In this commentary, Xelon CEO Michael Dudli explains why more focus is needed in the IT services sector.
One of the biggest challenges of many IT teams and IT service providers, in my experience, is the issue of focus. I believe that the technologies and applications have reached such a level of complexity that - if I want to cover the entire range of IT topics - it is a great challenge for the company, but also for the employees, to do so accordingly. On the other hand, if you manage to focus on the topics that move you forward as a company and create added value for the customer, it's a huge opportunity to stand out from the competition.
I was on the phone with an IT service provider recently and we were discussing exactly this. He said, "Hey, I have to focus on so many topics. Just purely in the security area, there are firewalls, web application firewalls, threat protection in various forms, container security, and so on. At the same time, I still have to drive applications, data center, and network - it's way too much unless I have a team of extremely many people, so I have backups accordingly. But most IT service companies don't have that."
We focus on what adds real value for our clients
I see that happening with us as well. We would have the people at Xelon that we could also take care of issues such as our telephone system, but that is not our core business. That means that I want our people to focus on activities where we can add value to our customers: so Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
I think it's the case with all IT teams that you really have to focus on what matters. What I heard more a few years ago (and less and less now) is IT teams and IT service providers saying, "Yes, I have the expertise and I want to keep the expertise." So, for example, knowledge and expertise around data center operations, networking, VMware, and the like. I understand the approach that the know-how behind it should not be lost.
But I believe that practice shows time and again that if I focus on many different things, I will never be as successful as if I really concentrate on the points with which I can create added value and which contain the DNA of my company. The more topics there are, the more likely I am to get lost.
When is it worthwhile for IT service providers to outsource expenses? In our trend report on the strategy question "Make or Buy?" you will find decision-making aids and practical examples.