The Business of Technology vs. the Technology of Business. Does Your MNS Provider Get It?
Every day, infrastructure & operations (I&O) leaders are challenged to keep their businesses operational. Any interruption in service delivery directly impacts business outcomes. And, when it happens, the pressure is on the I&O team as they hustle to address the issue with a tactical response.
Of course, anything beyond a tactical response demands planning and a strategy. The trick is to ensure operational uptime while simultaneously planning the evolution of the IT infrastructure to support growth and changing business needs.
The challenge for I&O leadership is to justify current and future initiatives in ways that enhance the business value – not just the technical value. This is particularly important when trying to convince non-technical decision makers at the executive level: CFOs, CEOs, and so on.
When targeting business owners, emphasizing the technical benefits of an infrastructure initiative will often fail. The gap between this technical benefit and the business value is real and needs to be bridged to facilitate proper decision-making.
As an I&O leader, you need to be able to provide convincing messaging to bridge the gap. Your managed network service (MNS) provider is uniquely positioned to help you address this.
The Business of Technology
MNS providers deliver the operational support to keep your infrastructure running to ensure the availability of the services that you depend on. By their very nature, they are experts in the business of technology.
Because they are a trusted business partner, your MNS provider should be able to help you elaborate, internally, on the benefits and capabilities of these technologies. After all, they understand the infrastructure and the systems that monitor and manage it. And they understand how to design, package, and deliver these solutions.
The Technology of Business
To bridge the gap, MNS providers need to go beyond the technological value prop and provide the messaging, metrics, and value to help you effectively communicate the business value. For example, they should be able to describe, with validation, how a given technical initiative will lead to a measurable business outcome.
Does Your MNS Provider Get It?
It’s up to you as an I&O leader to leverage the expertise of your MNS provider to formulate the proper messaging to enable non-technical business leaders to make decisions. Therefore, you will need an MNS provider that “gets it”. Here are some questions to ask them:
- Does your MNS provider understand your business model? Your MNS provider is your trusted partner. They are integral to the efficient operation of your infrastructure and need to understand the way you do business and the impact of any changes. They need to be able to use this understanding by communicating to your C-level people using the internal vernacular that your business and enterprise users are familiar with.
- Can they provide collateral, such as use cases and case studies? These materials are particularly effective in articulating the business value of technical efforts. MNS providers cater to a diverse variety of clients, which gives them a wider perspective on the effectiveness of technological solutions. Use cases and case studies describe business outcomes in a non-technical manner that is readily consumable by business decision makers.
- Can they quantify the outcome of a proposed strategic initiative in business terms? When it comes to describing outcomes to non-technical decision makers, nothing is more compelling that metrics. Make sure your MNS provider is able to craft statements with real data such as: reduced cost by X%, increased productivity by Y%, increased conversion rates by Z%, or reduced system downtime by Q%.
Being able to provide a measurable outcome is a powerful driver to facilitate effective decision making across the enterprise. As an I&O leader, being supported by an MNS provider that “gets it” can be invaluable.