While there is no longer any question about the need for I.T. in business today, in many companies there is still the perception that information technology is more of a cost center than a valuable business asset. CFO magazine, in a recent survey, reported that almost 50% of CFOs felt that there was a misalignment between what the business needed from I.T. and what I.T. was providing.
This highlights the importance of CIOs, or whichever company executive is responsible for the company’s I.T. performance, CFOs and other top executives working together, often with the company’s managed IT service provider, to ensure that I.T. is providing the services the company needs. I.T. done right can be a powerful business tool that can help virtually any business thrive and prosper, but if not handled correctly, can just waste time, money, effort and become a true drag on business growth.
In fact, we believe that a business’s I.T. needs to be run like a business itself.
Here are some things you can do to make sure your I.T. is functioning at a high level, not just in terms of stability, but in terms of fulfilling your company’s needs:
1: The employees of your company are I.T. “users”, but they are also the “customers” of the I.T. department. Whether your I.T. is handled in-house, out-sourced through an IT service provider, or co-sourced (a third party augmenting the in-house team), the users should be treated as valued customers and their needs met.
2: On the other hand, there needs to be ongoing employee IT training for several reasons, including: not wasting the time of the I.T. department, not putting company data and infrastructure at risk, as well as enabling each employee to get the most out of all that I.T. offers. At too many companies, employees continue to use outdated methodology with which they are comfortable, when a few minutes, or hours, of getting comfortable with new technologies will make them more productive and more valuable to the entity paying their salaries.
3: Where feasible, actually create a system of charging each department for the IT services it uses in order to give each department head an understanding of the cost vs value relationship.
4: Take a good look at strategic co-sourcing or out-sourcing certain I.T. functions. As smaller businesses grow, this can provide your company with the ability to expand I.T. functions without the need for additional full-time employees. A good I.T. partner will have team members trained in many vital technology areas, a knowledge base that would be hard for your company to achieve on its own.
5: Finally, never stop analyzing and measuring performance with your goal being continual improvement.
Well-conceived, developed and managed IT can cut costs, increase productivity, decrease risk and drive growth, all leading to improved profitability. But to do this, IT and the rest of management must work together to determine the services each of the other departments needs…again, treating these company employees like customers. A company with a positive I.T. culture will constantly be looking for new projects that can help drive the business forward. It is this attitude that takes I.T. from “expense” to powerful business building “asset”.
DynaSis is an Atlanta IT services and cloud computing provider for small and midsized businesses. All of our solutions focus on helping companies achieve the three fundamental IT necessities of the modern business—availability, security and mobility. We specialize in on-demand and on-premises managed IT services, managed cloud infrastructure, desktops and backups, and professional hardware and equipment installation. For more information about DynaSis’ IT support and services, visit www.dynasis.com.