How to Free Up Your IT Talent to Drive Business Innovation and Transformation

July 27, 2020

Keeping pace with digital disruption is perhaps the most pressing challenge facing organizations today. More than ever, success requires leveraging internal IT talent strategically. 

Everything is a product of its environment to some degree – companies as much as people. Just as a child’s surroundings influences his or her attitudes, so does the industry impact a company’s need and capacity for change.

Overwhelmingly, today’s industries are subject to a high degree of volatility and disruption in the digital age. Long-held paradigms are upended, customer expectations shift rapidly, and, with that, the competitive playing field. New technologies are constantly emerging, as are new opportunities. Flexible, adaptable companies are emerging the winners.

Innovation leaders and IT decision-makers are constantly asked to navigate new ground for their companies. Each evaluates and reshapes well-worn business models to mold their organization’s IT function into an engine for high-velocity innovation.

There is no doubt IT has emerged as a new competitive battle front. In the digital age, you either disrupt or are disrupted. A 2018 Accenture-sponsored survey found:

  • 63% of companies are experiencing disruption.
  • 44% are highly susceptible to future disruption.

Dell Technologies, in collaboration with Intel and Vanson Bourne, recently surveyed 4,600 business leaders across 40+ countries. The survey found:

  • 91% reported they were facing significant hurdles in moving their digital transformation forward.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 fear their business will be left behind.

Being a disruptor – or, at least, keeping pace with digital disruption – requires dedicating sufficient IT resources, specialized expertise and skills to transformation initiatives. But how can IT talent already fully engaged in routine day-to-day activities find time to drive innovation and transformation?

Digital Transformation is a Business Imperative

The need to shift IT focus from routine activities to innovation is not a new issue for IT leaders; it’s just become more urgent. The IT function has become the planning and execution hub of such initiatives.

A recent Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Dell surveyed close to 700 IT decision-makers worldwide, who identified a lack of IT resources and a lack of in-house expertise as top barriers to transformation. 

  • 62% of respondents said they lacked the in-house skills to realize the full potential of technology purchases

As a result, IT decision-makers are increasingly using 3rd party deployment and support services to drive and accelerate their transformative outcomes.

  • 70% of respondents cited “faster deployment time,” and 63% cited “less risk” as reasons for using outside deployment services
  • 80% said deployment services provide “more time for innovation.”
  • 77% of respondents said support services provide “more time for innovation.”
  • Respondents partnering with an IT service provider for technology deployment and support reported being able to shift 36% of their IT staff’s time to innovation or more strategic initiatives.

The Key: Utilizing 3rd-Party Deployment and Support Services

“Expert deployment and support delivered by IT service providers extend the internal IT team’s resources and skillsets,” says Doug Schmitt President, Dell Technologies Services. “In the case of some services, outside providers become integrated members of the team.” Such services can include strategic consulting, deployment, education, ongoing support and managed services.

“Service providers need to be in continuous communication with their customers. The focus should be on mapping services to customer needs – understanding how they can better help the customer achieve their transformation initiatives,” Schmitt says. “From that baseline of understanding, they can tailor and refine a portfolio of end-to-end services.”

IT leaders value the ‘on-demand’ access to specific technical expertise and deployment resources an outside IT service provider can deliver. That might include a standalone project, like asking the service provider to deploy a piece of hardware at a particular facility, or a large-scale initiative, like planning and managing a complex hardware and software integration across a global environment.

As for the IT support function, organizations first want to reduce the need for it, but if a support issue does arise, they want to minimize their involvement. “They need to evaluate and compare service providers on their digital science sophistication.” Says Schmitt. “Are they leveraging the latest in AI, machine learning and deep learning to architect proactive, predictive and data-driven support?”

At its core, the decision to outsource deployment and support functions to an outside service provider can transform an organization’s IT department from a tactical to a strategic asset. It’s no longer necessary to expend finite IT resources on one-time deployments and day-to-day support tasks – tasks a qualified IT service provider can perform effectively and efficiently. Instead, IT leaders are free to target their department’s business, technical and institutional knowledge to achieving broad-based, far-reaching organizational objectives.

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