By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO

Okay. The excuses are over. No more blaming the holiday season and being too busy. No more saying we’ll get to that later in the year. And we can’t say the year hasn’t been good and the budget is blown because it’s a new year. There’s no more putting it off: It’s time to get to those IT projects.

Arguably unlike any other area of the business, IT projects just keep coming. Even if you try to hold off on big projects, PCs, servers, switches, and other infrastructure items need to be replaced. Data security changes and evolves almost daily. And how long can you go without making system changes before you lose opportunities to your competition?

So now that it’s time to get down to business, are you ready? Is your team ready? Do you have the right people to fill the right roles? If you do, that’s great. If you don’t, there’s no need to worry. There are many organizations out there that can fill any gaps you might have. Your only issue may be finding the right one for you.

Can You Relate?

IT is confusing. And every vendor claims to do all kinds of things and talks about topics foreign to the average businessperson. But IT help is not cheap. And before you start throwing money at a company with a nice website and a talented sales guy, you owe it to your company to do your homework.

I’m not going to claim our organization is any better than anyone else’s. Relationships are tricky things. Some organizations line up well together, some don’t. You can take almost any software or services provider and find people who’ve had success with them. On the flipside, I could tell you companies almost anyone could succeed with; nevertheless, they’ve been involved in some less-than-desirable outcomes.

And while we’re on the subject, I’m not a big fan of paying people for opinions or to help you make a decision. I know there are companies that do such things in an honest and ethical manner. But there are plenty that don’t. They have backdoor alliances or ostensibly independent opinions that coincidentally always end up at the same place. There is a ton of information and references out there, as well as people who will provide their opinions for free, if you take the time to investigate.

It’s Your Choice

At the end of the day, you have to find the partners that are right for you. It might take a little work, but I’m confident you can get there.

If all else fails, just follow Billy Joel’s advice.