In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s easy to lose focus on big-picture enterprise initiatives. Goals are set, but rarely actually achieved, especially when it comes to IT. In fact, one of the main reasons why IT projects fail is because it’s so easy to put off long-term goals when you’re always dropping everything to respond to urgent, day-to-day problems that arise.
Traditionally, IT has been a reactive kind of profession. Something breaks and it is immediately fixed. Where true growth potential comes in is when businesses shift their perception of IT operations from a reactive approach to a proactive one.
Pro-activity not only prevents problems from ever happening to begin with, but slows down the day-to-day pace with calculated steps, so business owners can keep their focus on more important things.
If you’re considering an IT overhaul to a managed provider, here are four ways to get you on your way:
Streamlining your IT operations starts with proper goal setting. An expert may come in and make a compelling case as to why you need their services, but if you don’t disclose the reality of your problems, their recommendations won’t matter.
Make a list of all of the things your IT support teams are actually doing on a given day. Next, without comparing, make a list of all of the things you’d like them to be doing. Are your ideas and their tasks in alignment? If not, why?
If your goals and tasks are not in alignment, dig deep into the reasons why. Knowing the as-is of your company’s IT infrastructure is a reality that is rarely talked about because it’s so easy to get distracted fighting all of the little fires every day. Search for the reasons why your staff may be running in panic mode:
Once you know the reason behind the fires, ask yourself where you’d like your IT to be (if you actually had the time to plan). Outline scalable goals for tomorrow, next month, next year, even five years from now, so you can begin to sketch out small victories along the way.
Now that you know what you have, and what you’d like, it may be time to consult with a professional. Share your goals and be honest--how much are you willing to relinquish to a third-party IT provider? If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to tell them. No use wasting their time, or yours. The best partnerships sometimes start small, achieving one little victory at a time, building trust over time.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget about your VIPS -- your Very Important People...Stakeholders! Not everyone is as willing to accept organizational change as you might think. Even worse, if not handled with careful consideration, some stakeholders have the power to take down an entire project. Keep lines of communication open so that everyone involved in a process does not feel threatened and knows they are valued.
Whatever you situation--lack of resources, impossible goal setting, or even budgetary constraints--before you consider any type of change to your IT infrastructure, take an honest look at where you are and where you’d like to be. Without goals how will you ever know if you have made progress along the way?
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