A Tale of Two Tables – Maintenance and Innovation in American Business

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A Tale of Two Tables – Maintenance and Innovation in American Business

When I talk with business leaders, I often note that there are two management tables inside their organizations. The first is what I call the “Run-the-Business” or maintenance table, and this is very important because it’s the group in house that is responsible for making sure all ongoing operations are running correctly.

For the IT team, this means things like budgeting to keep the lights on in the data center, managing the Microsoft Office 365 subscription licenses, or the ongoing tasks associated with an on-premise hosted financial platform that’s running the company books, for example. These IT operation-related tasks are all critically important to keeping the company running day-to-day.

There is a second table that may be even more important to the life and longevity of the company, however, and it’s what I call the “Change-the-Business” or innovation table. At this table, the organizational business leaders are focusing on where they want the business to go and grow in the next three to five years. They’re focused on creating new revenue streams, new business models and disruption in their businesses and industries.

I can assure you that these two “tables” exist in some form today inside every sizable company that focuses on growth, and both tables are vitally important. Run-the-Business is important for keeping the lights on and day-to-day computing, but to build a company and IT organization that is impactful and relevant, three to five years out, requires the perspective of the Change-the-Business table. You must look at the business from technology enablement and technology-driven perspectives. Ask yourself, “How will technology both inside and outside our company change the face of the company, our business model and our customer experience? And how can we drive that proactively rather than react after the fact?”

Get a seat at the “Change-the-Business” table.


We encourage our clients’ IT leaders to get a seat at the Change-the-Business table. Here’s why: Getting a seat at that table, with the proper audience, brings with it a tremendous opportunity. Now you’re involved in the leadership conversations that are focused on driving and directing corporate strategy versus simply providing ongoing support.There’s a change in thinking regarding the best way to improve customer experiences and customer expectations inside most businesses today. Businesses are looking to their IT teams for inspiration and innovation to meet increasing customer demands. And IT teams, in turn, are looking for technology solution providers capable of providing thought leadership and subject matter expertise in disruptive technologies.

Companies are willing to expand their external partner ecosystem, but the new partners must add value to the business strategy. The days of pure product fulfillment – “How many servers do you need? How many routers do you need? How much storage space do you need?” – Those days are over. Now, the questions are: “How are you helping my IT team enable my organization, from a technology perspective, to move forward? And how can you help us deliver the desired business outcomes?”

Choose the right IT solutions provider.


Today, we’re helping our IT customers proactively create opportunities versus react to situations. Many customers are looking to accelerate their go-to-market strategy, whether it be through new product launches, new ways of doing business, or increasing end-user and customer satisfaction. To better serve them, we position our conversations and our assessments from a professional services perspective that help customers drive solutions and business outcomes that genuinely serve the business, rather than merely keeping existing IT running.

This approach often means having in-depth and more strategic conversations with our customers. We’re not waiting for customers to ask the questions. Instead, we are asking them: “How can we help you digitize your business? How can we help you leverage disruptive technologies like Cloud? What are you doing with on-premise applications, how are you rationalizing them and, in some cases, are you moving them to a SaaS model?” This is a very different kind of conversation, and it involves a different skill set than some legacy IT teams are accustomed to having with their partners. Unfortunately, some partners are ill-equipped to have these futuristic conversations.

Case Study: Retail Manufacturing Innovation


We recently led an executive innovation workshop with one of our long-term customers: a retail manufacturer in the Midwest. We provided the client with our thought leadership and perspective on how they could achieve better productivity from their systems across 20-plus manufacturing sites. In this case, the idea was to leverage a wireless networking component in their manufacturing facilities to better facilitate their scheduling and order processing – “from order to cash” – to streamline the entire environment. The plan made it clear that there was an immediate ROI to be captured. They executed on the project very quickly and added the in-plant wireless technology which resulted in expedited revenue flow, lower costs, faster order-processing, and improved cash collection: so far, nearly a million-dollar return on their investment. This move was all based upon our innovation workshop and the new cadence we were able to introduce into their environment.

Another Example: Financial Services Innovation


Another example is a financial services institution in the Northeast where we led an innovation workshop focused on using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology to improve customer satisfaction. Together, we uncovered an opportunity to significantly increase their customer satisfaction by leveraging more virtual environments, including self-service in some cases. Again, the ROI from this innovative change is expected to yield approximately -one million dollars in new service revenue.

Both examples started with a simple conversation – sitting around the innovation table. Each of our workshops delivered a position paper or road map that showed a clear ROI that was quickly attainable. Once each client embraced their innovation strategy, we discussed the specifics for implementation and execution inside their organizations. Following initial implementation, we work closely with each of our customers to provide maintenance support and help our clients embrace the entire lifecycle of the innovation initiative, while reaping the maximum rewards in terms of business outcomes.

MTM Technologies has been consulting on relevant and impactful IT solutions with thousands of enterprise customers for over 30 years, which demonstrates the depth of experience and guidance we can provide to our customers. We have a listen-first culture that focuses on understanding each client’s vision and helping to define the role technology plays in their business – proactively. We can then review how the IT department is providing services that drive the business and look for ways to make their IT departments more efficient both internally and externally.

To learn more about the ways MTM uses its listen-first culture to deliver custom technology solutions to your most challenging business problems, contact us and let us show you what we can do for you.

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MTM Technologies, Inc. is a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, meeting all requirements for attaining the broadest range of expertise across multiple Cisco technologies. We have achieved Cisco advanced specializations in the following areas: enterprise networks architecture, security architecture, collaboration architecture, and data center architecture. MTM Technologies has integrated Cisco Hybrid IT, Cloud and Managed Services, and ensures high customer satisfaction in its end-to-end Cisco solution offerings. As a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, MTM Technologies has access to Cisco’s comprehensive sales, technical and lifecycle services training and support.

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