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Why we continue to pivot – and why business and IT managers should too

Why we continue to pivot – and why business and IT managers should too


The term ‘pivot’ is used a lot in business, but it’s not always well understood.

Some people think it means to move in a completely new direction.

That’s incorrect.

Like a point guard in basketball, pivoting means expanding the scope of your vision to enhance your opportunities to succeed, without moving from your basic foundation.

It means being constantly aware of fundamental conditions in the area you serve, but rising above the details to see the bigger picture and make any necessary adjustments.

In the last two years, our company has pivoted four times.

Our most recent pivot was to move from helping our clients find data efficiencies over a wide range of platforms, to building connectors exclusively in the Microsoft ecosystem.

We are still dealing with the same problem—connecting the business side of an organization with the IT side—but we have pivoted to be more specific about how we do it.

We did this because we know the Microsoft technology well, so working in that ecosystem “ups our game” in providing solutions to our clients.

Business and IT managers can also benefit from periodic pivots.

This may mean absorbing feedback from your clients about your product or service and making some adjustments—without giving up your core values and objectives. Or it may mean looking at your business and IT challenges in a completely different way.

Suppose you run an IT department with 5,000 employees and your goal is to save money on software.

Now suppose each of the 5,000 employees has a named licence for a certain software product.

When you analyze how they use the software, you realize there are 1,500 people who use the software daily, while the rest only use it once or twice a year.

Clearly, the organization is wasting money by paying for excess capacity.

The pivot here is that instead of looking at cutting the number of licences to save money, you might achieve the same goal by looking at who is using what and for how long.

Maybe the solution is to introduce a system of concurrent licences, where a single licence can be used by a number of different individuals. Although more expensive on a unit basis, concurrent licences could result in substantial savings to the organization.

In other words, the pivot is looking at the problem from a different perspective, with the idea of coming up with an efficient solution.

Rather than shy away from pivoting, business and IT managers should constantly be analyzing data from their operations to see if they might benefit from a shift in perspective.

At RAPA, our ability to pivot has helped us focus and strengthen our business. We want to help our clients do the same.

Susan Odle - COO, RAPA

Susan Odle is chief executive officer at RAPA. She has been in enterprise IT for over two decades, is ITIL V3.5 certified, enjoys anything outdoors with family and music (playing, singing and listening)..

Picture by Hakan Dahlstrom