Before you ask yourself - Do I have an "IT guy" or a "Trusted Advisor"? - first you have to ask yourself, "do I care?" If you don't, then there's no doubt that you have an "IT guy". Regardless of what he's capable of, if that's all that you're ever going to see him delivering, then that's all he's ever going to be. If you do care, then even before you ask yourself what you have, you have to consider what you want.
My point is, it's quite difficult (if not almost impossible) for your IT Service Provider to be a Trusted Advisor if you won't let them be one. We run into this all the time. If all the client cares about is doing the absolute minimum, reacting to problems, keeping costs down (at all costs), and always thinking short term, then you're in trouble. There's almost no way to be a trusted advisor to someone who doesn't want it.
The word "advisor" is an active noun. It implies action. It implies proactive action. It's professional. If you're not planning, then your partner can't be advising. To have a "Trusted Advisor" is a two way relationship. It requires involvement on both sides. For us to be a "Trusted Advisor", we literally have to be a partner with our clients in their business. We can recommend till we're blue in the face, but if nothing is done about it, are we truly advisors? No.
Now, you have to ask yourself - are you willing to pay for it? If the answer is no, then we're back to "do I care?" If you are (willing to pay for it), then regardless of whether you actually have to (pay for it, you've just escalated the discussion up to a whole 'nother level. The fact that you are willing to pay for it will take you to the level where your expectations are higher and the demands you'll be placing on your IT service provider are higher. And this is key. But - "willing to pay for it" doesn't necessarily mean what you think I mean - paying more for our services. On the contrary, we often times advise clients to spend less on us by spending more on something else. We may ask clients to spend for a better solution so that our ongoing support fees will be less and their productivity will be more (long term thinking)
For you to take your business to another level, you need to be surrounding yourself with advisors who bring more to the table than what you may be asking for. You need someone who will add value above and beyond what you ask for, but rather - what you need. This is where your IT Service Provider is truly a "Trusted Advisor".
So, back to the question - do you have an "IT guy" or a "Trusted Advisor"? The difference could be the difference between your success and failure.
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