American enterprise has been on a rapid growth trajectory over the last few decades. Robust consumer spending and business investment continue with unremitting intensity. Deregulation in the 80s and 90s as well as changes to the tax code have laid a potent foundation for continued prosperity.
Despite individual industry’s economic ebb and flow, business success is achievable with vision, the right team, and sheer doggedness. Determined people work 25 hour days in a garage, knowing their efforts will turn into the next Microsoft or Amazon. At the same time, others are content with a more modest operation.
In the current world economy, information technology is a part of the competitive advantage for nearly every start-up. Each growth stage cannot be completed without a firm grasp of IT resources.
- The start-up phase is a complex terrain of brainstorming new ideas, deciding on the ideal customer, and market forces affecting the company’s growth.
- Entering the growth phase, companies in the biotech and life sciences require detailed roadmaps for research and development, along with other core technologies.
- A mature and renewal stage is defined as year-over-year growth in every area of the enterprise. The financial and construction industries have a solid core of employees and matured information technology resources.
Plan Out Strategy and Growth
Information technology plays a profound responsibility when delivering value to the enterprise. A 21st-century organization aims to align its business strategy with Information technology resources to become more competitive.
Superior, highly skilled IT agencies with goals that closely match the enterprise’s goals provide a strong communication pipeline. The competitive advantage for the organization is a strategic focus, few companies possess.
Strategies for competitive advantage require IT personnel to be closely in tune with the enterprise.
1) Cost Leadership is achieved by exploiting economies of scale.
2) Differentiation is achieved by delivering innovative products and services.
3) Focus is a strategy that is closely linked to the success of its customers.
No other component of the organization offers the continuing benefit of a good IT experience from start to finish. In the start-up and growth phases of a smaller company, good relationships with its vendors are vital to success. The larger a company becomes, the more disconnect there is between leadership and its workforce.
Small to medium-sized businesses are the biggest beneficiaries of a great relationship with their IT agency.
- Small businesses can make strategic changes to its business model quicker with the help of IT. New markets can be reached at lower costs.
- Analyzing data is right up the alley of a good IT agency. Greater perspectives into customer wants and needs provide a strategic advantage.
- Responsiveness to new technologies, cloud infrastructure, and innovation is greatly enhanced. A majority of mid-sized businesses thrive on innovative thinking. Good IT agencies provide the resources to make advancements happen quickly and efficiently.
You Need the Right Size IT Agency
In the specific world we live in; there is no one size fits all!
Businesses reaching for the stars have zero time to lose. The current winner takes all environment has the same ratio that has existed for decades. 20% of global companies earn 80% of the profits.
Finding the right agency for information technology is more crucial than ever.
Here are five ideas to get started:
- Know your goals and the outcomes expected
- Experience and specialized team members within the agency make sure they have the right people.
- A strong industry reputation with social media proof should be a requirement.
- Similar core values to your organization.
- A well-designed website with a good client portal for escalating issues.
Countless IT agencies promise everything. The right IT agency for the mid-size company should be a firm with specialties in the areas you require.
Now that we have an idea of what types of agencies and people to look for, the hard part starts. Defining the exact qualifications for the right or near right IT agency takes as much gut feeling (see beer test) as it does research.
Which Qualifications Does Your Company Need Most?
Some companies use personality testing to define skills and compatibility, while others use the incomparable Wonderlic test. Granted, the more information an enterprise has to evaluate a person or agency, the better a decision feels. However, information technology is different; it is what you know that counts. Geeks are welcome.
Look for Great Chemistry!
Decades ago, adults could get a low-skilled job that promised on-the-job training. If you have been looking for a job lately, have you seen any on-the-job training ads? NO. Every position in the new economy requires some familiarity with at least one or two of the job requirements.
A dramatic increase in information technology positions has many would-be technicians applying for every available position. In a lot of cases, the candidate’s experience and job skills have been wholly overstated.
When it is time for your company to look for the ideal IT agency, background references should be demanded. A position in technology requires skill and rock-solid experience. As a client with a potential shutdown event, you do not want to be calling into a party line.
Personality assessments and gut feelings tell you a lot of what to expect. If there is instant rapport, move to the next level immediately. Good people are hard to find.
The right personality is everything and a great predictor of job performance. A Good IT agency will be interacting with each member of your team, and the cost of making a wrong hire decision is steep.
Where To Look
Right now, in the US, there are over a half-million open positions in the tech industry with no change in site. There is intense competition to find talent. Even the IT Staffing companies are booming.
Finding the right talent at staffing agencies, classifieds, or your competition may or may not work.
Unconventional ways to search for talent:
- Networking; some of the best agencies never advertise.
- Referrals, 64% of jobs are found through referrals. Discuss the proposition with your current employees.
- Career websites, yeah, I know, but it is a start.
- LinkedIn, 740 million members and is one of the best job referral services.
Companies must fight to find good talent in the new digital order, and a great or even mediocre IT agency does not walk through your door.
Transparency and Scale
Great chemistry with your IT consultant is only the starting point to a successful long-term relationship. Performance metrics must be established early to avert any confusion. When the right IT company can step in and help your business, so you know what to expect from the start.
This is the point where you find out if an IT Agency can scale rapidly with your business. Every business relationship should establish a series of agreed-upon key performance indicators. The benefits of key measurements go far beyond reducing costs and improving performance.
Strong IT consultants pull everything together for a business. Computer systems run smoother, work platforms are patched and up to date, and the small things like email run as they should.
Agency and vendor performance is most often characterized by time, cost, quality, or by opinion. Having that gut feeling about someone is reinforced with good quantifiable results.
Measurement should go far beyond cost; it should include an overall success metric.
- Adherence to Terms: A pitfall in performance measurement; choosing too many metrics. The goal is not purely measurement but motivation.
- Establish KPI’s relevant to your business and industry niche, including an overall success metric.
- Track Performance: Several quality platforms exist to track stage performances. Any platform should be able to identify areas of needed improvement.
Set Goals and Make Sure Everyone Understand What They Are
No discussion on performance and qualifications is complete without a good understanding of goals for the agency and its company. Collaborative goal setting lays the foundation for a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
It is essential not to have too big of a goal, “establish world peace” is a grand goal, but a bit too big. In addition, goals should not be so vague as to never being reachable. Even though we have all heard them before, here are the criteria for good goal setting and tracking.
- Start slow and small: Goals that work are always better between formed relationships rather than strangers. Success is likely when there are no surprises.
- Be Specific: Know where, why, and when for goal setting. Identify the necessary steps to reach each goal, and the time it will take to get there.
- Measurable: Find common ground on how many, what time, how often, and so on. Either measure the overall completion of the milestone or each step in the progression.
- Achievable and Relevant: Again, world peace is great but right now, maybe not. For a tech agency, track handling complaints and escalation issues. A relevant goal needs to be meaningful for both parties.
- Time-Bound: Deadlines motivate.
So, what is a Beer Test? No, it is not about tasting beer. In essence, a hiring manager plans a few beers with his team and a potential candidate. If all goes well, shake hands, and seal the deal. Recruitment firms and the like want to read into a beer test more than it is; false positives, discrimination against non-drinkers, diversity killer.
The purpose of a beer test or similar, make sure all involved team members are on the same page and enjoy each other’s company. That’s it. The importance of cultivating positive relationships outside work is vital to the success of the entire team.
When to Cut Bait
The idiom “Cut Bait,” in this case, refers to overthinking or over-analyzing a wrong prior decision. Everyone hates to admit they made a mistake, especially one that affects so many. Making the right hiring decision takes a tremendous amount of time and research.
On occasion, even the most experienced hiring manager overlooks a report, misses a file, or forgets to follow up on a crucial piece of information that may have changed the outcome. It happens; the wrong decision is to wait and see if the situation corrects itself, which it usually does not.
Cut bait and move on. Do not procrastinate the decision. Harvard Business Review states the case perfectly:
“You simply can’t tolerate underperformance. Budgets are too tight, margins are too close, and the need for growth is too overwhelming for even the largest organizations to be carrying any dead weight.”
Turn to BACS IT to Grow With Your Company
Information technology is one of the best industries in the world to be a member. There is always a challenge and substantial rewards for those who study hard and apply their craft.
The IT industry is booming! In the United States alone, 20 technology firms are founded each year, with revenues exceeding $100 million. Tech start-ups also have a 63% failure rate because anyone that can pay for a work-from-home study course is getting into the industry. That is why you want to find an IT company with certifications you can see, and references you can check.
As the tech industry grows and matures, the ranks of quality agencies continue to thin out for those businesses in search of a quality tech agency. In the end, you will face one result when it comes to trusted IT consultants.
Turn to BACS IT, a company with highly skilled personnel and IT consultants you can trust.