How to Speak With Your IT Provider Part 1: Build, Guide, or Run


Whenever you’re outsourcing something as vital to your company’s success as IT is, communication becomes incredibly important. You need to be able to explain the needs of your business in clear enough terms that you receive the support and assistance you require. Failing that, you are basically just wasting time and money.

In order to better assist you with your communication needs, we’ve developed a two-part series in which we will be delving into some important concepts and terms you will need to be familiar with.

In this first part, we will define the three broad lenses through which you can view your IT needs, and explain how to use them to communicate your needs.

Lens 1: Build
Build is likely the easiest of these three concepts to understand. As the name implies, you are looking for an IT consultant or provider that has experience developing IT services and systems that best fit your company’s need. Build style services require a great attention to detail and cutting edge understanding of the IT field.

If you’re experiencing massive problems with your information software that you don’t believe can be solved with better training or small upgrades, or if you have no software at all, then you will likely be looking for a “build” type IT service.

Lens 2: Guide
The guide based lens incorporates a wide number of services, but on the most basic you can think of them as IT consulting services. Guide can help you optimize the way your business utilizes its technology, making you a more efficient and effective business. It can also help you train your staff about general IT best practices and concerns.

One of the main focuses on the guide side is IT compliance. There are a number of mandates, such as PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA, that require your business to handle their information in very particular ways. A “guide” style IT consultant will help you protect, track and control access to information in a way that is in line with any applicable regulations

Lens 3: Run
Run services are the extreme of outsourcing. They provide managed IT services for your business so that you can focus your resources where they are more vitally needed. These services are especially great for small businesses and startups, allowing them to have the best IT care without the expense of an in-house team

Run programs include any number of IT services, from managing your SQL database to installing cloud based servers. What really sets the a “run” lens apart is the fact that you’re having them handled entirely by another company.

You can use these three lenses as a way to help self-diagnose the sort of services that your business needs. From there, you’ll be more able to communicate your needs to an IT consultant or provider.