While in a perfect world no one would ever find themselves feeling as though they were being held hostage by their IT team… we have unfortunately encountered this quite a few times over our three decades in the IT outsourcing industry.
Many of us are in a position where our business literally cannot function without our technology systems. And when you don’t trust the people who are responsible for that technology (whether they’re internal or external), it can send stress levels through the roof.
Will the people with the keys to your castle neglect that power? Abuse it? What does that mean for your operations? Your reputation? Your clients? Your employees?
It’s a delicate situation but not an insurmountable one by any means — we know this because we’ve helped many organizations navigate it successfully.
Based on our experience, here are four key recommendations:
1 – Assess where trust was lost.
There can be many different reasons that you lose trust, some of which imply greater risks than others. Is the issue more of apathy? Incompetence? Malice? Does a lack of transparency or communication have anything to do with your perception?
2 – Get a second opinion.
It can be difficult for non-technical people to make fair assessments of technical staff. What appears to be poor performance could be linked to lack of sufficient resources or budget. What appears to be sufficient security protocol could be woefully out of line with best practices. Consider a third-party assessment for an objective evaluation of your situation and how to best move forward.
3 – Separate with precision.
If it comes to separation, plan the timing precisely and coordinate a full account lock-out in advance. Especially in instances where your IT resource is disgruntled, this is critical to the safety of your data and the continuity of your operations. Where possible, make severance contingent on cooperation — including knowledge transfer with your incoming resource.
4 – Have a change management process.
Since your IT team plays a role central to your business, treat this as more than a simple staffing or vendor switch. Use a formal change management process to mitigate risks and to get your team comfortable with (and perhaps even excited for!) the transition. Many outsourced providers will have some of this built into their onboarding procedures.
We hope this helps get you started and lessens some of the anxiety from what is unquestionably a difficult situation. If you’d rather delegate, we’re here to help!