Today, technology is better suited to meet the needs of business than ever before. Advancements like new IoT devices, intuitive software applications delivered as a service, and the soon to be launched 5G technology mean that we are better served by technology than ever before. New generations of workers entering the workforce not only see software, applications and devices as critically important components of doing their jobs well but also, increasingly, as an extension of their identity. Companies who know how to harness this positive energy will reap the rewards of an empowered and invested workforce.
Gaining the full benefit of modern integrated technology in the current business climate means far more than buying staff tablets or even migrating your CRM solution to the cloud. It does of course mean ensuring that your technology is current and relevant to business needs, but, just as important, it also means revisiting processes and training your workforce.
Here are three signs an outdated approach to IT is costing you money.
Your IT team is solely focused on keeping the lights on. – One sure sign that the IT estate is struggling under outdated tech is when the support team starts drowning in help tickets. A reactive team has little room for innovation. When a request to update a key service fills you with dread because of the man hours and effort it will take, that’s a problem. When your End of Life roadmap provided by your suppliers looks remarkably similar to your technology inventory list, that’s another indication of trouble.
While technology can and should fuel better business by helping you understand your customers, deliver products faster, and revolutionise your approach compared to that of your competitors, outdated technology can do the opposite and drag the company down, sapping everyone’s productivity.
To make IT operations more efficient, consider transforming your process to look more like a manufacturing operation. Classify your workload into one of four groups:
- Runners - happen frequently
- Repeaters - infrequent but needs to be done
- Strangers - one offs
- Aliens - tasks you should not be doing
This allows you to focus your efforts based on the type of work coming into IT. For example, in a mid-sized firm, the onboarding process for a new employee will happen frequently so it is a Runner and these should be highly automated and efficient using APIs.
As a counterpoint, troubleshooting a one one-off issue with an application, which has never happened before — Stranger — is unlikely to benefit from work meant to improve the task’s efficiency. By channeling your efforts on the “runner” processes, you can tackle tasks using PowerShell or an API in a far more efficient, cost-effective manner.
Micro-management is the norm. – Micro-management of people can bring about the death of profitability. In the case of your IT team, individuals appreciate the opportunity to develop mastery around what they do and build their own expertise. If leaders get too focused on the details, it can stifle creativity and drive down morale and efficiency. Empowering employees while encouraging consistency will deliver the best results. Instead of assuming you always know best, create an environment rich in discussion and learning, and document your outcomes so that, once a task has been mastered, it can be replicated by others.
The same holds true of your users. One of the major disruptions of cloud adoption has been the shift from IT to business units as the primary decision maker of technology purchases. By supporting users and helping them use technology in new and better ways, IT’s focus becomes more about the relationship between your user and the tech, and how to reinforce everyone’s end goal of improved productivity.
Limited visibility across tech and people. – It is difficult to support employees and their tech use without full visibility of your corporate technology ecosystem. Without an accurate asset inventory of both hardware and software, you’re likely failing to obtain the maximum value possible from your investments. Interoperability problems may be the result and compliance issues inevitably arise. Overspending, poor adoption and utilisation become real deficiencies. When a device goes missing or software versions fall out of date, your organisation could also be at significant risk for a security breach. A quick look at recent headlines is all that’s needed to understand what that could cost. An accurate asset inventory of both hardware and software allows you to obtain the maximum value possible from investments.
An important extension of your asset inventory should be documentation of use. Who uses what, when, where and how is the way IT can design and deliver the next generation of infrastructure in a way that it delivers value. Technology intelligence that includes the integration of hardware, software, SaaS and even cloud technology with user information is how modern IT departments can bring forth real innovation.
It is a fact of life that most IT budgets are tight. But an outdated approach to IT will cost you money – no matter whether that’s found in aging technology, old-school processes, or ineffective support of your workforce.