Aligning IT providers. Who is eliminated?

IT (Information Technology) is changing

It is no secret that Information Technology continues to evolve. Both IT providers and their clients continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of stakeholders. These needs run the gambit from outside security threats to device migration to application development to alignment with the organizations strategic goals.

As demands for IT providers continue to change, so do the IT departments they serve. In a nutshell, the internal IT departments are becoming irrelevant.

OracleThe dilemma that IT providers, like Century Link Business or Oracle, face: How to overcome the hurdles that internal IT personnel present and be preferred by them and the C-suite? Put in blunt terms, can IT providers do more than just soften up internal personnel for the kill?

I know. Many of you are asking why would IT providers even care what those their technology is replacing thinks?

The simple answer: To gain new business, IT providers have to overcome a litany of hurdles. The C-suite needs to understand why they need this technology. It also will wonder if outsourcing important data isn’t a Mr. Robot situation. It will also want to know why your company is the right one when they are so many competitors thirsting to win that business.

Overcoming those hurdles means you need an ally.

Internal IT employees can be your friends

IT was once a novel thing, something that few understood so companies were forced to hire IT experts as employees. Otherwise, you’d be out of business fast.

IT employess for IT providersNow, though, IT is no longer the domain of just computer geeks and nerds. CEOs understand IT. Maybe not the individual details, but they know what IT accomplishes and the advantages of hiring third parties to host servers and troubleshoot any problems.

Companies, therefore, are turning to the cloud for a whole host of services they traditionally relied on their internal IT departments to handle. These managed cloud environments are doing everything from app development to analytics to storage to security. Logging into a web application with just a few clicks can even launch enterprise-wide software deployment. Cloud services manage entire corporate IT infrastructures  – and do it more cheaply.

This is a boon to the IT services companies, but the process of being hired is complex. The fewer hurdles you have to overcome, the better.

It’s easy to say that IT service providers have it easy during this phase of evolution. They are the ones benefiting. And they know that IT professionals are in effect training the person that is replacing them. Human nature is to dig your heels in and protect what’s yours. IT professionals are not signing on with this change willingly.

This is the quandary for IT service providers. They want to pull more and more of the workload from the traditional IT department to cloud-based services. But, in order to do so, they must not alienate those IT professionals they will inevitably replace.

IT providers must realign their brands

For many years, IT industry buzzwords floated around like big data. In some ways, the term big data was a reflection of the companies that helped create it, such as IBM, Cisco and SAP, just to name a few. Up until a few years ago, these companies focused mostly on creating things (software, infrastructure, etc.) that is used in the corporate environment. Though always viewed as big, their work wasn’t a threat to IT administrators. It was viewed as a means to increase the importance of IT departments within the organization. Perceptive IT departments could identify what the next big thing was and use it to almost justify their existence.

Today, their size and expertise are exactly what corporate IT departments are tying to sell against in order to maintain their relevancy.

So, what are IT service providers to do? The movement to the cloud is clearly a wave that won’t likely ebb. But these companies can realign their brands to make the change a bit more palatable to those they are going to affect. They should demonstrate that their technologies would make the jobs of internal IT employees easier. More importantly, they should demonstrate to the C-suite that, in order for the new technology to fulfill the unique needs of the company itself and that means involving internal IT employees.

In effect, your technology can make those employees more important.

The caveat is that, in realigning their brands, IT service providers must not appear to be pandering. Be single minded and aspirational, particularly to those IT professionals who present the most significant hurdle. Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear. Rather, take a systematic and analytical approach so that you understand this audience better than any of your competitors.