Play to Win, and Don’t Get Defensive

At the height of the Sneaker War between Adidas and Nike in the 1980’s, Phil Knight, founder of the brand known for its Swoosh logo and high-flying Air Jordan basketball shoes introduced changes to Nike’s corporate Code of Ethics. Number one on the list was this rule:

“At Nike, we are on the offense, always. We play hard, we play to win, and we play by the rules of the game.”

Talk about a workplace morale booster! Everyone wants to be a player on a team that shows up to win and isn’t afraid to take the risks required to do it. But, a lot has changed in the environment of business since the 1980’s. There are more systems, more people, more data and more integrations and cross-functional expertise to make sense of it all. Let me ask you, are most of today’s organizations playing offense? Are they playing to win in today’s complex IT and business environments? Even if they wanted to, could they?

Defense Might Win Championships, But It Kills Businesses

The formula for playing offense in business hasn’t really changed. Perfecting your core competencies, understanding your customer base, delivering desirable products and services and seeing “around the corner” remain some of the key ways to ensure profitability and business success. And theoretically, all the systems we’ve acquired since the computer revolution should make it easier, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, it has in many cases had the opposite effect. Instead of becoming leaner and producing more with less, we now have legacy tools and infrastructure that quite literally sit on the shelf and cost us millions of dollars to maintain. It is our own enterprise architecture that forces us into playing defense. Our staffs are bloated and the age-old statistic that IT organizations spend 80% of their time, effort and dollars on support, and only 20% on innovating and bringing new things into the enterprise, becomes a very real reality for many organizations.

While things like software-as-a-service and Cloud platforms have indeed become tools for organizations to offload some of the burden of legacy applications and infrastructure, they’ve also dramatically decreased the cost of entry into the business environment. It used to be that all those systems and processes were an asset to an organization, but in many ways, they’ve morphed into liabilities.

Companies like Dollar Shave Club, with less than 200 employees, are being bought up with acquisition prices in the billions. Never in history has it been easier to play offense and get in the game for less than it does today. Does this mean that every company that has been around for longer than 10 years is doomed? Of course not. Those companies still have massive advantages when it comes to playing offense like branding and an existing customer base. It is a reminder though that focusing on perfecting your business model and innovating for tomorrow is mission-critical to longevity.

Invent the Future, Don’t Respond to It

The model to play efficient and effective offense in business for long-term success in 2018 and beyond puts a heavy emphasis on partnerships. As you look at and recruit top talent, are they coming to work for you to “maintain” age-old technology stacks? Or are they coming to you to push the boundaries of innovation, refine your business processes, build skill-sets and help you compete in the market? If it is indeed the latter, what obstacles may stand in their way that prevent them from being 100% effective? Is it overly burdensome systems, hardware or applications? Is it a lack of insight into dispersed datasets and databases hampering your internal teams from extracting business value? Are there questions on how to best take advantage of new technologies and migrate to newer, more efficient platforms?

IT Authorities partners with the largest brands and organizations in the world to take on the burden of monitoring and managing their hardware, networks, software applications and mission-critical ERP support functions. We also work collaboratively alongside our clients to help asses, migrate and manage their Cloud infrastructures. We do this so that our customers can attack the future of tomorrow and position their internal teams to bring real value to the marketplace. By allowing our clients to refocus their attention on the things that matter across their enterprise architecture, both IT and business teams are free to create and deliver world class experiences for their customers and ultimately win new business.

Whether you need assistance managing your internal systems and hardware, software applications or cloud environments or even building and delivering new applications and more efficient processes, IT Authorities has the industry knowledge and expertise to keep you playing offense 100% of the time.