The New Internal IT: Driving Strategic Initiatives & Finding Capacity in 2021

Kris TuftoFinancial IT, Partners, Performance & Availability

This year, Netgain was a proud gold sponsor at Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Forward Together Virtual Conference. At the conference, our team interacted with attendees through our virtual booth and presented a session on “The New Internal IT” to over 200 attendees. The session, led by Netgain’s Bill Sorenson, VP of Product, and Kate Krupey, Principal Consultant at CoreBlue Advisory, discussed the need for IT to align with and even drive strategic firm initiatives. They also expressed some thoughts on how IT can play a starring role in CPA firms of the future. As your firm plans for 2021, consider the ways in which a cloud partner can be an asset in reaching strategic firm goals. You can find our full recap on the CCH conference and the key takeaways here, but below we’ve specifically highlighted Bill and Kate’s session. In addition to Bill and Kate’s session, our new eBook “The CPA Firm Guide to Strategic IT in 2021”, explores examples of strategic firm initiatives that IT can help drive and an action plan for creating internal capacity in 2021.

Building a Strategic Roadmap

Something to keep in mind right off the bat as you start to build out your firm’s long-term goals is that all components of your firm need to work together in order to achieve those long-term strategic goals. This long-term vision should be broken up into smaller pieces to divide and conquer by setting short- and medium-term goals that ultimately support big reach goals, while keeping in mind potential roadblocks along the way.

Krupey and Sorenson took two common examples of firm goals (the desire to become data driven and the concrete goal of doubling firm size) to illustrate the point. In order to achieve success, define key short- and medium-term goals by identifying milestones with both processes and technology in mind. For example, key milestones for firm processes could include optimizing core service, client and employee onboarding. Technology goals could include cloud centralization, leveraging consistent systems and applications. Having a defined, organized plan is key to seeing a return on investment later down the line.

Why isn’t there capacity?

When thinking about your firm’s near-term goals and the initial steps towards long-term goals, an essential piece to productivity is creating internal capacity for your IT team. Typically, most of internal IT teams’ time is consumed by low-level, mechanical tasks. These mechanical tasks are necessary for the firm to run successfully but don’t add any value to the firm. With the help of a cloud partner, you can offload these mechanical tasks and free up your staff to do more productive tasks, ultimately creating capacity.

Creating Capacity

Leveraging a cloud partner for key tasks greatly benefits your firm. Internal IT teams often struggle with increasing demands from applications and security maintenance, while cloud service providers have expertise in these areas. Sharing responsibility and offloading tasks to a cloud partner allows your internal IT team to shift their focus to strategic projects, aligning with and focusing on the firms’ value.

Additional Benefits of Cloud Services

Partnering with a cloud service provider allows for a stronger, more flexible IT structure. This partnership adds significant resources and value to your firm. There are many other benefits to cloud services including the “only pay for what you use” model. A cloud partner’s immense knowledge and industry expertise can be leveraged when working with the firm, allowing for a level of expertise you would not be able to build in-house. Additionally, with this expertise, a cloud service increases consistency of experience and flexibility to work remotely. It also simplifies M&A integration.

Key Considerations

Private cloud vs. Public Cloud (Microsoft Azure)

Some of the key considerations when choosing a cloud partner include private vs public cloud. With the public cloud, your firm is given top notch level of security that a private cloud provider wouldn’t be able to provide. Public cloud also acts as a strategic technology partner with industry level expertise, deep understanding of applications and relationships with software vendors. Public cloud offers your firm consistent security, reliability, and better performance. Again, going off the idea that partnering with a cloud service provider creates capacity, letting your trusted cloud partner manage security shifts internal IT’s head space and relieves their typically biggest worry, creating “mental” capacity.

When planning for 2021 and thinking about your long-term goals, partnering with a cloud services provider may be one step closer to getting you there. With a cloud partner’s industry expertise, level of security and reliability, your internal IT team can shift their focus, mentally and physically, to work towards driving strategic firm initiatives.

Contact Netgain today to hear more about how cloud technology can benefit your firm and allow your firm to reach new goals in 2021.