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The Changing Face of IT: 5 Things to Demand of your IT Partner

The times they are a changin’. And no more so than when it comes to how organizations today can use technology to advance their objectives. From desk-to-desktop sales pitches and social media campaigns to BIG DATA number-crunching and cloud solutions, the Internet continues to redefine how we live and work.

For those organizations with change on the brain, a logical step is to seek out a new IT partner with the knowledge, resources and strategic chops to deliver a fresh perspective. If so, we argue that you should demand a lot more than you once did of your IT partner. It’s not enough to just keep legacy server-desktop solutions on life support; your IT partner should be moving you forward, or at least bending your ear, on a whack of important technology subjects. Here are five things your IT partner should do for you.

  1. Manage ALL of your devices and platforms. If you’re anything like most organizations out there, members of your staff need to be connected 24/7 and use Windows, Apple, Android and numerous other mobile, tablet, and computing software and hardware solutions to get their jobs done. No matter how messy the jigsaw puzzle, your IT partner must be technologically agnostic and able to manage all of it. “We don’t support Macs,” just doesn’t cut it in 2012.
  2. Help your staff use new tech, especially social media. It’s sad to say, but most IT solution-providers take a Petri dish approach: Just drop the technology on an end-user and let them learn through experimentation. Oh, oh! Instead, your IT partner should help you establish procedures and protocols—such as how employees should participate in the social web properly—and then literally train them on how to use the new technology safely and efficiently.
  3. Migrate your technology solution to the cloud. Cloud computing provides organizations with an exciting set of opportunities, from enhancing their networked services and security, to cost-cutting and reclaiming the server room in their office. Your IT partner should be leading the charge, walking you through new platforms like Office 365, exciting new CRM solutions and custom public/private cloud solutions. It may sound awfully geeky, but “there’s gold in dem dere cloud.”
  4. Protect you from privacy and security threats. As our dependence on the Internet has grown, so too has the risk of threats like spyware, malware, viruses, Trojans, phising and spam. Today’s IT partner should be a security expert, helping you establish and maintain a watertight security strategy and infrastructure. Moreover, they should be educating your staff on how to avoid risky business, such as using company computers on public networks or “unsubscribing” from suspicious email.
  5. Remember the human condition! No matter how much technology we embrace, we’re still all human beings who need the support and reassurance of other people to succeed. No more so than with your IT solution-provider. Conversations about technology should be positive and constructive (not onerous and defensive) and leave an organization’s end-users feeling empowered. More than ever, your IT partner must provide excellent, “always-on” customer care.
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