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8 Ways to Maximize IT's Business Value

Article Written by Paul Hesser, President and Chief Executive Officer, TeamQuest

To get the most out of your budget, use these techniques to grow revenue and develop creative new solutions.

 

IT managers should strive to make their departments indispensable parts of their companies. Although most IT departments are fairly small components of most businesses, they have the potential to drive an outsize share of revenue.

Of course, building business value is just one component of cost optimization -- in order to reliably optimize costs, IT managers also need to cut wasteful spending and minimize risk. But if expanding and improving resource allocation is your goal, perhaps your most important priority will be making IT a reliable contributor to overall business success.

1. Innovate

Creating innovative IT services and products is easier said than done. Unlike many IT problems, it can't be optimized through automation or effective capacity planning. One way IT managers can boost their department's innovation is by building a team that's insulated from day-to-day operations and responsible for finding creative ways to improve value. This organization method is often called the "bimodal" structure of IT operations, where different parts of the organization are assigned to respective priorities in the present and the future.

2. Create New Business

A sensible move into a new line of business, the launch of a new app, or even a new function on an existing app can make your IT department dramatically more productive. At the same time, managers need to regularly retire capabilities that have become outdated or obsolete. This can free up resources that will support the pursuit of new ventures.

3. Reduce Time to Market

Agile development methodologies can get your value-producing capabilities into service far more quickly than with traditional development methods. The Agile movement is a nontraditional approach to systems development that helps teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work methods and empirical feedback.

4. Improve Process Efficiency

IT managers can boost productivity through eliminating process redundancies, increasing automation, or simply by fine-tuning for better performance. Sometimes, it's best to make a large initial investment in efficiency that pays off further down the road. One company that we at TeamQuest worked with implemented a new process-shortening application that increased annual IT costs by $500,000, but that ended up reducing organizational headcount by 200, a colossal cost reduction.

5. Enhance Quality of Service

Offering better service to customers is a great way to improve loyalty and bump up revenue. Reduce outages and slowdowns to avoid lost online transactions. Customers can be impatient, so don't give them an excuse to bail on your slow website and go hunting elsewhere. Take steps to build the server capacity you need to make customer-facing incidents a rare occurrence.

6. Use the Cloud

Depending on your existing capabilities, sometimes the most efficient data center is a private or public cloud. Cloud-based data services can allow an IT organization to leverage economies of scale and access staff expertise that is lacking in-house for new, game-changing technologies. Plus, the cloud makes it easier to take risks with new ventures. If they flop, you can scale down accordingly instead of having to deal with expensive infrastructure you no longer need.

7. Leverage Digital

"Digital" can be a maddeningly vague term, especially in IT, but here we use it to mean the baseline tech knowledge that everyone in the space has nowadays. You can use this commonplace understanding of IT to make your organization more efficient. For example, large chunks of your customer service operation can be automated with features like self-help knowledgebases and trouble ticketing.

8. Build Competitive Advantage

During times of tight budgets, CIOs and IT managers tend not to consider adopting new methods and capabilities. There is logic to this, but a savvy manager always considers competitive advantage when evaluating the business case for new ideas. The reason? If the idea is a good one and you dismiss it due to short-term circumstances, one of your competitors will be sure to pick it up.

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About the Author

Paul is an accomplished technology executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience. He has led business transformation, innovation from inception to market, business turnaround and growth, and high velocity culture change. Prior to joining TeamQuest, he was President of MBS Development which boasted the distribution industry's leading e-commerce and ERP solution. Previously, he lead product and services organizations focused on high availability, business intelligence and supply chain. Paul has an undergraduate degree in marketing from Illinois State University, and an MBA in finance from the University of Minnesota.

 

Published Thursday, December 15, 2016 8:04 AM by David Marshall
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