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Why you need a specialist to manage your enterprise technology platforms – and 5 signs you may be wo

Technology platforms – whether they are data management, development or integration platforms – play an increasingly central role in today’s corporations. From running key processes to supporting collaborative work settings – and with the ongoing transition to mobile – these platforms are becoming more and more business critical.

In this environment, CTOs are not only being asked to leverage technology to support the bottom line – they need to ensure that the solutions they implement are as bulletproof as possible, and increasingly agile.

As such, when it comes to platform management, you need to consider carefully your choice of business partner. Why is working with a specialist partner important and what are some tell-tale signs that your current partner may not have the expert skills you need? We consider both these questions.

Increasing complexity demands specialists

Today’s enterprise technology environment needs to accommodate a diverse array of systems that are increasingly interwoven – your CRM, software development environments, website, intranet, ERP system, just to name a few.

Fundamental to the smooth operation of these systems are the platforms that support them. And when it comes to enterprise platform management, the temptation can be to work with the largest, most established IT partner you know – perhaps your existing generalist IT partner. However, this is not one of those instances where bigger is better. Your specialised platform requires a very specialist management approach – a small team that intimately knows your workflows, your processes and your people. This is the key to creating the agile, robust foundation your enterprise systems and applications require.

Some red flags in partner selection

As a CTO, you need to stay ahead of the curve in making decisions about your enterprise platforms. Maybe your contract is up for renewal or you just have the feeling that things could be working better. Or perhaps you are staring at another big bill and are not convinced of the value you are receiving.

Here are some common signs that your current partner may not have the specialist skillset you need:

  1. Unnecessary delays. Your requirements have changed or you need further development work and your current partner says they will come back to you with a solution within weeks, or even months. A specialist doesn’t need that long to do the research. They don’t need to ask the experts, they ARE the expert and would have an answer for you in a matter of hours.

  2. Large teams. You have a big team looking after your platform, either on-site or remotely, 5 people, maybe 10, maybe more? A large team can give the illusion of attentiveness but ask yourself, are they all mission critical? In contrast, a specialist partner is likely to deploy a small team with some smart telemetry. You would know all their names as they would be based on-site, and they would know you and your business.

  3. Project Manager lead. Your main contact is a Project Manager rather than the subject matter expert. They are a coordinator rather than a do-er, and the contact point with the actual experts who you rarely, if ever, see. When working with a specialist provider, the subject matter expert is likely to be your main contact and an extended part of your team. They will be responsible for managing the project, providing design expertise and leading the implementation.

  4. Questionable value. Do your bills seems bigger than they need to be? Perhaps costs have ballooned or you are losing confidence in the value you are receiving. Maybe you have managed larger or more complex projects on a smaller budget in the past? A contract with a generalist organisation is often more costly than that with a specialist. And a specialist may be open to negotiating an outcome based contract, rather than one that simply accounts for the number of man hours on hire.

  5. A partner who always agrees with you! Beware if your ideas are rarely or never challenged. A specialist will be immersed in your business, understand the way you work and create synergies with your existing team. If they recognise a better way of doing something – they will be pro-active and tell you, and then make recommendations for a better solution.

Counting the cost of non-specialists

Leaving your core platform services, such as your cloud platform or data platform, to be managed by generalists can add up in terms of time, costs and wasted resources. Recent years have seen rapid changes in platform technology but many organisations haven’t stopped to consider if their business partners have kept pace.

Give us a call if you would like us to assess your current environment and show you how specialist resources can help boost your organisation’s responsiveness and reduce risk.

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