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Supporting the Unsung Heroes of the Office: IT Decision-Makers

Just like Batman needs Alfred, IT decision-makers need the support, service and expertise of channel partners.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Jonathan Letterman, even though you’ve likely been affected by him during a visit to the emergency room. Known as the Father of Battlefield Medicine, Letterman was a Civil War surgeon who created casualty management procedures that revolutionized outcomes for wounded soldiers, started the U.S. Army's first ambulance corps and instituted the first organized system of battlefield first-aid stations and mobile field hospitals. His advancements still provide the basis for triage and modern emergency and military medical care. He is a true unsung hero.

Today, IT decision-makers (ITDMs) have a lot in common with Major Letterman: running from one critical situation to the next, summoned at precarious and potentially dangerous moments, and receiving the brunt of frustration and exhaustion from their "patients." After all, IT typically gets called only when something has gone wrong. Think of the last time you called on your IT department. It probably wasn’t your best day. It likely involved a malfunctioning computer, a faulty internet connection, or worse, a potential security breach. Because IT professionals are visible primarily in these moments of distress and annoyance, many employees do not recognize the vast amount of work that takes place behind the scenes to keep networks and technology up-and-running and protected.

Channel partners know they are uniquely positioned to help ITDMs — providing them counsel, expertise and services that can free up employee time, drive transformation and help move rote tasks to experts who will increase uptime and employee productivity. Partnering with channel technology providers gives ITDMs more time to spend on proactive business-building efforts rather than fire-fighting.

With global spending on IT and telecom projected to grow to over $4 trillion this year, and 2018 spending on IT services expected to hit a record-breaking $985 billion, the channel can take advantage of the shift from transactional to contractual and move one step further — to rich, meaningful, value-laden engagement — and help ITDMs shine like the superheroes they are.

Free ITDMs From the Mundane, So They Can Focus on What Matters

Any IT manager supporting a help desk or a large mobile workforce understands the pain of being so swamped with daily tasks that they cannot focus on more strategic initiatives. Plus, most IT departments have finite resources, making those monotonous chores an even bigger time suck.

For example: half of IT managers believe they spend too much time managing devices and 63 percent would prefer to shift that time to security and digital transformation. In fact, more than 38 percent say that DaaS (device-as-a-service) would help reduce their workload. DaaS offerings can even reduce the sheer number of help desk. With a contractual service, instead of ordering parts or doing routine maintenance, IT can devote its precious time to supporting business objectives and better serving its employees.

Today, amid a shrinking talent pool where people are stretched thinner and thinner at work, employees want to be able to return to their more mission-critical tasks at hand. However, for many companies, there simply are not enough hands on deck.

The channel continues to have a great opportunity to sell services to overworked and under-resourced workforces that help them manage their device fleets — and then do them exceedingly well, helping ITDMs improve productivity and increase device uptime with analytics and proactive monitoring and maintenance.

Optimize Technology for Your Changing Workforce

Incremental technology upgrades rarely get the outcomes businesses need, because by the time the latest and greatest is up and running, and employees know how to use it, it could be out of date. To proactively plan for digital reinvention, ITDMs often need expert counsel to extract maximum value from new technology. The increasing complexity of technology solutions and the rate of change make this even harder to accomplish, presenting a huge opportunity for providers.

As trusted advisers, providers and channel partners enable customers to achieve the full benefits of their investments, including overall cost savings, increased flexibility and scalability, and improved security, productivity and user experience. In fact, IDC reports ITDMs have estimated a 25 percent cost savings from deploying “as-a-service” solutions. Respondents also believe they can shorten their PC refresh cycle by more than six months. And by harnessing the power of predictive analytics, providers add another layer of intelligence to technology solutions, enabling a range of benefits from reducing the number of over- or under-specified devices and unnecessary inventory, proactively managing and maintaining device fleets, and improving endpoint security and policy compliance.

And then comes recruitment. For millennials and Gen Z-ers entering the workforce, the ability to choose their devices is no longer a nicety. Today, these are simply table-stakes for businesses wanting to compete for top talent. As young people are dependent on technology that helps them do their jobs more efficiently, it is imperative that employees have the ability to manage multiple operating systems and technology brands, ultimately allowing workers to choose their devices. In fact, 84 percent of millennials report wanting some leveling of flexibility at work, including their device choice. Channel partners to ITDMs have a simple sell — invest in the capability to fluidly manage variety of devices or lose out in the war for talent.

Empower Superior Security, in the Office or at Home

Companies that are still approaching security as a reactive effort are positioning themselves to end up in tomorrow’s hacking headline. It is time for ITDMs to move to a proactive position, deploying technology to detect and respond before breaches occur — steps that require not only the right technology but also process and training changes.

The channel can support this by providing expertise IT managers can trust. In fact, 56 percent of respondents in a recent Computerworld survey say their companies are working with consultants to define an IT security strategy, and 40 percent are moving to a managed security service provider (MSSP).

A particularly critical piece of the security puzzle is endpoint devices. Case in point: A mere 16 percent of enterprise IT decision-makers consider printers a high-risk target for a security breach —although 16 percent of breaches came through printers, a jump of 12 percent from the previous study, and a number that is likely underreported given that printers are not monitored as closely as PCs.

This is particularly critical given that a business's networks extend well beyond the four walls of the office. With telecommuting having increased 115 percent between 2007 and 2017, organizations need to be protected in all places their employees work. By bringing together the most secure technology with the specialized expertise and round-the-clock coverage, these services offer ITDMs the ability to keep their information safe without compromises. Further, managed service providers only mitigate security liability end-to-end, but can offer device cycle management, remote support, and lost device — key for an increasingly distributed workforce.

The channel has a two-fold opportunity before it: to shift business models from strictly transactional to contractual, and to enable their customers — ITDMs — to do more of what they do best, supporting business objectives through executing strategic projects. By developing and delivering value-rich engagement, both service providers and their customers win. No capes required!

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