Technology is evolving all the time and it is paramount that businesses keep up with the latest tech in order to remain relevant and one step ahead. But what many executives may not know is that the IT department of a company should play an important role in keeping communications tech relevant.
As technology continues to develop at an unprecedented rate, it is now more important than ever to be proactive when it comes to your communications strategy and technology. While you may think that this should all come from an executive level, it is imperative that your IT department plays an integral role. Here’s what you should be getting from your IT department in order to keep your communications technology updated and relevant.
Any IT department needs to improve the organisation they operate in. With a plethora of tools, software and hardware, the IT department should give guidance on how best to use technology to improve the internal operations of a company while at the same time being cost conscious. This means the IT department should always be aligned with the strategic vision of the company.
An IT department should have an agile strategy that ensures that tech stays relevant and aligns with business objectives
The IT department doesn’t exist in a vacuum and needs to collaborate with all departments and involve executives to ensure that the tech strategy aligns with the business objectives. This is made much easier when the CIO forms part of the executive team and works together with the IT department. This person should be able to think strategically and have visionary capabilities.
In order to prioritise the focus of a strategy, start with the low hanging fruit. By following the 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of your effort will account for 80% of your results, the IT department will be able to implement change and show results.
Every business needs benchmarks to measure against to ensure that a company is succeeding, and it should be no different when it comes to IT.
An IT department should keep security at the fore and this involves maintenance and risk analysis
It is absolutely the responsibility of the IT department to be accountable for security from both a hardware and software perspective. They should ensure that all products and licences are continuously maintained and that the latest versions are always available. These newer versions contain important security updates, and not doing so becomes a security risk. They also need to do regular risk profile analyses to detect potential threats like hacking risks to avoid a security breach that could take down a company.
Products that are deployed must maintain their relevance and this means ensuring that the tech evolves and adapts with the business. It is therefore crucial that software and hardware products are from a reputable company that has good research and development departments. This also helps mitigate risks when it comes to investing in new technology.
Integrations need to be able to work without having to redesign the entire system or create a Frankenstein monster, which only the IT department knows how to work.
An IT department should show how their strategy can be integrated into the company
A strategy that doesn’t outline how it will be rolled out in a particular business environment is wholly ineffective. The implementation of a solution is just as, if not more than, important than the actual solution. And this requires implementing one solution to one problem.
Multiple solutions for the same problems, such as using chat, email and telephony as points of contact internally, will serve to confuse employees. Solutions need to be kept as simple as possible so that rollout is much easier to achieve. This will improve adoption rates which in turn will improve the overall success. Funding and migration strategies are key, and at Nashua Communications we offer UNIFY, which allows for a partnership between the supplier and organisation.
Part of the solution should involve a cost analysis, and by focusing on Operational Expenditure or OpEX, the approval process is much easier and you can pay for hardware and software in one regular payment. This is because OpEX includes those daily expenses that a business incurs to run smoothly. These are the costs that a business incurs while turning its inventory into an end product. This allows for easier upgrades. Nashua Communications uses a combination of OpEX and Capital Expenditure or CapEX, which gives a company the benefits without incurring huge costs.
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An IT department should be able to guide operational people so that communications tech is adopted and used effectively
It is very important that the IT department has some clout when it comes to working with management so that strategies can be adopted and used effectively. This requires internal awareness of the changes which can be created with the help of marketing using posters, emails, and events.
Training and self-help are also paramount. While workshops will help to a certain point, self-help resources will become essential when employees start using the new technology and have questions that wouldn’t necessarily have come up during training. These employees can also provide important feedback that could be communicated to the IT department to improve their strategy.
An IT department should also show what success will look like by developing measurable results
The IT department should be able to show that their value add is measurable and that their solutions are not only cost effective but also improve overall productivity. It is very helpful for IT to set up milestone meetings so they can keep executives up to - date on the progress of the strategy and make any necessary changes.
The strategy should show how business objectives can be met within the south african political, legal and environmental (such as disposal of old equipment) context.
An often overlooked success factor is employee sentiment. While new technology can be very expensive, sometimes ROI needs to be measured in terms of employee sentiment and an increase in productivity. One could also look at organisational factors as well as the impact on customer service.
This doesn’t mean executives must solely rely on their IT department to stay abreast of current technology and its implications for business. Executives need to understand that the impact of technological changes not only in the current market, including understanding competitors, but also internationally. This includes realising business benefits. For example, in the banking industry, execs need to understand that e-banking is changing banking and therefore need to understand the impact of this tech.
Overall an IT department should put forward a strategy that is agile, minimises business disruption, increases business adoption as well as efficiency, at a cost that provides a good ROI.
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