Summary: As technology continues to evolve and play a larger role in business, more pressure gets placed on IT. They have an amazing opportunity to drive business and play a larger role than ever before. However, while some IT departments have embraced this role, others are still stuck in maintenance mode. They’re so caught up in putting out fires and keeping the lights on, they don’t have time for innovation. How can these IT departments become more effective? We explore a few methods in this article.
1. They combine processes with the right tools
Every IT department needs clearly defined processes and procedures for handling security, user requests, support tickets, etc… They also need tools to support users, communicate, deliver solutions quickly, and more.
The problem is, many IT departments lack one of those two things. They may have well-defined processes and procedures in place, but lack the tools to provide quick solutions. Or, they may have the best tools, but lack the processes needed to execute.
Effective IT departments understand there must be a balance between the two. As explained below, you can’t have one without the other and expect to succeed.
“Slow IT departments are typically filled with several processes and procedures with approvals and are unable to work quickly to provide great service,” says says Ray McKenzie, Founder and Managing Director of Red Beach Advisors. “Processes and procedures are needed to manage IT in large and small companies, but the ability to complete requests is just as important. There must be a balance.”
3. They reduce “sprawl”
As touched on above, one of the biggest hurdles to innovation is “keeping the lights on.” The problem is, there are more and more lights to keep on. In the digital age, businesses are adopting more software solutions than ever.
That’s just part of the problem. The bigger issue: As software adoption becomes easier (thanks to the cloud), business users are licensing solutions for their own use or use across their department. As you might imagine, this creates redundancies–forcing the IT department to maintain multiple solutions that serve the same purpose.
“IT departments need to reduce ‘sprawl’,” explains McKenzie. “‘Sprawl’ is the addition of several systems, software, or tools that do the same thing, but individual departments maintain their own set of tools. This causes IT departments to have to support many systems, tools, and different software for one organization. More confusion.”
Now, this doesn’t stop with eliminating redundant software. Effective IT departments also deliver multi-purpose solutions that can be used across different departments. This reduces the amount of tools they need to support and lets them place more focus on innovation.