Something’s not working for your business when it comes to IT. It’s why you started looking around at alternatives. You even started having conversations with providers with the intention to make a change. So why haven’t you decided? Because those decisions can be hard, especially the higher the stakes become. It’s human nature to avoid difficult tasks.
Yet, sticking with the status quo is a decision. And not deciding is often a bad decision. The cost of not deciding to change your IT situation may be higher than you realize.
How can you evaluate IT alternatives?
Most everyone is familiar with the concept of opportunity cost. It represents the benefits you lose by choosing one alternative over another. Some of those benefits (or opportunity costs) can be easily represented in monetary form. Others are less direct and, therefore, not always considered as a cost because the impact is more difficult to quantify.
Make sure you consider all the costs of each alternative, including not deciding, to make the right decision for your organization.
What’s the cost of not deciding to change IT providers?
So, if “not deciding” is a decision alternative, what are the costs of maintaining the status quo? Remember, you started the investigation process because something about your IT situation was not right. Maybe you don’t know why that is but you can feel that it’s demanding more of your attention than you’d like.
Do any of these situations sound familiar for your organization?
- No one is ultimately responsible for IT
This can often result in multiple executives becoming involved with IT issues because there is no clear process or chain of command in resolving problems. What is the cost to the company when executives are distracted? It’s more than just the hours they spend directly dealing with the issue.
- No company IT strategy
Without a clear technology roadmap reflecting business objectives, there’s a risk that you are buying technology that fails to meet those objectives or overinvesting for more than what’s required which could result in a poor ROI.
- Lack of documented standards
Different people or partners are setting up areas of your IT environment with different hardware, software, or processes. What is lost then are the financial and learning efficiencies and interoperability that come with buying and installing similar equipment according to a documented set of protocols.
- Frustrated users
Poor user support or poorly functioning technology can lead to frustrated staff, lost productivity and perhaps, employee turnover. Can you afford to lose customers and employees because of poorly functioning technology? In today’s highly competitive markets, this should not be an acceptable cause for client or staff attrition.
That’s the risk when all the company’s IT knowledge is stored in the head of one individual. Perhaps you’ve tucked that risk away because you’re not sure how to minimize it. Yet, what are the true costs to the organization if that knowledge suddenly disappears?
- Poor branding
How will both prospective customers and employees react if your technology appears to be outdated or doesn’t function like your competitors? Think about it from your own personal shopping habits. Are you drawn more toward a modern, tech-forward business or one that hasn’t updated its website and customer portal in more than 5 years?
- Increasing IT maintenance
If your IT staff or partner are spending more of their time maintaining and fixing problems caused by poorly functioning IT, what is cost of lost time to improve, automate, and innovate? How will poorly functioning IT affect your competitive position in the market?
- A la carte IT
Adding products, features or bringing services to fix things that break on a one-off basis can seem the prudent path until the day arrives when you realize it all must be dismantled and rebuilt because your network gasped its last breath. Are you really spending your IT dollars wisely?
- Suspect security
Not only do you have to worry about the cybersecurity profile of your company, now you need to be aware of how your external IT partner secures their business to protect yours. Can you determine the potential risk a weak partner may represent? Do you understand their own internal security measures? Do they have cyber liability insurance? Would that cover any of your risk?
Not Deciding is Usually Not the Right Decision
There are times when the status quo may make sense. The opportunity costs may not be worth making a change. However, you started looking at other solutions for a reason. And at some point, you went into buying mode by researching alternatives and even started talking with other providers.
Investigate all the potential costs of each alternative to fully understand what you are giving up by not selecting another alternative before you make the decision to not decide.
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