Focus is Everything
Focus is everything. That's a pretty bold salvo to open this month's blog post. It's a bold statement, but it's absolutely true. When you think about the most successful companies and individuals, what is a common trait that you will find across all of them? They are focused. Focused in what they do, focused in how they act, focused upon being successful, and focused upon how focused they are. We all work with people like this regularly. Good chance that you are one of them yourself. You look at them and you know that they will get it done (whatever it is), no matter what. They don't focus on everything and do not try to be all things to everyone. They focus on what they are good at and it allows them to standout. That's what differentiates them to their peers and customers.
The same applies for organizations that provide IT professional and staffing services. Our company, Vicom, has a very long history of over 34 years. Throughout that time, we've seen many organizations that provide IT solutions, services and staffing come and go. Some were very good companies, but many lost focus. One of the downfalls that we've seen is that they tried to be everything to everyone. You just can't do that. When a customer would ask if they can provide a product or a services, they automatically say yes, whether they can deliver on that or not. And you know what? Customers see through this. Sometimes not right away, but they always see through it. Everyone—and certainly customers—knows that you can't be everything to everyone.
So where am I going with this and how does it relate to my post title of "Focus is Everything"? As you are working with partners who provide IT solutions, services and staffing, it's so important to work with partners that truly focus on the areas that are important to you. If you need Microsoft services, for example, you want to work with a firm that really focuses upon it, and not just does it casually or superficially. If you need Java developers, you want to work with a staffing firm that focuses on developers and not one that does HR people, accountants and occasionally developers and IT people. Because if you don't use firms that focus, you very much risk not getting the quality that you need.
And let me be very clear here: This doesn't mean that a firm might not have focus in multiple areas, or grow into new focus areas. We do. We have 9 key focus areas (http://www.vicomnet.com/our-focus-areas/) and all of these areas are focused on IT infrastructure and solutions, services and staffing around making the IT infrastructure more efficient. How can you focus on 9 areas you say, that's a lot, no? Yes, but for each of our focus areas, we have resources dedicated and focused on that area to ensure we bring the best value possible to our customers. They understand the value that focus brings and we continue to reinforce that focus by meeting with them regularly to describe in detail our focus and give them an understanding of all we do.
That's what we've done from the beginning and what we will continue to do. We certainly evolve our focus when we need—any company has to in order to be able to thrive—but we've always been focused within the IT infrastructure area. Our customers know it. And we've come to be known throughout our region as one of the "go to" partners for our focus areas for solutions, services, and staffing for IT infrastructure.
We are also very transparent to our customers around of focus areas. If we can't do something—or don't do it well—we tell them. We let them know that we don't focus here, or that we can do it through a strategic partner that we bring in who becomes an extension of our company to them. Our openness about the areas in which we focus continues to solidify our trust and relationships with our customers. They know we can't be all things to everyone and to tell or try to convince them otherwise is just a breach of trust and disingenuous. They appreciate our candor and transparency. Our focus has allowed us to become much more valuable to our customers.
So what is the message here? Truly understand where your partners focus so you understand and realize their value. A good IT partner (and there are lots of them out there) will be very forthcoming about what they do really well and focus upon and what they not do well. That also doesn't mean that you might not want to work with them on areas that they are not necessarily strong. But at least you know right up front. Any partner that comes in and tells you "yes" they can do whatever you need, might be right. But there's a good chance they aren't are going to be able to do it as well as someone who focuses on that specific area. Have partners that focus where you need them. If you need multiple partners so you have expertise in those focus areas, so be it. You will be much better off than with generalists who do not focus.
So focus truly is everything when it comes to IT. Focus on partners that give you the value you need, demand it of them and they will bring you focused value around the IT solutions, services and staffing that you need.