For companies not well versed in IT, managing IT systems may seem like a huge headache. Coupled with the need to stay up to date with the latest technologies, this causes them a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure.
Mark Ogden, the Chief Executive Officer of Comunet, shares how he used Step Change’s History’s Greatest Strategists tool to develop the future of the internal IT department.
After 15 years working for some of the largest global food & beverage companies, (Mars Incorporated, Orora Group and Carlton & United Breweries) in 2013, I entered the world of technology full time. Previously, I had been the frustrated IT client witnessing a department that started with such promise, become another cost centre and an inhibitor of innovation. It seemed any significant IT project was met with an estimate of $1 million and given 6 months to complete, before the scope had even been defined…
Upon entering the technology industry, I arranged to meet with some major clients all over Australia to seek feedback and guidance. The consistent feedback I had received was usually along the lines of - "I currently deal with three to four IT providers - I know one of them is ripping me off, I just don’t know which one". Understandably, for the people outside of the IT department, technology can appear a mystery. When you hear confident discussion of the properties of WAN, SAN and LAN, it’s hard not to put your faith in them.
When businesses engage with external technology companies, often the internal IT teams become apprehensive about the role we play. The root of their concern lies in their assumption that the objective of the external company is for the client to completely outsource their IT department. While this fear is valid (as I’ve seen a lot of other IT providers) at Comunet, we use a different approach.
History’s Greatest Strategists
Last week, I attended a business strategy session with an audience of non-competing CEOs, facilitated by Ashton Bishop from Step Change. One of the tasks he gave us was to choose a selection of leaders from History’s Greatest Strategists and apply the leaders’ approach to a business challenge we are currently facing. My partner for this task was the principal at a premier school in Australia. His role was to take on the character of a leader chosen at random, and try to apply their philosophies and processes to my business challenge.
The leader chosen at random was Kerry Packer; his greatest achievement identified was founding 'World Series Cricket' and my partner’s application was: "Take something that was once great that has become ‘tired’ and make it fresh and exciting". Immediately, I thought of the internal IT department.
Technology is moving faster than it ever has before. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for IT professionals to keep up to date with the best and latest solutions on top of delivering the day-to-day requirements.
How Would Kerry Packer Refresh the Old IT Department?
At Comunet, we see our role as IT professionals being a complement to a business’s existing internal IT department, rather than taking over a business’s entire IT department. For example, some of our clients have already "freed up" 20% of their internal IT resources by embracing new technologies we have recommended.
We understand that at each business, the user requirements and strategic objectives are different. To ensure the most effective and efficient results, we work closely with the business by providing knowledge and experience in bleeding edge and specialist technologies such as Cloud Computing.
The evolution of Cloud Computing has seen the ‘complementing approach’ accelerate. Using this approach, we have strengthened our partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft (global leaders in Public Cloud). We have also seen an increase in new client enquiries as businesses look to take advantage of what the Cloud can offer whilst trying to avoid common misconceptions. The Cloud facilitates simplicity, automation, flexibility and cost effectiveness that is unparalleled - providing huge benefits in business effectiveness and efficiency.
IT: Enabling Business Success
IT can once again be the department of business wonder and excitement, moving from a ‘cost’ to an enabler of growth. As the world progresses and technologies develop, more and more industries will be disrupted. Understanding the role of technology and how it impacts your business should be a part of every business’s strategy. Rather than completely outsourcing your IT department, a great way to enable success is to have a partnership where their primary role is to complement the existing team and provide suggestions on the latest technologies while the internal team focuses on building competencies and maintaining the existing business infrastructures.
About Mark Ogden
Chief Executive Officer at Comunet
Coming from a diverse and non-technological background, Mark has a strong philosophy and passion for giving value to customers in a continuously advancing IT world that very few businesses have the time to stay across. His focus on maximising cost effectiveness, improving IT performance and the use of cloud computing, attracted the global leaders, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure as Comunet’s strategic partners. At the core of Comunet is Mark’s vision for the future of IT - as an enabler of business growth rather than a cost of running a business.