The influence it has on business is becoming increasingly apparent and business is looking for ways to maximise that investment. According to Kleo Georgiou, Strategic Accounts Manager at EOH Application Management, IT companies need to focus on providing broader value to their customer base.
“Instead of simply providing a product or a service to a client, you have to take your offering one step further and ensure that it addresses a specific problem or provides a unique solution that is strategically aligned with the needs of the business. The added value that the client perceives is derived from understanding why the client is utilising your product, what need it fulfils and what value the client derives from it,” explains Georgiou.
Being adaptable and agile is key for survival in today’s fast-based business environment, says Georgiou. “If you are going to take three months to find a solution to a client’s problem, they probably will have spoken to another solution provider. It is however dependant on the industry. If your client is operational in the mobile solutions or banking sphere, the turnaround time is much faster than it would be for a company in the mining sector, for example.”
Georgiou says that competition is healthy as it keeps you honest, on your toes and in touch with the latest developments in the industry. “This is especially true for longstanding clients, where you need to continually offer a service that adds value to the business. It is crucial to build a strong relationship in order for a client to view you as more than just an IT service or product, but a business partner. For this reason, you cannot allow yourself to become complacent.”
The cost of ownership is becoming the deciding factor when it comes to the question of in-house or managed IT services. “A fair amount of clients are channeling their efforts towards core business activities and are taking the decision to divert additional functions to specialists in the field. Cost plays a substantial role, however businesses are increasingly considering the value that IT adds to the business as well as the efficiency, governance and manageability of IT as key deciders,” Georgiou explains.
The role that an IT representative plays in the business has greatly shifted from being a typical technical guru to being an individual that has a strong business and even financial acumen that is coupled with a solid understanding of IT. “That alone is highlighting how IT is becoming more aligned with business. Business increasingly views IT as a business enabler, which is a complete change of mindset from being regarded as a cost centre alone,” concludes Georgiou.