How to deliver better value from your IT department

An efficient IT department is a combination of top performing devices and systems, along with a team of specialists who have the expertise to drive company-wide operation and innovation forward.

What are the first steps in the review process?

Understanding the parts of your company’s IT operations that are comprised or underachieving is an essential aspect of the assessment process when reviewing departmental workings.

This should be implemented on both a smaller scale that examines the details of the elements that form your IT department, as well as bigger organisational decisions involving choices on strategy and leadership.

How to increase efficiency?

There is a general consensus among employees in the profession that efficiency is a key issue for many businesses, yet ways to combat this vary greatly across the corporate world. Some businesses have decided to allow workers greater freedom in their working styles, including the device on which they deliver their work. Others have created virtual working environments that create more possibilities for remote working and flexibility in location and time. 

What is clear is that the desire to change wider IT workings is being felt across the business world, in both the public and private sectors. 

What are the practical options to consider?

One way to begin this is with a simplified, streamlined team approach to IT departments, such as through a committee based model. While the group method may have caused some eyebrows to raise at its efficiency in the past, the improved understanding of what contributes to an effective team has increased the viability of this type of working. The appointed members and roles should be defined from a committee’s commencement to aid productivity, along with a chair who can lead and delegate as is necessary.

Reviewing your department’s measurement system is also a core aspect for instigating wider changes. Understanding the essential elements of metrics and the results the systems produce is key. A return to more traditional methods such as split testing and cohort analysis may allow for clearer insight as these focus on revenue and other defined output.

A more focused approach can also be taken when managing departmental projects, avoiding unnecessary complex systems and designs to oversee the project delivery on budget and to deadline.

What are the wider implications?

This type of integration should also be applied through a company, and that means ensuring your IT department are a part of and not an addition to the business. The strategy for IT should align somewhat with wider business goals, underpinned with a clear and solid structure of information and governance. Securing these is vital in not only creating a dynamic, successful team and improved finances, but for also improved protection against cyber attacks and other threats.

Ensuring that your company’s IT is maintained with a solid foundation of engaged and productive employees is crucial too. Developing staff with training and other incentives is a powerful way to retain your best employees and further develop those that need more guidance.

While workforce development reinforces the positivity that change can bring about, erring on the side of caution in other aspects of IT workings should be followed. An overly optimistic approach to projects, system delivery and other key aspects can lead to problems in the future. Instead, ensuring that plans are realistic and viable can be beneficial all-round.

If you believe that your organisation could derive better value from its IT functions, consider COBIT 5, Governance & Risk training courses, to aid the redesign of your company’s governance processes. The specialised knowledge gained from a focused, in-depth look at this important area of business practice can be beneficial for a range of senior professionals, and allows participants to begin the blueprint process.

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