IT as Necessary Evil in Small/Professional Business

30 March 2010

So many times we forget the business we are in, particularly when it comes to IT decisions.

Peter Keen’s excellent The Process Edge describes the 5 types of processes – they are:

Identity – a Process that defines your firm to customers, employees and investors (usually directly associated with the art of the product produced)

Priority – Is excelling at process X critically important to business performance?

Background – a process that supports other processes

Mandated – Legally required (i.e. complience, taxes)

Folklore – (i.e. we have always done the TPS reports) stamp these out as quickly as you can.

What we need to remember is to stick to our Identity processes, spend enough time on Priority processes and if possible, automate or outsource the rest – particularly when it comes to Information Technology. An architectural design firm will never become great by refining its payroll systems. When it comes to the other processes, good enough is good enough.

So here’s where we apply the lesson to IT – and in particular the Desktop/Notebook computer – almost all workers can survive very nicely with a standard configuration, and this should be outsourced to an external provider who provides technology decisions, standard application suites, backup services and disaster recovery. An  external provider also provides an economy of scale that a small or medium business cannot.

For most small & medium companies IT is “necessary evil“.  You must have it, but don’t focus precious brain cells on decisions that could be made externally – this is great outsourcing!

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