February 12, 2015 by Mike Hillwig
Better. Faster. Cheaper. Those three words define my work.
I work for the hosting group of a software company. Our software is large and complex. Supporting it takes specialized skill in many disciplines. This requires people who understand both the business and the technology. That’s why many of our clients turn to us. We can do it better, faster, and cheaper than they can.
Look at your own business and the things you pay other people to do for you. Many companies outsource their email, IM, web hosting, and telephone services. Why? Your provider can do it better, faster, and cheaper than you can. Do you really want to run your own PBX and web servers yourself when you could be putting those resources on taking care of clients? This is exactly why the cloud is so successful. Better. Faster. Cheaper.
I recently had a conversation with my boss’ boss. Our hosting group is really good at one thing, and that’s hosting our software for clients. We do it better, faster, and cheaper than they can. Every once in a while, someone will decide we should do some extra little thing for a client, and we can make a little extra money doing it. We stumble every time. We did a favor for a client and hosted another piece of software for them. We stumbled. The guy who spearheaded the idea suggested that we could branch into the infrastructure as a service business. It would be like using Amazon or Azure he said. The project didn’t go beyond two clients.
If people want Amazon or Azure cloud services, they’re going to turn to Amazon or Microsoft. Why? They can do it better, faster, and cheaper than we can. And they can do it better, faster, and cheaper than you can.
The things you do incredibly well are called your core competencies. When you can do things better, faster, and cheaper than others, you can make money doing it. But if you do things that have no value to your clients or your company, you should stick to what you do really well, and let some else do those other things better, faster, and cheaper.
Many IT organizations have the mindset that they need to control everything. It’s why so many IT budgets are bloated. When I worked for the construction management company, we needed to add functionality to our CRM system, and we didn’t have the skills in-house to do it. As a construction management company, we would subcontract lots of work. It was part of the company’s business model. When I asked to bring in a third party to do the CRM development, my boss didn’t even blink. Turning to a partner to do the work just made sense. Why? They could do it better, faster, and cheaper.
That’s what business is all about. Provide a service better, faster, and cheaper than your clients can do themselves. It’s a recipe for success.