How to build an agile, multi-speed IT strategy (with no stress!)

In this digital age, new technology underpins everything, and is used to create new business models and make customer experiences deeper and more rewarding. So to stay agile and respond quickly to opportunities, businesses need to develop the right technology and IT strategy – and Apple should be a big part of your thinking… 

Of course, constantly trying to keep up with the speed of digital and do it as quickly as possible to create value and hit business goals can put a huge strain on any company’s tech platforms, not to mention giving you a headache. According to research by Info-Tech, 47% of business leaders feel that business goals are unsupported by IT, and if IT can’t support projects that directly benefit the business, it can be seen to be an expenditure with little value.

Effective IT strategies help bring IT in line with your business, however, Info-Tech also report that 92% of IT departments surveyed claimed their IT strategies were less than adequate, with many being seen as “too technical” in wording and content, and not focusing on people or processes. A clear strategy that marries IT up with business needs and objectives, based on in-depth understanding of the business environment, current state of IT, drivers and constraints will help thrust IT into a leadership role.

The need for ‘multi-speed’

We hear the word ‘agile’ bandied around a lot when it comes to developing an IT strategy, but what exactly does it mean? Business strategies need to be flexible and respond to changes in the market, with the ability to change direction and create new opportunities, and it’s the same with IT strategy, with the technology needing to be able to support regular changes of the business’s overall strategy.

While speed and agility are key factors in responding to innovation and disruption, older everyday IT systems within businesses are often not up to that quick tempo and need more care. Shifting operating models sit somewhere in between in terms of the pace of change required. Which is where a more contemporary ‘multi-speed’ approach to IT strategy is required.

Accenture Strategy recently surveyed more than 900 executives on the need for, and ability to deliver, multi-speed IT, and while there was broad agreement on the need, opinions on ability vary greatly. 88% of executives believe that the IT organisation needs to broaden its scope and keep pace with the evolving needs of the business; 70% of executives believed they or their IT organisation could operate and simultaneously support multiple business objectives, or ‘multi-speed IT'; 81% of executives stated that most IT organisations do not know how to operate effectively while supporting multiple objectives at the same time.

So what to do? A few steps for CIOs who want to go multi-speed could include: Firstly, and most importantly, recognising the business needs for multi-speed IT and understanding the current operating model needs to change, then employing new agile methods and governance to support those new ways of operating. You’ll then need to have a rethink of your current infrastructure to accommodate any new tech, and then finally take a good look at your strategy to ascertain where new skills might be needed to support your agile, multi-speed IT strategy.

Introducing Apple

If you are looking at implementing a new agile, innovative, multi-speed IT strategy, Apple is likely going to be a part of that. Apple tech is now a firm fixture in business environments, often as part of a mixed platform setup, but when factoring it into IT strategy, there are still some perceptions that it can be an expensive investment, although the return on investment is actually far greater than cheaper PC counterparts.

During their own internal Apple rollout, when PC giants IBM introduced Apple to their organisation, they did conclude that computers cost around 21% more than similar PC models, but also found that they had a 47% higher residual value, and that they were saving $535 in ongoing costs for every Mac they deployed. Even without taking into account the support savings, the low software costs and high residual value that are part and parcel of owning a Mac pretty much cancel out that extra initial outlay. And in terms of support, they found that a dedicated Mac helpdesk had 98% first time issue resolution with 84% customer satisfaction, compared to 53% for their Windows helpdesk.

Supporting your IT

Bringing in a raft of new Apple devices to a business who are traditionally PC-based can often have a strain on your IT team though. They may only be used to the tools and resources to manage PCs, aren’t set up to manage Macs, and may not be prepared for the regular update/release cycle Apple have, which is different to the core PC fleet. So a little tech support help is often a good idea.

For example, when Hachette UK wanted to consolidate their existing Mac support contracts into one single support agreement that covered both day to day support and project-based work, including helping them transfer five offices to a new, central premises, they came to us to help. We now provide a comprehensive support and repair service for Hachette UK, including onsite engineers to handle the Apple side of their service desk, phone and email support in case of escalations, installation and configuration of new machines, deployment to desk and more.

They now receive more comprehensive, better value support for their Mac users, from onsite engineers embedded in the Hachette team. They have a team of engineers familiar with the Hachette environment available for cover and
times of high workload, a single point of contact for all their team, with additional resource available at peak times, better second and third line support, a managed repairs service for faulty units, as well as strategic advice for key projects. Read the full case study on our work with Hachette UK here.

How we can help

If you’re considering reviewing, updating or building your IT strategy over the next five years, and want a clear roadmap for your Apple estate, we can help. Our team have been supporting mixed environments for 25 years, and provide nationwide support coverage for some of the UK’s biggest creative companies, often working with their existing Windows-centric systems integrators to ensure Mac and PC users can enjoy equality of service. We can even provide fully outsourced IT options to take the pressure of supporting Apple environments off your own team.

Rather than delaying support while you retrain existing staff or taking on the additional overheads that come with a new hire, many companies choose to outsource their Apple support to a third party specialist. And instead of bringing everything in house, we’re now seeing central IT teams acting as hubs for ‘multisourced’ IT services – where every service is delivered by a specialist provider, all of whom report to the same team within your organisation. That internal team then manage these different specialists in order to deliver as-and- when access to services for end users.

While this might sound intimidating, managing specialists is often a far more efficient use of your team’s time than attempting to deliver services or support themselves when they aren’t fully conversant in the technology that needs to be supported. In this whitepaper, we’ll be looking at the changing face of IT service provision, what you need to consider when choosing an outsource partner, and how this can affect your IT budget.

Not only will outsourcing take the hassle out of managing and supporting your tech, but it can seriously save you money too. We offer three varying levels of outsourced support whether you need to cover a company-wide deployment, or a few staff members insisting on using Mac, including a full time Apple engineer working as part of your team, an onsite helpdesk or your own tech bar.

If you’d like to find out more about laying out your IT strategy, implementing Apple and outsourcing your IT, give us a call on 03332 409 365 or email For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

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