Internal Operations – What should your IT Team consider?
IT Departments are changing rapidly – like we discussed in an earlier blog post, the role of IT Directors/CIOs has changed dramatically from where it was even a few years ago. But it is not just the IT Lead’s role that has changed, the IT Department as a whole has morphed into a new entity, driven by process, management, and operations rather than by a break-fix mentality. As IT has moved from the technical minutiae into a more holistic, service model approach, so too has the IT departments functioning. Many organizations still struggle with the transformation that has rocked the technology space and the delivery models that have fundamentally changed how we interact with technology and technology vendors in the IT space.
Below are some of the items that are becoming increasingly paramount to running a tip-top IT Department:
As Technology is rapidly evolving, both the underlying platforms and the feature sets within existing applications/systems, understanding the change management component of each IT component becomes increasingly important – not only from a system operability and security perspective, but from a user/feature standpoint. Understanding not only how the underlying infrastructure has to be changed or upgraded, but how it affects end users and business operations – both long term and short term. The rapid pace of technological change requires that a business document and fully understand the changes in their environment. If IT departments/businesses are not doing this, they will soon find they barely recognize the software/systems in their environment. This documentation and dissemination within an organization is one of the components that keep a business fully grounded in their IT strategy/Business Operations. IT Departments are a bridge that enable the business to generate income – leveraging technology to both enable current business processes but also enable future growth and development of the organization as a whole. Technology has the ability to exponentially affect a business – either positively, when its managed correctly – or negatively, when change management, documentation, and dissemination are not in place. These principles have become one of the most important creeds for an IT department that is working towards modern day principles of IT enablement.
2. Analysis Paralysis and Forward Momentum
As the technology landscape has, in some areas, spiraled out of control – or at least a reasonable landscape that can be adequately compared and analyzed, organizations are increasingly running into analysis paralysis. There are too many choices – too many different ways something can be accomplished. IT Departments that are attempting to migrate to 21st century solutions are increasingly finding that they need some guidance through the hubris. In cases where analysis paralysis is taking control, bringing in a 3rd party agnostic consulting firm – like ChoiceTel – can help remove the detritus and allow your organization to hone in much more quickly on the correct solutions for your organization. A wrong decision can be detrimental to your organization, but no decision is worse – forward motion, even if incorrect, at least can act as a learning experience.
3. Consolidation and Optimization on the Front-end
Another important pillar of any modern IT Department is the idea of consolidation and optimization on the front-end. Yes, it may create more work to begin with, but by creating an optimized environment, even if the scale of change is larger, the benefits to the organization both temporarily and long term are vast. By handling it on the front end, it allows the IT Department to be more strategic long term, rather than continuing to deal with break-fix scenarios. Solutions/systems should be designed with the end in mind, both when the technology eventually sunsets and/or if the organization moves in a different direction. Design with simplicity, efficiency, and consolidation when migrating to new platforms. Changes should reduce the workload – not increase it.
4. Controlling Shadow IT
Another aspect that IT Departments need to focus on moving forward is the concept of Shadow IT. As technology has increasingly moved into the consumer space, employees throughout an organization feel more and more confident to procure and sign up for IT services/platforms on their own. Not only does this create a security risk within an organization – but also creates an environment that IT is unable to support. It reduces the consolidation and optimization mentioned earlier. This will be one of the greater challenges for IT departments in the coming years. In some ways, IT departments cannot design or plan around it completely, but being open to support the business with any need they may have, will help reduce this. Often, employees may procure technology on their own due to a belief that IT is not supporting them/providing the tools they need to function in their job. IT should always enable the business – not restrict it – the business is what makes the organization money/grows the organization. Another reason shadow IT occurs is that IT is not spending enough time prioritizing strategy and improvement in the IT landscape. This is often due to an environment that is too heavy on break/fix and needs to be upgraded/improved. Nowadays, IT is and should be much more than simply break fix.