Six ways your IT department can think more strategically

The journey to becoming a more strategic IT department is accomplished in part by making sure you never lose touch with your organisation’s strengths, and holding onto a service-oriented mentality.

Thinking strategically, apart from anything else, can lead to the greatest success, but there are several things to keep in mind as you begin your strategic thinking and planning.

That way, the IT team can better see themselves as shareholders in the success of the company rather than those who simply make things work and allow users to connect to each other.

The following outlines six ways that your IT department can begin to think more strategically, and put not policies in place for building a more connected, and even efficient, organisation.

Don’t be afraid of discovering solutions

IT teams are sometimes seen as reactive. Upper management, therefore, might not be aware of how IT can contribute alternative viewpoints about core business processes.

A good example is commuters being frustrated with the late running of trains. Rather than looking purely at engineering solutions, transport companies installed free Wi-Fi in carriages, so being late to the office became less of an inconvenience.

This is a classic example of turning lemons into lemonade. Even though the commuter trains may often run late, they can still get their work done.

Increase your visibility, but add value 

One of the difficult parts of being in a service-minded organisation is that if you’re doing your job right, you become less visible. Conversely, being seen to be having an impact on your colleagues could involve being obstructive.

The first step on the journey to becoming more strategic is making sure you never lose touch with this idea

Visibility is both a benefit and a pitfall, so it’s about finding a way to collaborate while adding value to the business. This could be with end users, but also with the management team or director.

Rub shoulders, get out of your box

Stronger connections with other departments can help to make your team more aware of the business activities as a whole. Try appointing a representative for each core process, or maybe even arranging for someone in IT to do an internship at one of the other departments.

People at your service desk will get to know your end users better, understand what problems others are facing and gain a broader perspective.

Consider what you need to know and get to the point

Are you asking the right questions? One hospital, for example, used to have 10 different qualifying questions that didn’t always get to the root of the user’s issue.

It solved this problem by asking just two questions instead of nearly one dozen: is this patient related, and is this preventing someone from doing their job? If you feel like your questions aren’t getting to the heart of the matter, don’t be afraid to try a completely different approach.

Report on what matters

We often hear from customers that a good reporting functionality is one of their priorities. But are you reporting on the right things? If you don’t need to know the difference between a hardware and a software call, why register it?

Consider qualitative rather than just quantitative feedback. And if something is not relevant to you then that’s also unlikely to have a powerful influence in the future.

A part of, not apart from

Are you still focusing on your company’s purpose and vision? Your department’s activities might not be the primary strategic processes of the company, but you still play an important role in these processes.

The organisation needs your support to achieve their overarching goals.

The first step on the journey to becoming more strategic is making sure you never lose touch with this idea. That way, the IT team can better see themselves as shareholders in the success of the company.

 

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