Cars, for many drivers, used to be mysterious machines that sometimes seemed to break down for no reason and were the source of much frustration. A simple WOF could generate a large bill for “panel-beating the tappets back into the master head gasket” – or something that could seem equally perplexing to the non-expert.
Now the IT sector – the computers, gadgets, networks, clouds – has become the new industry master of magic and mystery.
As our reliance on technology has moved from a single computer in the back office running Microsoft Word and MYOB, to an essential element that is front and centre of most businesses, their complexity continues to increase.
Today businesses are faced with new questions such as “Do I really need that new server?” or “why do I pay for a gold-plated Managed Network when my home internet is faster?”
The reality is that IT has evolved quickly over the years, and in some regards, that means it hasn’t been as consumer-friendly as it could be.
The good thing is that this is starting to change.
The two fundamental areas that are shifting are: firstly, the technology itself, and secondly, how it is serviced.
From a technological perspective, the evolution of the Internet into a high-speed and stable service has meant that cloud-delivered software, termed Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is now globally available.
This means that applications can now be delivered straight into the browser, and no longer require local upgrades and storing of data.
SaaS companies often provide apps that are simple and industry-specific.
This is a departure from past all-singing, all-dancing applications that were really a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
Often, they were expensive and complex, but never really delivered what was required.
Now it is easier to get a solution suited for your business, and not have to worry about all the regular maintenance. Plus, you can access it from any device, anywhere.
In terms of IT services, there have really been two views of the world. One says we outsource everything.
The other says we do it all in-house. The reality is that neither of these options fulfil all requirements.
The outsource models can be expensive, and businesses are often left feeling like mushrooms – fed excretions and kept in the dark.
The in-house approach often sees companies running out of skills or time, and therefore quickly running up against limitations.
Where IT services are really evolving is with newer next-gen service providers, who now look to work with customers in a collaborative fashion.
This means working alongside your own team, while providing that extra level of expertise and resource when clients need it.
A collaborative approach can introduces areas of grey. But this can be quickly and easily overcome by working in partnership, and with high levels of transparency.
There is no more “wizard behind the curtain” approach – system performance is revealed in real time.
So like the faithful old car, technology is becoming more outcome-oriented.
We no longer need to tune the carbs and advance the ignition, but can now enjoy using IT that supports your business in doing what it does best.