IT executives spend significant amounts of time planning and contemplating product lifecycle management, but considerably less time thinking about their organization’s lifecycle. Where you are in the journey from startup to Blue Chip will profoundly affect your strategic plans, and IT Logistics struggles manifest in different ways depending on the stage of the journey. IT Logistics will challenge any organization regardless of lifecycle phase, but that pain rears its head in different ways as an organization grows and matures. However, people frequently fall into the trap of solving the organization’s current problems, without considering the pain this causes when they reach the next phase. This creates an IT Logistics Pain Cycle, and, while not a panacea, implementing automation into IT Logistics processes can help break the cycle once it is understood.
Startup – “It is painful to execute tactical logistics functions without the resources of a larger firm”
Generally characterized as operating with limited funding, the IT Logistics pains felt by startups can be summarized as “inconsistency”. The IT Logistics solution unintentionally evolves into a fleet of varying assets, non-preferred management software, and insufficient internal controls. In this phase of the lifecycle, the firm is generally small enough where problems can be solved by brute force, but this approach eventually struggles to scale with the business. When the pain subsides, both a blessing and a curse are left in its wake. As the firm succeeds, more resources come available, but the underlying processes deficiencies remain unresolved. The cycle is primed for pain to reemerge in the next phase.
Thankfully, startups are no longer beholden to the IT management model that requires scale to benefit from automation that solves these problems. Outsourcing some or all of these IT Logistics processes under a managed services construct allows access to best of breed software solutions and management processes without the large upfront investment.
Pre-IPO – “It is painful how much money we spend to make sure our users are at peak performance during the run-up to this critical milestone”
There is buzz in the air as the whispers grow louder and more frequent: the company might soon go public. At this point, early investors are usually willing to provide a cash influx to ensure the business has whatever it needs to clear this hurdle. And while this is a welcome relief compared to the early days when equipment and tools were scarce, IT leaders cannot help but wince at the breakneck rate of expenditure. Surely it will all be worthwhile once the stock ticker reaches the public exchange, but those that remain in the organization for the years to follow will be left to pull in the reins on spending.
Automating procurement processes and inventory management systems will help target and execute cost cutting measures when they eventually become necessary. And while investors are judicious with their incremental investments leading up to the IPO, it is easier to acquire funding and budget in this lifecycle phase than the next one.
Steady State – “It is painful how cumbersome our processes have become in search of cost takeout”
IPO euphoria eventually fades, competitors begin to encroach on profitable offerings, and shareholders start to demand improved quarterly earnings. The organization has reached steady state, and with that maturity comes the bane of every well-established organization’s Dilbert-esqe reality: perpetual cost cutting. As budgets get squeezed, IT Logistics processes that used to be governed by “do whatever it takes to get it done fast” have been replaced with overly rigid and bureaucratic process controls. Unlike previous phases of the lifecycle, this pain cannot be conquered by throwing money at the problem. In fact, feckless spending habits were likely the reason for instituting these draconian limitations.
At this phase of the Pain Cycle, automation is the key to achieving the old axiom of “work smarter, not harder”. As with most other investments, implementing IT Logistics automation will need to demonstrate a healthy ROI to justify the capital. But provided the organization has grown to the point where cumbersome processes are the norm, automation of rote tasks will likely come as an easy sell.
Established – “It is painful that we are not fast, agile, and responsive to our user’s needs like startups are”
Now we have come full circle and IT Logistics pain manifests as longing for what once was. While the old days may have been painful in that resources were limited, there are fond memories of when “stuff just got done”. Everyone found a way to make it happen by sheer will and what may have lacked in efficiency was made up for with results. People were empowered to solve whatever problems they discovered, because everyone would drown on the same sinking ship if they failed to act.
While automation may not be able to instill the same empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit that once characterized the now multinational conglomerate, it can provide a level of insight that allows IT Logistics operators to make the best decision for their end users in as close to real time as possible. At scale, it becomes impossible for human beings to brute force their way through global problems that armies of end users face. But aided by the right automated enablers, IT organizations can ease the pain faced by managers and end users alike.
Innovation must be at the forefront of your business. But, it’s much easier said than done when it comes to the evolving needs of IT Logistics. Schedule an IT Logistics Consultation today with one of our experts to discuss your business needs and questions.