Managing IT is an important part of running a business. However, many companies struggle to effectively implement procedures that help the company. This is due to a misalignment between business strategies and IT strategies.
Many business owners believe the false notion that investing in the newer “better” technology is how they’ll get an edge over their competitors. This is not always the case. Understanding which technologies to invest in and how to align your business and IT strategies is key to success. Here’s the right mind-set for IT managers.
As thousands of companies have adapted to a tech-driven environment, the pursuit of technological improvement has become a common goal. However, not all “IT improvements” have helped the companies who adopted them. There are times when tech changes cause more issues than benefits for businesses. Here are a few of the problems that IT managers have seen reoccur over the years.
- IT investments don’t directly relate to business strategies
- The benefits of IT investments don’t outweigh the costs
- The “newest” tech doesn’t always bring a lot of benefits
- Communication errors between IT users and IT specialists
- The system design doesn’t always accommodate the system user
While numerous other problems can be mentioned, these are perhaps the most commonly seen issues that IT managers struggle to address. Thankfully, there are a few key ways to look at these issues which would allow IT managers to make decisions based on the needs of their company and therefore generate the most improvement for the investment.
Understand Your Needs
Too many IT managers make the mistake of comparing themselves with the IT departments of their company’s competitors. If a competitor invests in new software, then you too might feel obligated to purchase it. After all, how else are you supposed to stay in the competition?
This mindset leads to unnecessary purchases and potentially wasted investments. When IT is separated from the whole, it can be difficult to know which purchases will benefit the company. Instead of viewing IT as its own department, with its own goals, view it as one piece of a whole.
IT is a tool meant to strengthen and improve your business. Rather than chasing after the newest tech, ask yourself what tech, new or old, will improve your business processes. Choose from the vast variety of IT tools for the weapon that will offer the greatest benefit to your company.
Some IT managers feel obligated to purchase IT improvements. However, this can be difficult to justify on paper as you must prove the value of your investment. When you purchase technology for the sake of having technology, you will be unable to prove its value.
Rather, you should only purchase systems or technology when you are unable to solve a problem without it. Technology is a tool, therefore you should only invest in it when that tool is needed to complete your job.
Think of a contractor. Do they purchase a new hammer every time a new one comes out? No. What if their competitors use a newer version? They continue to use what they have so long as it gets the job done.
IT is no different. Don’t buy new technology just to have it. Invest in what you need to get the job done and you are guaranteed value for your investment.
In many companies, IT is viewed as a little island off on its own. There is rarely communication between IT specialists and IT users. Rather, there is typically a liaison of sorts who operates as a middleman between the two teams. This method of communication is choppy and ineffective.
Rather than building further distance between the two areas, IT managers should seek to understand both teams and work to communicate with other department heads directly. The greater his understanding of each department, the more specifically he will be able to meet their needs.
Effective communication isn’t just about a manager and his employees. Each department head must learn to communicate with each other.
Many IT managers have found that IT systems are designed in a way that doesn’t always consider the user and their preferences. The reason for this is that many businesses feel it saves time and money to simply redesign or structure current systems. The less time spent on a new design, the better, right?
This may seem logical on paper, but the time saved on redesign will be lost on user complications. Rather than hurrying through the design of a new system, take time to carefully consider the users and their specific needs. Building a system that caters to their specific needs will save time in the long run and allow each department to optimally complete its responsibilities.
You will inevitably face numerous challenges as an IT manager, not all of which can easily be solved. However, having the right mindset is a great way to get started. Rather than viewing IT as its own little island, off on its own, look at it as a tool meant to be used for the betterment of the whole company. This will help limit unnecessary investments and will allow you to maximize your benefits from your IT department.
How Can Techbridge Help?
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