In the early days of the internet, IT spending was requisite, not strategic. Then, companies hired IT experts to maintain on-site hardware, software and storage. Occasionally, an additional IT consultant might be brought in to assess the long-term viability of servers or other technology.
Nowadays, however, a cutting-edge IT arrangement can do more than just provide processing speed and data storage. The ideal IT configuration can sharpen a company’s competitive edge while also fueling innovation. IT consultants are increasingly seen as go-to experts in how to tweak systems to fire up a company’s overall performance.
Indeed, as legacy systems are enhanced with cloud-based resources, IT modernization can actually improve customer engagement. Faster, more efficient systems equate to happier customers. Done correctly, IT improvements can also boost employee engagement, as workers thrive with systems that foster creative collaboration. Moreover, partnering with IT consultants or improving current systems often frees in-house IT employees to focus on strategic initiatives.
However, many companies are lagging behind, and their IT systems are in dire need of modernization. As IT consultants, we’ve heard why from dozens of business owners: “I’m too busy as it is – how do you expect me to sort out the best technology?” CFIOs are in a similar boat – too overwhelmed with pressing IT concerns to see the broader, holistic perspective on where technology requires modernization in order to make future growth possible. If this situation sounds familiar, we recommend meeting with an experienced IT consultant for strategic advice on how best to improve your system.
If you do meet with an IT consultant, he or she will probably take a look around your organization and note the potential obstacles to modernization, some of which we’ve listed below.
Top 5 Barriers to IT Modernization
1. Cost. Oftentimes, it’s difficult for an organization to justify expanded IT costs when systems seem to be working just fine. Executives have a hard time pushing through budget items when ROI isn’t guaranteed or clear. And company leaders often expect that ongoing maintenance costs are the only expenditures IT should have. To justify modernization costs, it’s helpful to work with an IT consultant who’s an expert at proving ROI and showing competitive worth.
2. Risk. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? This colloquial saying sums up the stance of many executives when it comes to modernizing IT. Their hesitancy is understandable when one considers that upgrades and other changes are often paired with decreased stability and predictability. The short-term hassles of switching to a new system often override the organization’s impetus to improve performance in the long term. IT consultants can help eliminate this barrier, too, namely by establishing accurate modernization priorities.
3. Time. With the economic situation as it is, most workers and leaders are already pressed for time. Any initiative that appears to add more duties to anyone’s plate will likely be shot down without second thought. IT consultants provide the perfect solution: Outsource IT modernization when appropriate, preserving the engagement of employees while limiting costs. (IT consultants can often perform this kind of specialized work more quickly and at a lower cost than in-house employees.)
4. Inertia. It’s always easiest to stick with what’s currently in place, especially since executives have little personal motivation to upgrade IT. Terrible tales abound of high-budget modernization schemes that never actually went live. Finally, as mentioned above, executives are often just too busy to focus on IT modernization. The solution? Focus on how a business process can be improved with modernized IT. IT consultants are experts at connecting modernization programs to ROI and profits.
5. Information. The IT marketplace offers countless modernization solutions – too many, in fact. It’s extremely challenging for executives to sort through the options. Again, IT consultants can help. They have the perspective and experience to figure out which modernization methods will best serve an organization.