In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies rely heavily on technology to stay competitive. IT plays a critical role in a company’s success by enabling communication, collaboration, data analysis, and other key functions. However, there are two main aspects of IT that companies must consider: operational IT and strategic IT.
Operational IT refers to the day-to-day management and maintenance of a company’s IT infrastructure, such as servers, networks, and applications. This includes tasks like software updates, backups, and troubleshooting. Operational IT is crucial to ensure that a company’s technology infrastructure is stable and functional.
Examples of operational IT tasks and responsibilities include:
- Installing software updates and security patches
- Troubleshooting hardware and software issues
- Backing up data and ensuring data integrity
- Monitoring and managing network performance
- Managing user accounts and permissions
- Implementing and maintaining firewalls and other security measures
Impact of neglecting operational IT
Neglecting operational IT can result in downtime, data loss, and other issues that can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. For example, an hour of downtime can cost a small business up to $10,000 in lost revenue, according to a report by Infrascale. In addition, a cybersecurity breach can result in the loss of sensitive data and damage to a company’s reputation. By investing in operational IT, companies can avoid these costly issues and ensure that their technology infrastructure is stable and secure.
On the other hand, Strategic IT refers to the use of technology to drive long-term business objectives, such as increasing revenue, expanding into new markets, or improving customer experience. Strategic IT requires a more forward-thinking approach that aligns technology initiatives with a company’s overall business strategy.
Examples of strategic IT initiatives include:
- Digital transformation: This can involve implementing new systems and processes that leverage cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT).
- Customer relationship management (CRM): Implementing a CRM system can provide a centralised platform for managing customer data, improving customer service, and tracking customer interactions.
- Data analytics: Data analytics involves collecting, analysing, and interpreting large amounts of data to gain insights into business operations and customer behaviour.
Impact of neglecting strategic IT
Neglecting strategic IT can have severe consequences for a company, including:
- Reduced competitiveness: Neglecting strategic IT initiatives can lead to a lack of innovation, which can reduce a company’s competitiveness in the market. Competitors that invest in strategic IT initiatives are likely to have an advantage in terms of customer experience, operational efficiency, and product or service offerings.
- Obsolescence: Failure to invest in strategic IT initiatives can result in outdated technology and systems, which can quickly become obsolete. Outdated systems can be difficult to maintain and secure, which can lead to operational inefficiencies, increased costs, and decreased customer satisfaction.
- Missed opportunities: Neglecting strategic IT initiatives can result in missed opportunities for growth and revenue. For example, failing to implement a CRM system can lead to missed opportunities for upselling, cross selling, and improving customer service.
So, how do you achieve both?
Balancing operational and strategic IT is a significant challenge for companies. Limited resources, short-term vs. long-term objectives, and communication breakdowns are common obstacles that need to be overcome. Companies need to find ways to balance operational and strategic IT effectively to ensure they achieve their business objectives and maintain their competitive edge in the market.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can help companies rebalance their IT priorities by taking on some of the operational IT tasks and freeing up internal IT staff to focus on strategic IT initiatives.
They can provide expertise and guidance on the latest technologies and best practices, helping companies identify strategic IT initiatives that will drive growth and innovation, whilst also providing scalability so companies can quickly adapt to changing business needs.
It is clear that MSPs can be fundamental in supporting organisations’ IT operations and strategy, lifting the burden of everyday management and driving transformation for competitive advantage. Certain MSPs, such as Advanced, also provide full IT Outsourcing. This enables companies to outsource their IT stack to a trusted provider, taking advantage of a large talent pool, contractual SLAs and focused resources to drive your business forward.