Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a critical business enabler in today’s enterprises. It enables greater efficiency, a more agile workforce and the ability to do business regardless of geographic boundaries. The term ICT refers to a multitude of different, disparate and increasingly complex technologies that share a single converged communication infrastructure based on IP or Internet Protocol.
Despite the complexity of the individual solutions, more value can be unlocked if the interoperation and integration between such technologies is understood and enabled, and allows the overall ICT system to work seamlessly. Conversely, this adds yet another layer of complexity. As a result, ICT in not about the technology, but increasingly about the services that are required to deploy solutions, configure them, integrate them and to ensure that they keep on working and that full value is derived in a business sense.
Whether the overall solution incorporates access to data, enablement of people on the move or at remote sites, connectivity between people or devices, or whether it includes the ability to support decision making, monitor progress or raise alarms, these types of systems are frequently business critical to the extent that the typical enterprise cannot operate at all when they are not working as intended. Keeping the systems working, and ensuring that maximum value is derived, requires very specific skills and experience, which in most cases is not affordable for the majority of businesses on a full time basis. Many enterprises are embracing the concept of managed services, service delivery from the cloud, or the use of expertise on a project basis to facilitate maximum service delivery and value add in the technology space.
The required expertise can be deployed to facilitate cross sub-system integration, deliver business level implementation assistance, human resource enablement (including training, process work and design and implementation of reporting) followed by change management and on-going support where required.
ICT, while crucial in the modern enterprise, is no longer simply about purchasing underlying technology and ICT tools. The days of box dropping are over, as enterprises can source tools online without the need for a reseller. However, as technologies are more complex than ever and are mission critical to the successful running of a business, services are required.
Such is the nature of the ICT solution evolution that providers no longer simply supply technology, but should rather become partners of the organisation, working together to ensure investments deliver the returns required. Delivery of professional and technical services are critical in leveraging the full value of ICT, and without the assistance of a trusted partner, organisations are often left with sophisticated tools that are not used and are a waste of significant investment; the intended enablement just does not happen.
Paul Fick, Chief Technology Officer, the Jasco Group