Even before 2020, Covid-19 and the dramatic upheaval we’ve all experienced, most investors would have accepted the significance of IT and agreed that the role of IT had changed as businesses and their customers embraced the online economy driven by new technologies like AI. But as investment opportunities have increased in these new hi-tech, ‘always-on’ businesses, have investors similarly recognised the mission-critical role of an IT strategy beyond simply a ‘sexy’ online user interface?
Far from slowing down this technology-driven economy, Covid-19 has accelerated it and introduced change in months that we would have usually expected to see in years.
As a result, the significance of IT infrastructure has grown, and it’s now a mission-critical resource that can make or break businesses if it works well or doesn’t. It’s no longer a ‘dark art’ and the preserve of techies confined to a back office. Regardless of size of business or function, IT is now a board-room imperative just like finance and HR. So investors should be examining and challenging their investees’ approach to IT infrastructure, just as they would such other strategic resources as cash and the management team, itself.
Investors have long since examined management capability and development strategy. A number reserve the right to approve senior hires, rather than give existing executives a free hand. Business plans, profit and loss predictions, sales forecasts, etc. have correctly been at the heart of investment decisions, but have those who so often fund innovation and growth fully grasped the significance of IT strategy and the potential it presents? Do they spend the necessary time scrutinising this critical business function when making investment decisions?
The game has changed and so must the role of investors. Just as they’d be expected to understand a business plan, it’s now just as important that investors understand the business implications of a Cloud strategy and how it can be used to enable innovation, flexibility and change, and respond to evolving market/customer requirements – build value!
Investors often occupy a unique position where they have senior, board-level insight across a portfolio of businesses. These may vary widely in what they do, but it’s highly likely that most of them are now increasingly reliant upon IT. As such, forward-thinking investors can compare and contrast IT strategies, identify duplication and pool best practice.
More so than ever before, the Cloud now means that disparate businesses unified by a common investor really can benefit from improved strategies and operational efficiencies, cost savings and the conservation of valuable capital.
Take a look at our Horizon Scan video, which take an informal look at the world today and beyond Covid.
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion MSP
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