Is it Time to Challenge Your Existing IT Structure?
Back in the day (which wasn’t really all that long ago), technology needs were handled by a handful of “geeks” well versed in the secret world of ones and zeroes, bits, and bytes. Their main function was to keep the PCs and servers running, rarely having a seat at the decision-making table.
Companies who still have IT departments out there on their own island are often stagnant and less innovative. In the “tech island” scenario, on a daily basis, senior management expects the IT department to keep company and client data safe while ensuring optimal productivity. Typically, when there is a new initiative, IT tends to be brought in only after time and resources have been invested in planning. Their sole role is to then execute the plan.
There are two flaws in this approach. The first is that potentially valuable input is missed. More than one IT specialist has been asked to execute a plan that could have been significantly better if only x, y, or z had been part of it. Also, problems can arise when IT resources are being requested by another department for their initiative. Competing priorities often play out in missed deadlines, inferior products, and poor team performance and morale.
So, sure, you need a team to make certain your hardware and software are up to date, and that they’re ready to troubleshoot when needed. But with the explosion of new technologies and today’s emphasis on data, IT staff can help the company in ways it never had before. Are you set up to take full advantage of your tech talent? Here are three steps to getting to that next level:
1 Tear Down Silos – Every department, including IT, needs to understand the company’s objectives and work together to achieve them. Collaboration is the key. Bring in IT at the front end of a project to tap into their expertise. Having that early input can avert the need for a clunky workaround later for something that could have been addressed, for example, by choosing a different software platform.
2 Select the Right Team Structure – The size of your business and the industry you’re in will influence how your organization, and by extension, your IT team, is structured. In general, though, you want to have specialists in different areas.
3 Account for the Essentials – What keeps your company healthy and growing? What areas pose the most risk if they’re not functioning properly? You have to ensure you have covered critical areas like data backup and business continuity. If you don’t already have established procedures in place, now’s the time to get them in writing. Then provide training so everyone is on the same page.
Rethinking your IT structure – and following up with a reorg – may be just what you need to inject new energy into your company. Take those first steps to retool and stay ahead of the curve.
Want to get more strategic about your IT but now sure how to get started? The experts at HIG can help!
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