Solutions for Mid-Market IT Outsourcing

Although they provide unique challenges, mid-market clients are perfect for those outsourcing providers that can tailor their services to the needs of their customers. With large companies, the approach to overhauling their IT infrastructure needs to be fairly general, creating a strategy that has been tried and tested many times before.

Meeting Expectations

Acora exceed the expectations of their clients by outlining the strategy from the beginning. A good outsourcing provider will come across as transparent, knowledgeable and customer focussed. From the client’s perspective they will be able to plan their operations around the IT overhaul and know exactly how long it will take.

An Open Approach

For a mid-market business they need to trust in their outsourcing provider. This means putting the time in to provide an insight into how the business operates and co-operating with the IT specialists. The more information they have about the specific requirements about the company’s IT system then the better they can tailor their approach and deliver a solution that will work from the beginning.

Many mid-market clients are growing, which is why they require IT outsourcing in the first place. Nurturing an open relationship from the outset means that as these clients continue to grow, they can rely on their IT provider to create new solutions as and when they are needed.

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Why Mid-Market Clients Need to Consider Outsourcing Their IT

The previous article outlined the basics of what clients need to know about outsourcing IT for the mid-market. This article however is focussed on why mid-market clients are benefitting more from outsourced IT strategies than their larger counterparts. Mid-market clients are an increasingly important market for companies such as Acora, where they provide a unique challenge to the UK IT outsource provider.

Different Needs

Large companies, although the first kind to take advantage of IT outsourcing, have seen a decline in the effectiveness of taking their IT problems off site in comparison to mid-market businesses. One major factor in this is that the size of the company determines the needs of its IT departments, and many larger companies further compartmentalise the departments as part of their outsourcing strategy. Mid-market companies however, have a tendency to just overhaul the entire IT infrastructure in one go.

Splitting up their IT needs into the help desk, applications and then hardware, increases the cost of handing over control to IT outsourcing in the long run, although in the first instance it might seem cheaper. At each stage technicians from the outsourcing provider will have to come in, make an assessment and then action the new strategy rather than just create an all-encompassing one from the start.

A State of Transition

Another factor that has resulted in mid-market companies seeing an increase in cost effectiveness for outsourced IT is that they tend to be in a transitional state. Growth, acquisitions or even IPOs can result in excess strain on a company’s IT system. This leaves mid-market companies with the options to either pay for an upgrade and redesign the in house IT department, or use an outsourcing provider instead. Usually the latter option is the cheapest, and will be advantageous for the future.

What can an outsourcing provider like Acora offer mid-market companies? Check back soon to find out.

Mid-Market IT Outsourcing

The mid-market is formed of those businesses slightly too large to be called SMEs but perhaps are not big enough to be listed on the major stock exchanges. For any business in this category, they are going to have to take an individual approach to their IT departments, many of which will need to direct funding away from auxiliary roles (like IT) to the primary objectives of the company. Outsourcing provides the perfect opportunity to balance expenditure versus efficiency, where companies that are in a state of transition can benefit from a stable, third party platform.

Mid-Market Clients

Acora is an IT outsourcing company that understands the needs of the mid-market. With an awareness of the pressures that CIOs of mid-market clients are constantly under, outsourcing companies take total or partial control of the IT systems, taking the hassle out of running a modern business. As a testament to the success of outsourcing mid-market companies, 63% of 277 mid-market clients admitted that new IT initiatives were cheaper than the system they were using before and just 44% of large companies said the same.

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The Growth of Mid-Market Outsourcing

IT outsourcing as an industry is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth, with many clients referring to a third party to provide their IT solutions. A driving force behind this is the mid-size market, where clients are coming from all over the world to redevelop their IT infrastructure as a result of mergers and acquisitions.

When a company grows, its IT system has to be able to withstand the increased pressure of new software, larger databases and new products. Because many of these mid-market companies are constantly in a state of flux, it is easier for an outsourcing vendor to provide an overhaul for their systems.

Next time, we will explore the needs of medium sized companies and find out more about the unique challenges they provide to the outsourcing industry.

Engaging the Changing Workforce with IT Outsourcing

It is widely recognised that the capabilities of the workforce are constantly evolving, and that the technology used in the workplace is adapting quickly to suit new methods and strategies. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that company communications were sent by post, presentations were made using overhead projectors and client details were kept in folders and drawers. But it’s also vital that organisations understand just how important it is that they keep up with these developments in order to find, train and retain the strongest possible workforce.

Some of the most promising individuals in the talent pool come from a millennial generation accustomed to a particular way of working. Away from the office, they’ve grown up with instant access to well-organised information, as well as the ability to respond and react to this information immediately. It follows that when they join an organisation, they’re looking for a streamlined and collaborative approach to working that is responsive to their needs and to their methods of information management. When organisations find ways to connect with these ideals, they also find that productivity, and ultimately the potential for business success, increases.

For some businesses, certain processes will have been a staple of their place of work for years. Any attempts to evolve and adapt might meet with some resistance from existing employees, but those firms who hand over the task of modernisation to IT outsourcing companies like Acora will find the process smoother for all involved.

Advances in technology have opened multiple channels for communication between organisations and both their employees and their clients. Such a collaborative, community-focused approach not only provides opportunity for growth for the business, it also reflects new working practices that a younger workforce are more accustomed to.

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The Mobile Workplace

Mobile devices dominate almost every aspect of modern life for the millennial generation, with an array of applications designed to assist with day-to-day tasks, facilitate access to information and encourage open channels of communication between themselves and their peers. Yet many organisations are not utilising the benefits of the technology in the workplace, and by extension are not supporting a workforce which has developed alongside this social and mobile technology.

Flexibility and work-life balance are increasingly important workplace values for the millennial generation. Productivity clearly benefits from less rigid working practices, with a reported 39% rise when flexible working opportunities are provided for employees. Mobile technology also provides the means for staff to engage with training and development programmes at their own pace, and mobile training courses can engage with the preference for instant interaction and reward. As the trend towards remote working takes hold, the provision of mobile devices for the workforce allows for a better work-life balance, an ideal held in high regard by younger employees.

IT outsourcing provides a way for businesses to ensure that the benefits of mobile technology can be introduced efficiently and practically, ensuring the continuity of business, stable security and robust policies for the workplace.

Working Socially

Social networks have altered the way information is received and engaged within recent years, and the popularity of these platforms has promoted a new way of communicating and collaborating in the workplace which focuses on instant access to information as well as cross-functional teamwork. Like a company newsletter without the associated costs, social media can ensure communication flows in all directions: top-down, bottom-up, and side-to-side. As a workplace tool, these platforms also alleviate the pressure that comes with a single channel of communication to help a younger workforce organise and prioritise information according to their preferences.

Streamlined communication channels represent just one benefit of the social workplace. For a younger workforce in the habit of connecting through status updates and document sharing, wikis and micro-blogging platforms offer various advantages over the oft-abandoned content management systems implemented by a business. Information and knowledge can be captured and shared efficiently, while the job of writing, updating and managing the repositories can be divided between the workforce to encourage community ownership and avoid the loss of knowledge if a member of staff moves on. IT outsourcing can ensure that such platforms are easily integrated into existing processes to consolidate the skills of the workforce and to organise and maintain resources in a manner already second nature to the millennial generation of workers.

The habits of social and mobile working should not be broken by businesses looking to adapt to the rapidly changing workplace culture. Clients and customers are recognising that the most-forward thinking companies are open to the influence of their younger personnel, encouraging collaboration and multi-channel communication in order to drive new business strategies. With IT outsourcing providers like Acora, elements of the workplace can be adapted to become more in line with this new breed of employee, whilst still providing the all-important ability to manage, monitor and maintain the workforce.

Key Ways IT Can Influence Enterprise Valuation

Over the years, the adoption and integration of IT in business has underscored its importance in the modern enterprise. While IT started as a back-office function, it has evolved to become a core operational functionality, much like finance and marketing, which increases efficiency and plays a significant role in maximizing the enterprise value. In fact, IT and companies like Acora are critical to the success of an organisation by ensuring routine operations and change management is handled smoothly.

Rather than just focus on the benefits that IT brings to the table, an organisation can effect IT benefits more strongly in the products and services it offers. Doing this requires developing options that allow customers to choose how they will exploit digital technology. For example, the data storage functionality can provide options that allow customers to choose between various recovery objectives and performance.

IT is essential to the strategy of an organisation looking to establish itself strongly in a globalised market. For such an organisation, effective use of IT can be the difference between strong and mediocre performance. Treating IT like a business means extending business knowledge to the IT staff, thus creating more business-savvy personnel. Doing so positions the IT department as crucial to the achievement of company objectives.

The Need for IT Strategy

Many organisations structure their operations and decisions around a business strategy. The business strategy lays down the overall goals of the company and how to achieve them. Likewise, it is prudent for an organisation to have an IT strategy. The importance of doing so it to ensure that the IT investment made is maximized to best effect and delivers value to the organisation.

Typically, many organisations have an IT department (headed by a senior manager) that is responsible for implementing IT. The complexity of the various technologies used, as well as the costs associated, bring up the need for clear strategy. The key to such strategy is to warrant that IT supports the strategic efforts of the organisation, has support of senior management delivers the functionalities that enable better service delivery.

Lack of a clear IT strategy means that the organisation is unable to gauge whether IT delivers in accordance to the overall objectives. Usually when an organisation is under pressure to deliver is where lack of IT strategy becomes crucial. The worst case scenario, however, is where an organisation does not update the IT strategy to keep up with changing business strategy. The result is wasted resources that would be best used in other areas of the business.

Proactive Risk Management

Changing business environment and increasing dependence on IT means that many businesses have to ensure their technology runs without hitches. Downtime and slow recovery are not expected in the modern organisation, thus bringing up the need for proactive approach in disaster recovery. In the event of disaster, the organisation should be prepared to ensure client-facing functionalities are not affected, something that comes with adequate preparation and investment in the right technology.

Reactive measures that respond after disaster or an event (like an audit) are not effective risk management practices, and typically don’t offer solutions that can help alleviate future issues.

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IT at the Forefront of Organisational Growth

From last week’s introduction on enterprise valuation, we established that IT has an important role to play. Being proactive is the name of the game, and we will provide insight on how businesses can leverage IT for better results.

The current business landscape requires organisations to be more forward thinking. A holistic view of all the businesses aspects is needed if proper tracking of progress is to be realised. Business owners have also to ensure they make decisions that have economic sense, for the current and future performance of the business.

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In this regard, a business that seeks to grow has to embrace digital technology. In its various forms (cloud services, big data platforms, software as a service, mobility), digital technology has to the capacity to help the organisation take on varied client requests and perform according to expectations. Organisations that take digital technology in its stride also have to be aware of its influence in the value of the business. A proactive approach to embracing digital technology ensures the organisation gets maximum value from its investment.

For the organisation to realise the full benefits of IT in its operations, it has to take a proactive approach and include IT at the forefront of strategy. Established IT solutions providers like Acora understand the need for visionary business leaders who will take digital technology in stride and use it to complement the company’s core strengths. Flexibility and expert management of IT resources ensures that the organisation can deliver quickly and adapt to the changing business environment.

Be on the lookout for our last post on the series as it brings to light the various ways IT can influence efficiency and enterprise value.

What is Enterprise Valuation?

The value of an enterprise is an indicator as to how the market attaches value to the organisation. The enterprise value (EV) is the aggregate value of the company, and provides a clear picture of the assets and liabilities held. The EV is a much more valid representation of a firm’s value than its market capitalisation.

Whether an organisation is large multinational or a small startup, enterprise valuation is important. There are a lot of factors considered when settling on the EV of a company, with many of them being financial aspects. However, with technology playing a big role in the structure and operation of many organisations, IT has to be considered in the valuation of a company.

Be sure to check out our next post in the series as we go into detail about the concept of enterprise valuation from an IT perspective.