If you lead an enterprise IT team, there’s an important assumption you should make: your market of internal users is no longer captive. Internal users can, and often do, get a second bid for technology services. Some examples include business units buying SaaS subscriptions or engaging digital agencies to develop custom applications. Today, most enterprises have many users operating largely outside the corporate perimeter.
We’ve talked to dozens of IT & security leaders since launching Groove.id in early May. Nearly all of them are presently or have recently been involved in an IT transformation effort. Here are 5 ideas taken from the most successful IT transformation projects that will increase your agility and bring direct financial benefits to your company.
Drop fixed budgeting and prioritization processes
Rigid annual budgeting processes are not nearly fast or flexible enough for today’s world. Setting investment and budget levels in an annual planning process is fine, but assuming you can precisely plan & size all of your IT projects for the coming year is signing up for shadow IT. If your answer is the annual planning process when a P&L owner raises a technology project request, you’ll quickly find business unit executives who lack confidence in IT’s ability to execute. Instead, take a page from product company playbooks. Use the annual planning process to establish macro investment levels and reserve a significant portion of your budget (say 20-30%) to address business needs opportunistically throughout the year. You’re likely to find that your business unit peers will appreciate your flexibility and speed.
Many traditional enterprise IT organizations are organized in functional silos (all network engineers here, all database administrators there, application developers over here, etc.). Often this is a sign of an organization that views IT as a cost center rather than a strategic capability to drive competitive advantage…”let’s put all of the network engineers together in ‘best cost country X’…that will lower costs and contribute to the bottom line.” This may reduce costs in the near term, but it absolutely wrecks communication, collaboration and speed.
Consider Amazon’s famous 2 Pizza Teams. It turns out that small, cross-functional teams focused on a manageable scope and empowered to make decisions necessary to achieve their goals can work at scale–just check Amazon’s stock chart for proof.
Focus on metrics that matter
Trust me, nobody in your organization cares how low you can get the “mean time to resolve” metric for your help desk. If it’s greater than zero, then it’s too high. It’s time to shift from traditional IT service level agreements and adopt business-related key performance indicators. Better yet, rather than measure IT performance using operational metrics, try sharing metrics & objectives with the business units IT supports. Nothing will drive more alignment than sharing performance metrics rooted in your P&L statement.
Deploy modern, flexible platforms
There’s some core infrastructure needed that serves as the foundation which enables all other technology in the organization. Two examples frequently cited in this category are Identity and Access Management and IT Service Management. If you want happy clients and control instead of chaos, pay attention to your IAM and ITSM tools. Systems management may not seem sexy, but it has the potential make or break your success.
IAM and ITSM are core platforms that serve as the central nervous system of your IT operations. They control, manage and secure who has access to what, keep track of assets & inventory, enable service requests and automate critical, high volume transactions. They are what allows you to go faster and deliver delightful experiences for internal and external customers. Deploy modern IAM & ITSM tools to ensure you get the most out of the investment across your IT portfolio.
Be an advocate for users
Your users expect and deserve a great technology experience in today’s work environment. Almost every job has some interaction with information technology and it should work well, the first time and every time. If we want our teams to deliver extraordinary results, shouldn’t we equip them with the technology needed to deliver the best customer experience possible?
The IT service desk is one area where cost management has had a drastic and material negative impact on user experience in many large enterprises over the past 15 years. Need help with an IT issue? Great–let’s submit a ticket and wait…next, let’s give the IT team a call…there’s a good chance we’ll be greeted by an interactive voice response (IVR) system that has menu options that have recently changed. Next, we’ll wait on hold while agents are assisting other callers. Eventually, we’ll get through to an outsourced technician who attempts to resolve our issue up until our time together reaches his/her mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) goal…your staff probably wasn’t doing anything impactful to revenue or costs anyway, right?
Let’s put a little humanity back into IT. How about starting with some up to date, self-service help options that really work? Trust me, your millennial staff will actually use this. An onsite help desk that runs like a genius bar at all major offices would go a long way to making your team feel the love too. Lastly, take the password burden off of your staff with modern, single sign on and you’ll be invited to every department’s holiday party. It’s time to get serious about taking care of the people who take care of our customers each and every day.