The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines tradition as: “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a business practice or a social custom).”
When it comes to traditional IT service providers, there are specific traditions that have not aged well. In fact, three traditionally held IT service practices stand out as potentially harmful to your organization. Let’s examine each in turn, followed by a question you should ask your potential providers to determine how well-prepared they are to address each of the inherent traditional shortcomings.
Get it done as quickly as possible.
The traditional service provider will focus on getting tasks accomplished as quickly as possible. They are happy to provide reports showing how little time is spent responding to and resolving any issue with all your users, toting speed of resolution as a primary measure to prove out their value.
At first glance, this seems like a wonderful goal. Upon deeper examination this action plan can actually end up disincentivizing your users to ask questions, to only raise “easy” challenges, or to develop workarounds because, unless the request fits into an easy-to-address “box”, it can be challenging for users to know how to get the help they need. The downside is lost productivity as your users, often without a clear path to resolving vague questions they may have, will invest time in developing and using workarounds to accomplish daily tasks, or worse, just give up on a fi altogether.
Ask your service provider what tangible measures they take to encourage users to ask questions and what mechanisms they provide to facilitate this.
One size, one option, for all customers
The traditional service provider benefits from training all customers to expect the same thing when it comes to services and support. Being different is not good for their business model. While this approach and mindset present obvious efficiencies for the provider, it may not be a good fit for the customer. No two companies are truly that much alike in process, people, and success. So, the impact to the “one size for all” is the “dilution effect.” The dilution effect depreciates what makes your company uniquely successful and diluting the recipe does not support continued success.
Ask your service provider how customizable their service model is to adjust to the potential anomalies that exist within your organization and what process they implement to extract that vital input from you.
Myopia in solution options
The traditional service provider will recommend and not recommend change based on what solutions they want to sell without regard for the state of your team, your business strategy, and your organizational roadmap. With any change there are two sides; The change itself and those impacted by the change. Traditionally, IT changes can often be implemented due to external or prescribed needs without first understanding the larger needs of the client’s teams, strategic plan, and organizational goals. The lack of foresight, due to a narrow perspective, makes it easy for traditional service providers to walk this path. It takes time and resources to understand the dynamics, outside of IT, and use that as a factor for change.
Ask your service provider what team, business, and organizational factors they assess before engaging in any sort of change strategy.
So, if you’re hoping to find an innovative modern IT service provider who will give your firm a competitive edge, avoid providers who espouse the traditional approaches listed above. Instead, seek out a provider that “seeks first to understand” your business priorities and trajectory, your users, and the unique nature of your specific organization before crafting an IT services solution that is tailored to actually support your business.