Successful IT Partnerships
On April 25th, Basefarm hosted a well-received breakfast seminar on the theme “Cloud safety versus flexibility and faster time to market”. One of the speakers was Anna Rehnström, responsible for the infrastructure at Basefarm. In this article, she shares a couple of her most important lessons about how to achieve a successful partnership with your IT provider.
Meeting different expectations and demands
The role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) can sometimes be lonely and stressful, as you face a variety of demands and expectations from a lot of different people. Anna has previously worked as both an information security manager and security manager, as well as having been part of several management teams, giving her a lot of experience of the CIO role. She has taken part in decisions regarding the choice of IT systems for several different companies.
“Often, the company wants to save money, while having a well-functioning IT system where you can build services that really impress your customers – all while also protecting the data that the system contains. And don’t forget: you also want to make more profit in the middle of all of it.” Anna continues: “As the CIO, you’re swamped with these demands and the request to make it all happen. You’re also overwhelmed with information from suppliers that tell you that their solution is the cheapest, best and better than the rest. The CIO is left to ponder over.
"What do I do now?”
Anna answers this question by giving us 5 tips that she has taken from her various roles throughout her career.
1. Business Impact Analysis
Never leave home without it! This is the first tool you’ll need prior to searching for your IT partner. It will be your guideline from management and outline the foundation of a clear strategy. It will determine what information, services and features are vital to the company’s survival. What data is crucial for us to protect?
2. Classification (Information Security Classification)
If you can only do one thing before implementing an information security management system, it should be to classify the information. Set criteria for how you and your business will protect confidentiality, integrity, accessibility and traceability. Because of GDPR, this is now more in the spotlight than ever. But beyond complying with new rules, it’s also relevant to be able to show your (potential) partner how you classify different types of data before you enter an agreement.
3. Match your needs with provided services
Make sure that you have a partner that reflects your needs and demands in organizational features. You might need to talk to a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in order to ensure that your needs are fully understood.
4. Cloud architecture
Look beyond enterprise architecture, structures and topologies – have a strategy in place for your informational security. Envision which level you want to be on after implementing this change. Make sure your partnership with an IT provider is more than a transition – make it a transformation. Set up your goals in advance and be clear on your ambition and budget. Calculate cost by including manpower and hours spent, as well as the price from the supplier.
5. Visionary goals
To enable a quick decision from the management team, you need to be able to show how this partnership would contribute to the company’s profitability. Prove to them that IT is full of potential and not just a huge cost. Partner with a supplier who can help you realize these opportunities.
Together, you are less alone
After all, the lonely feeling of being a CIO, with all the demands and expectations that it entails, is often lessened by a strong partnership with your supplier. With a reliable partner, you have someone to share both challenges and successes with.