by Dan Gill
Businesses and IT leaders are grappling with numerous challenges today. The pandemic delayed some transformation initiatives, accelerated others and forever altered workplace dynamics. This is exacerbated by a technical labor shortage currently making it hard to find and/or retain enough of the right talent. Additionally, cyberattacks have board-level attention, are growing more calculated and sophisticated every day, and cybersecurity insurance is harder to attain or cost prohibitive.
The cloud has helped connect dynamic workforces to critical applications while reducing antiquated infrastructure, but it is much more expensive and more difficult to secure and manage than many anticipated. Finally, economic headwinds are reducing the budgets available to tackle these challenges while delivering the desired user experiences internally and externally.
Under these conditions there isn’t a lot of room for error with technology decisions. Below are three essential guidelines for optimizing the process.
Having granular knowledge of your technology services inventory should be a priority before making technology decisions. Inventory transparency can prevent you from making decisions that limit your organization and customer experiences down the road at sub-optimal costs.
We frequently work with companies that have limited visibility of everything being used in their technology stack. It could be due to M&A activity, resource limitations, employee turnover, shadow IT or any number of reasons. In these situations, we often discover that customers are paying for things that aren’t being used, suffering from lagging performance and accumulating technical debt as incompatibilities arise. To make things worse we also find that services often get auto renewed without the knowledge of stakeholders.
If you don’t have your arms around inventory and aren’t aware of contract renewals before it’s too late, you can miss opportunities to assess options, align inventory with current and future needs, and optimize costs.
Focus on Profitability Outcomes
Conduct a thorough exploration of defined outcomes and what the organizational value of technology decisions will be to understand the right path. Is there a clear definition of all the use cases, constituents, desired outcomes, timeframes – and is it documented? What is the company trying to accomplish? What will it mean to meet these outcomes? What are the consequences of missing the mark? And perhaps most important, will it drive revenue-impacting outcomes and/or efficiencies?
This will help you architect and execute a thorough and detailed process that fits your current situation as well as future needs and avoid making decisions only to discover down the road that the solutions you implemented won’t scale or fit a pivot you want to make in a tech stack. Success here is the difference between being a value center vs. a cost center.
Benchmark Performance and Pricing (Thoroughly)
Running a detailed and carefully choreographed evaluation process including proof of concept (POC) testing is critical. Too many companies move into procurement without methodically vetting vendors and their offerings due to time and resource constraints, incomplete data or lack of experience, and it can have disastrous results.
Self-reported CSAT scores and hand-picked references are not enough to truly understand the performance of a vendor and their solutions. You need a deeper accounting of how solutions perform in the wild, how long they take to implement, how they really integrate with other key infrastructure and how they are supported when things go bump in the night. Technology decision-making teams are limited by their own experience, time delayed market research, limited time and resources for internal research, and what vendors are telling them in the sales process.
Optimized decisions require you to go deeper. Being a value center requires you to go deeper. Because we have a history with hundreds of technology vendors serving IT infrastructure needs and have used them for thousands of initiatives and implementations, we know what they can and can’t do versus what they say in a sales pitch. Some vendors claim they have certain integrations when they really don’t or they are surface level, for example.
Benchmarking pricing seems obvious but it’s trickier than you might think. Even if you have access to market research for pricing benchmarks their data lags the market, is usually driven by self-reported surveys of end users and vendors and it’s nowhere near as thorough as knowing what is happening today in your markets, at your size. Your procurement team is a great internal ally and very skilled at negotiating but that process is only as good as the data providing it context and their leverage is limited to your individual spend.
Vendors are notorious for driving the “Nordstrom” pricing model – showing a price and then a meaningful discount during negotiation to give a sense of “great deal,” but often still securing pricing above what should be the market rate. Remember the vendor sales person is heavily incentivized to capture the highest price for their specific solution and typically gets no compensation on a renewal that doesn’t hold the line on revenue.
How We Can Help
For more than 20 years, businesses have relied on our teams to advise them as an extension of their team, not sell to them. We are a force multiplier enhancing decisions and organizational value. Customers rely on our expertise along with Baseline IT, our SaaS tool that puts data, instant reporting, project and inventory management, revenue enhancement, financial management, business-wide transparency and actionable insights at their fingertips.
Our people and platform help customers drive cost reduction, think about questions they aren’t asking, arrive at the best-possible answers, be proactive instead of reactive, and shorten time-to-value. We are pricing and project managing implementation for IT infrastructure solutions all day, every day for thousands of customers. We have unique, real-time access to pricing data, performance data and implementation timelines. Finally, since we service all areas of IT infrastructure and not just one vendor product, we are highly incentivized to deliver optimized outcomes each time so we can partner with customers on their future projects as well.
Our Total Care managed services adds another layer of support, allowing customers to offload the day-to-day management of technology, connectivity and vendor relations so internal teams can focus on high-value projects. Indeed, in a market that is massive, complex and ever-changing, customers are increasingly turning to Total Care to complement their capabilities and simplify all aspects of technology lifecycle management.
Baseline IT and Total Care, combined with our advocacy and support and the leverage of our collective customer base, almost always help customers achieve significant cost savings that can be reinvested in new technologies or other initiatives. More importantly, they can transform you into an organizational value center. The powerful combination of Amplix and the talented IT teams we support is an accelerant to growth and a catalyst to revenue and efficiency, amplifying the value to the organization for the full lifecycle of a technology investment.
For more information including use cases on tech decision optimization, reach out to your Amplix representative or email email@example.com.