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Managing IT when it’s not your main job

In many medium sized businesses, responsibility for IT is handed to a non-technical leader like the finance director. On average, five functions other than finance report to the financial director (FD) for instance. In fact, 38% of CFOs are now responsible for IT.

Sadly responsibility is not always tied to experience or knowledge. The FD is expected to make strategic decisions regarding IT – and to carry the can if mistakes are made.

What seemed like a great idea at the time has turned into a millstone around your neck. Because IT is outside your experience, it takes a disproportionate amount of your attention. Which means that your core responsibilities begin to suffer too.

Eventually you may come to dread reports about IT and directing short- and long-term strategy effectively.

You are completely reliant on your, sometimes inexperienced, IT team – and ideally you want to outsource the day-to-day operations to someone else. This is a problem that needs to be solved.

You don’t know what you don’t know

In an ideal world, IT operations would be handled by a multi-skilled team capable of managing the technical challenges to drive the business forward. But in the real world, every in-house team has its weaknesses– and this is where your biggest problems arise.

If your IT own experience is lacking, how can you hope to identify these gaps before IT services begin to fail? And if you already have an excellent team, how do you stop them being stretched too thin?

You can start by planning for dual-channel IT

The answer is to redefine the way you think about IT. There are two parallel and complementary IT functions. First there are the day-to-day tasks that help the business maintain position, known affectionately as “keeping the lights on”. These low-level routines are relatively straightforward, but also a heavy drain on time and resources.

The second function is to develop IT in such a way that it helps to support and deliver against the company’s strategic goals. With the right team in place, IT is a significant asset for growth – so long as they have time to get on with new projects.

As with other generic, repeatable operations, IT support and maintenance are ideal candidates for delegation. Choosing to partner with an IT managed services provider like Acora to deliver services releases your team to focus on the (more interesting) projects that will help the business grow.

Keeping the lights on is absolutely crucial to ensuring end user satisfaction. The rest of your business will notice problems before improvements, so keeping the lights on will be important for proving that you have “the IT issue” under control.

To learn more about managed services and how Acora can help free you to focus on your key responsibilities, please get in touch

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