Business has changed for many in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last year many organizations pivoted to a remote work strategy, and now the focus is shifting to office re-entry considerations. However, for each of these transitions, one aspect that remains critical is the need to secure your workforce and data, no matter where business is happening. So how can you be sure that your IT systems are thoughtfully aligned to support your next strategic phase of business operations securely?
For organizations with managed IT services, strategic conversations are had with your technology consultant during an Executive Business Review (EBR).
What is an Executive Business Review?
The EBR sometimes referred to as a Quarterly Business Review (QBR), is a consistently scheduled meeting with your technology consultant (Account Manager) from your IT managed services provider (MSP). Your consultant will bring the appropriate players to the table to ensure alignment with your company goals. This review should always include your executive team, and depending on your needs, technology subject matter experts, security and compliance specialists, and other knowledgeable stakeholders.
This critical meeting is a macro-level strategic conversation about the direction of your business and its supporting technology. As a trusted IT advisor, your Account Manager’s goal is to support your organization's move to a deeper level of operational maturity. After a quality EBR, you can expect better visibility into your IT costs and the state of your network and its resources. You also gain insight into how well your IT aligns with your business goals and industry best practices.
Why Invest Your Valuable Time?
Nobody likes surprises when it comes to IT investments. One of the significant elements of an EBR is IT planning to support business initiatives, focusing on eliminating unplanned expenses. Because IT is integral to the success of every facet of your organization, input from executive leadership is vital. Discussions center on long-term business plans surrounding your most critical applications and the infrastructure that supports them, your cybersecurity posture, disaster recovery position, business transformation goals, and budget. Executive viewpoints are crucial to provide the direction and priorities that your technology consultant needs to develop a technology strategy focused on achieving the outcomes desired. Decisions are made during an EBR that impact your business and move you towards becoming more operationally mature from an IT perspective. You wouldn’t want these decisions left to anyone but the business leaders.
Expectations of a Value-based EBR
An EBR is meant to be a macro-level, highly strategic meeting of the minds. This is not a venue to discuss daily tactical topics like support tickets and computer configurations, but rather have an open dialogue to share organizational goals and potential roadblocks. Clear communication using non-technical language is used to discuss business topics, priorities, direction, and goals. An example of contemporary questions discussed in EBRs include:
Will you employ a hybrid workforce with some positions permanently remote?
Will you continue using the cloud-centric communication tools you invested in during the past year to replace your existing on-premises appliances and tools?
Have you considered the need for cyberinsurance to address high risk security vulnerabilities impacting businesses in the marketplace?
Based on your needs, your technology consultant will set up an appropriate cadence for EBRs, with a typical agenda that includes:
1. Listening to your needs and business goals.
- An in-depth discussion meant to learn about initiatives and challenges aimed at uncovering opportunities to help your business become more effective and achieve its goals with technology.
2. Driving the conversation to align IT with business initiatives.
- Discussion around success metrics and alignment.
3. Presenting solutions that provide a competitive advantage.
- Differentiators, competitive comparison, and unique value propositions.
4. Assembling and reviewing a 3-5 year IT budget roadmap for future implementation phases that include:
- major initiatives (new branch, new application, etc.),
- network devices lifecycle,
- manufacturer renewals,
- managed services spend,
- carrier design and spend, and
- per added employee cost estimate.
5. Presentation of reports and discussions around red flag observations of unhealthy trends and strategies to overcome them.
- A comprehensive review of KPIs with action items based on opportunities and risk exposure.
- Review cybersecurity posture and ways to fortify your organization against threats.
- Assess any applicable regulatory requirements and identify opportunities for compliance.
- Identify opportunities for better alignment of IT initiatives to business goals.
As a business leader, you set your company up for success by becoming more engaged in IT conversations. The value and benefits mutually gained from consistent EBRs provide what is needed to improve operational excellence through technology. The two-way dialogue is intentional so you can voice opinions and concerns while your Account Manager listens to your needs and understands your expectations. This colloquy is exactly why an EBR is designed and why you will want to attend, rather than delegate, your next executive business review.
What technology problems can we help you solve? Conducting appropriately scheduled EBRs is part of what we provide as your MSP. If you have not had the opportunity to attend an EBR, contact your IT Account Manager to get your meeting scheduled. If you are not a client of Systems Engineering, your IT managed service provider has not provided this level of involvement, and you are interested in learning more about the value we deliver through EBR engagements, please reach out to Systems Engineering. Select the button below and tell us about your IT needs, and we will be happy to have a conversation with you.
If you are a Systems Engineering client and have questions about EBRs, please reach out to your Account Manager. Others, please connect with us at email@example.com or call 888.624.6737.