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IWD 2024: Three key traits for building an exemplary enterprise IT service team
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

The world of enterprise IT is at an interesting crossroads. Technology is advancing at a faster rate than it has in decades — with cloud, automation, artificial intelligence and other innovations constantly upending the status quo. “Plug-and-play” solutions are seemingly in abundance.  

These developments have meaningfully levelled the playing field for modern enterprises. We’ve reached a moment where what technology you have is not going to make the ultimate difference. Rather, how you use it will become the more critical factor in your business’s success. To be more precise, how you tailor technology to your specific organizational needs is what will set you apart. 

For enterprise technology and cloud service providers, this must be foundational to your strategic approach and even more so to your overall business model. Standardized options and best-in-practice approaches are obviously important to know, but flexibility and agility will set your strategic advising apart. Think about it: You’ll have small customers with fairly straightforward needs at times; other times, you’ll have large customers with uber-specific needs; plus, you’ll have every variation you can imagine in between. You must be able to serve all types of customers so you can drive individualized business success strategies for each one.  

But how do you do that? It starts with building a strong team — one that makes itself integral and vital to the end customer’s operations. There are a few key traits I’ve seen throughout my career that are essential to a great service provider consultant. I’d like to highlight three of them here.  

1. Communication Chameleons 

One of the primary traits I look for in a team member is flexibility in communication. As service providers working with enterprises of all sizes, bringing adaptability to the table is vital not just for implementing and modifying business solutions but for the foundation of your entire client relationship.  

For instance, does the customer prefer email? Do they work better on Teams chats, text messages or phone calls? You must be able to nimbly move back and forth between mediums, with a voice and tone modified for each. My current company operates on a global scale, so I think about these considerations daily. You won’t communicate the same way with a customer or teammate based in New York as you will with one in Chicago, let alone Greece or India.  

But this is about more than just basic communication methods and strategies. This is also about building strong connections on both an internal and external basis. Take your internal engineers. In my experience, the effort you make to build a team with your internal colleagues by communicating with them in the most effective manner for them goes a long way.  You must treat the end customer like the priority they are without neglecting the team you need to deliver that experience to that customer. 

2. Listening Liaisons  

For service providers, it can be more important to listen to what the customer is trying to accomplish than what it is that they tell you they need. To be clear, it is essential to know exactly what they think they want. It’s even more important to work to understand the why.  

This kind of confidence arises from a deep knowledge of the problems end customers are trying to solve and an expert insight into what’s possible. Service providers, in essence, must be equal partners in the process to help resolve issues and move the ball forward for their enterprise customers.  

3. Caring Consultants 
Nothing makes a bigger difference in business — especially today — than actually caring about your customer’s success. Sometimes, people are going through the motions, forget about the big picture, or get caught up in small details that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. This can only negatively affect client relationships.  

However, service providers who differentiate themselves understand the massive impact their work can have on the customer’s business — and make it clear how invested they are in that business. In other words, it’s about knowing the difference the business can make in the world and being comfortable answering the question ‘why’ when a customer or colleague (or even child or citizen) asks it. What does this work mean to you, your organization, and your company? Teams built with people who know the answers to those questions will lead the way, and that will make all the difference. Motivated, happy, and connected teams are driven, collaborative, and successful.  
Being Bridge Builders  
One way to sum all this up is by internalizing the following mantra: “Be bridge builders.” I bring up this concept in interviews and meetings all the time. To accomplish our goals, we have to build bridges between ourselves, our customers, our internal teams and the world. These bridges must be designed to take us anywhere we need to go. So, make sure you’ve built a strong foundation with good integrity so that you can live with what you’ve built.  

In short, when you’re standing at the industry crossroads trying to decide what direction to go, build a bridge.