Every year, CompTIA, the world’s leading technology association, assesses the “technology landscape” for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“With the groundwork of cloud, mobility, data and connectivity laid, the year ahead will see evolutionary advances on many fronts,” Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s senior vice president for research and market intelligence, said of the organization’s IT Industry Outlook 2017 in a news release.
“Digital business transformation remains a driving force for small and large enterprises alike,” Herbert explained. “Organizations will have the opportunity to explore advances in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, the Internet of things, and inevitably, a few unexpected breakthroughs. Those playing catch-up will face growing and potentially new forms of competitive pressures.”
For small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) one of those “pressures” surely will be keeping pace with customer and employee demands for faster, smarter productivity applications and networking equipment. That’s why so many SMBs turn to IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) for help.
But how can SMB leaders assess whether an MSP can manage the emerging technology projects that will help them compete, innovate and grow? Experts at CompTIA recommend SMB execs look for these “7 Critical Project Management Skills for IT Pros”:
- Technical Acumen – What sets an IT project pro apart from non-technical project managers is inherent knowledge of core business systems, such as networking, cybersecurity and unified communications Great MSPs have project managers who know enough about the technology involved in digital business to ask the right questions and cover all the bases.
- Leadership – Good project managers of any type know how to direct individuals and teams – whether those people work for client companies or within their own organizations. Great MSPs closely track assignments, help build consensus and influence decisions from the front lines to the C suite during implementations of all kinds and across organizational boundaries.
- Communication – Effective technology management requires articulating project objectives and the steps necessary to achieve them, especially when momentous change is involved. Great MSPs understand who needs to know what information and the best way to deliver it – especially when it’s unwelcome or disappointing news.
- Negotiation – IT projects often blend a variety of users and stakeholders across an organization. Great MSPs establish constructive working relationships with users and individual stakeholders based on understanding everyone’s needs. So, when requirements are at odds, MSPs can help foster compromise.
- Organization, Agility and Flexibility – Successful IT project managers seem as systematized, swift and nimble as the technologies they install. Great MSPs track and coordinate numerous activities across multiple teams, identify and locate relevant devices and tools at a moment’s notice, and switch focus quickly to ensure effective service and an implementation’s success.
- Attention to Detail — A good project manager knows the importance of details like deadlines and action items, no matter how small. So does a great MSP.
- Problem Solving — When challenges arise, effective project managers see the big picture and find solutions that work for everyone involved. Great MSPs never forget that helping their clients face technology challenges is the reason they exist.