Are you in an unhealthy IT relationship?

The relationship between business and IT is more important than ever.  A healthy relationship generates increased profitability and productivity for both parties.  An unhealthy relationship delivers frustration, missed opportunities, and a lack of trust.  Until there is a breaking point, usually a ransomware event, most businesses will simply live with the relationship.  The risk of this reactive approach is not worth it.

Here are three signs of an unhealthy IT relationship.  These apply whether you have outsourced or internal IT.  Internal IT relationships also have an added component of being “part of the team” which allows an unhealthy relationship to continue even longer than an outsourced one.

You feel “trapped” and do not want to make any changes

The most common symptom of an unhealthy IT relationship is the feeling of being trapped.  Issues are resolved but the root cause is never quite explained.  There is no documentation,  clear IT roadmap, or budget.   This is especially prevalent with internal IT that operates in a reactive fashion.

IT is not black magic.  There is no “special” knowledge that any IT provider (internal or external) has that cannot be learned and documented by another group.  Stringfellow has a mature process to transition to our services within less than 60 days.  Changing IT providers should not be done on a whim BUT it should be considered if you are feeling trapped.

There has been an “event” but no real change in how IT is run

The number of businesses that have been through an IT “event” is increasing dramatically.  During the crisis the focus is on getting operational as quickly as possible.  IT pulls all night heroics, and gets it back up and working after several days.  There are some explanations about how it happened and some tools installed to “keep it from happening again”.

The reality is a  business does not want to deal with a true root cause analysis.  They want to get back to work.  The analysis would show that IT had not been proactive, overlooked basic backup planning, left devices unpatched, or otherwise was not following basic security protocol.  The pain of the event passes without a meaningful change to how IT is managed and run.

IT is associated with “being there” or “having a person”

This is typical with internal IT or less mature outsourcers that put someone onsite full time.  This relationship is PEOPLE, not process based, which adds an element of emotion to the business-IT relationship.  It is much harder to have accountability for IT functions when they are no underlying processes or standards to measure against.  Can you image a sales team with no quotas or goals?  Just make calls and do your best?  No chance.

IT needs to be process driven with clear standards and roles defined.  Obviously people are a part of this BUT they cannot be the basis of how IT is delivered.  It does not scale, and leads to a lack of accountability and proactive planning.  The business executive that “checks the box” by filling an IT Director role an delegating all things IT will not work.