple answer here, but then again, if leading a business was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? There are, of course, a lot of considerations.

Technology giant HPE’s Technology.nxt report asserts that ‘Rates of change in technology and business are outstripping our ability to comprehend them.’

Think about that for a moment. Your business, says the report, will change in profound ways, with everything connected, and your customers expecting something different than you are giving them right now. The question then must be, how do I focus on what my customers need, as well as everything else?

The simple answer is, you don’t. Something’s got to give, and it is better that is a planned something. We’re not saying you should get out of IT, but it is a very good time to rethink the way you see it.

Imagine your business as a car. OK, let’s make it Formula One, since business is all about speed these days. If you’re tinkering under the bonnet, or changing tyres, then who’s behind the steering wheel, making all those rapid decisions that set the business direction and get ahead of the competition?

The pit crew is, of course, a vital part of success. But you can guarantee that as Daniel Ricciardo navigates a chicane, he isn’t thinking about which spanner they are using when they change the tyres, he just needs to know the engineers are there, doing their job to support him.

IT is, like F1 engineering, becoming a lot more complex. Managing infrastructure means keeping up with that rate of change the HPE report mentioned, and it requires a lot of focus. Your in-house team may be very capable of that focus, just as Ricciardo may be handy with the aforementioned spanner, but it doesn’t make it the best use of their skills.

Keeping at the front of the pack means being inventive, and in today’s everything connected world, it means being inventive with IT. The new services and apps that will get you ahead are where your IT team needs to focus, because they are the people who know your business and industry, as well as the technologies that make it all possible.

The thing is, if your IT team is focused under the bonnet building the engine, who is driving your digitisation strategy? When you focus your best IT resources on managing infrastructure and lights on, you’re missing an opportunity, and navigation can falter.

The changes in infrastructure are now so rapid, even some of the biggest businesses are consuming some aspects as a service, rather than employ the broad range of engineers in-house. It makes even more sense for smaller and mid-size businesses, where employing specialists in all kinds of technology just wouldn’t be financially possible.

It is both a matter of attention and of economics, says Ian Hight, Sales and Marketing Manager of our Power Systems cloud partners, SAS IT. ‘IT systems are becoming so complex, it just isn’t reasonable to have all the IT experts you need on staff,’ says Hight. ‘People need to be getting out of the mundane support business, they have to be the driver and not the mechanic.’

What that escape from the ‘mundane’ might look like can vary, with a mix of cloud and managed IT hitting the right balance for many businesses. It may mean on-premise equipment managed as a service, or various ‘as a service’ possibilities. Whatever mix works, it gives you the chance to hit the gas on services that get you ahead of the competition.

At the same time, removing yourself from these mundane tasks doesn’t mean you should abdicate responsibility. Ensuring that those providing the services are accountable is as important as getting the right mix of services in the first place. Measuring and reporting on the performance of every element of your team is as vital in business as it is in a race team.

We partnered with SAS IT because they bring that perfect mix of experience, expertise and accountability that we, and our customers, demand.

For help designing the right IT engine to power your business to a podium finish, talk to our experts at Team Computing.

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