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Outsourcing makes IT transformation less painful
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Outsourcing makes IT transformation less painful 

They are likely using modern technological solutions such as the cloud, whereas you may be saddled with legacy hardware. The transformation to the cloud or other cutting-edge solutions need not be complicated and headache-inducing. Alex Hobbs, head of IT solutions for SMBs at the technology solutions provider Backbone, offered his advice on how to make IT transformation less painful and more positive.

Hobbs advocated outsourcing technology transformation. “I think companies should always look to work with partner on this journey,” he remarked. “Focusing on what you and only you can do is the key to business, so if you are a carpenter, do that, don’t spend your time doing accounting, as this is not your skill and you won’t be as efficient or good at it as someone who has chosen that as their vocation, as everyone is time poor and must ensure they generate as much value from their time as possible.”

Can small and medium-sized businesses afford to outsource? Hobbs believes the answer to that question is yes. “Small firms have less in-house expertise, so I would say are far better suited to an outsourced model than larger organizations, especially as it will typically be cheaper and faster to outsource than to do it oneself,” he commented.

Adhering to Agile principles during this transformation is also important. In spite of the fact that Agile principles were introduced a decade ago, Hobbs opined that they are still relevant. “Agile is a mind-set more than anything else,” he asserted. “It is all about principles that can adapt to changes in technology (and indeed business goals), just as one can be ethical as a carpenter or as a computer programmer. The passage of time does not negate their value; merely the need to contextualise them becomes more pressing. When you invest in technology you need to ensure that it can adapt and flex to changes in technology, as these are ever increasing and a given, but also that your technology allows you to pivot your business and adapt at a strategic as well as an operational level.”

What are some of the traits that a company should look for when starting the search for an outsourcing partner? Hobbs enumerated several qualities. The first characteristic they should seek is trustworthiness. Upgrading hardware or software is a serious undertaking, and the customer wants to feel confident that their outsourcing partner can be relied upon. The second quality is likeability. Although the outsourcing space is not built upon a popularity contest, it is important that clients find the experience of working with a company pleasant and enjoyable. If a business cannot offer good customer service, it will not last long. Hobbs’ third and final criterion is that the outsourcing firm has a solid reputation. “I don’t believe in selling myself, but rather letting what I have done speak for itself,” he said by way of example.

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