Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Words of Wisdom from the Youth of Today

Most businesses outsource some things. Most business owners recognise where their skills lie and choose to get someone else to do the bits they find difficult to manage. Toilet cleaning and office cleaning for instance. Network support. Even HR, credit control and marketing.

No business can do everything for themselves. So every business needs trusted partners who make all those nasty little problems go away. We all spend precious time agreeing SLA’s and wording contracts, but when it comes down to it we are looking for solutions. We want people who get their thing done and leave us to get on with our own thing.

Choosing a partner is always difficult. Everyone always talks a good game. I have done a fair bit of service and product procurement in my time, and it involves the same skills as recruitment and finally a leap of faith.

The trouble with IT recycling is the different audiences we service. At the IT Manager or Facilities Manager end of the spectrum, we solve problems. Dismantle and clear those desks, lift that barge and tote that bale...why of course sir, no problems. Normally we are loved and valued once we do some stuff.

However, at the very top, we are not providing a service, we are managing risk. 

These are big picture people and the big picture is a £500k fine or being named and shamed, watching the brand get kicked about like a football. At this level we have to sell the process, and exude confidence about data security.

Then in the middle is the budget holder, the bloke who is often tempted by a cheap price. He is blasé about the risk and unsympathetic about the excellence of our service, but he signs off the estimate and always represents the biggest hurdle.

And sometimes one person can be all three of these people, with all the conflicting pressures that involves. So it is sometimes hard to know which button to press. We are green, we are data secure and we are cost effective, but we are neither free nor cheap.

My son had an interesting and sweetly innocent view on this. Like all teenagers, he is seldom if ever interested in what I do for a living as long as he can scrounge a tenner whenever he wants. But recycling captured his interest, as did data security. And this is strange. My fifteen year old is more worried about data security than quite a lot of adults who should know better, because he thought he had got caught in a phishing scam and it bothered him.

Anyway, I digress. His view was that recycling was crucial. Kids seem to get sustainability. They are often attending an ECO school (did I tell you we are the official IT partner of Eco Schools? Thought not.) and they do some environmental stuff here and there, but also they are looking to be around a lot longer than us. The things we occasionally find a bit annoying they take in their stride, so they happily separate their rubbish (paper on the sofa, plastic on the floor and food waste...well not with a teenage boy in the house!).

He got the data stuff too but it was the recycling thing that got him engaged. He appreciated WEEE for what it is and felt quite strongly about keeping stuff out of landfill, and away from Africa. His naiveté only showed when he expressed surprise that businesses did not necessarily want to pay to recycle their redundant kit.

He considered it our duty, a cost of doing business, and it made sense to him to outsource the problems to someone like us who are experts in what we do. So there you go, you have been told by a member of the generation who will be managing our twilight years. Stop worrying about the costs and get eReco in to help you save the planet. My lad has big plans for it.

He also wants me to have a never-ending supply of tenners at his disposal...