Evolving business trends, security issues and increasing government oversight due to Covid19 has made many IT activities a seemingly never-ending series of disruptive technologies. This makes it essential that IT begin thinking about tactics for making 2020 a successful year despite the disruption.
Here are 7 tips to help you position for success.
1. Collaborate with business leaders to assess IT services and goals
Its critical that IT is a business partner and not an order taker. Hopefully with the sudden need to enable remote workers and to secure company communications IT has quickly become a recognized essential part of the executive branch. Work to ensure IT is a business partner by regularly scheduling meetings with key enterprise leaders to review IT's business value and how to contribute to customer experience and support business goals. Position IT as an enterprise thought leader while providing a convenient launch platform for 2020's business mission. Participate in the budgeting cycle and help ensure that funds are in the right places for the strategy — don’t leave it up to the business partners to do this on their own.
2. Aim to Control Disruption
Business and technology disruption trends will continue to evolve. It started with a desperate need for video conferencing and remote workers but disruption will continue. IT has an increased responsibility and opportunity to help organizations become 'future ready'. One good thing about the pandemic is that it has forced management to recognize the value and importance of identifying promising new transformative technologies and methods, and to administer them enterprise-wide.
IT departments should be proactive about issues before they happen by creating a six- to twelve-month roadmap. If you're busy fighting fires day-to-day, and you're not planning ahead, your organization is always going to be at a higher risk. Many companies learned this first hand when Covid19 hit.
3. Centralize Data Analytics
IT departments have long been responsible for data collection, storage and management. Data analysis, meanwhile, is usually handled within individual business units.
Successful analytics requires IT engineers to work closely with business units to develop solutions and generate useful insights. The IT department should be driving an organizations' analytics capability. Modern VoIP phone solutions can provide customer analytics data that is critical to the customer experience that Marketing and management care about. CRM and ERP solutions as well as other technologies including SMS text and web chats also give us incredibly useful information about customers. IT has all that data and should position itself to be the centralized source for that data. Without the right technologies and focus IT is more like a mechanic that keeps voice and data communications working but doesn't offer much more value than that. IT needs to recognize its strategic role in business and invest in technologies that provide more data analytics.
4. Stay on top of Security
Having survived the recent pandemic and as things being to get back to a new normal it is a good time to evaluate enterprise security and IT's role in protecting systems and data. Take time to move from firefighting mode, and work with your team to think about the big picture and attack foundational security tasks from a must-protect-data perspective, but also as a business strategy.
Security breaches have become commonplace, and customers and business partners want to know their data is fully protected. Security must become of critical importance for your business ... or you risk looking out-of-date and will lose customers. Everyone is hyper aware of the constant barrage of security threats and identity theft. Customers feel it is a right to have their data protected. Given the seriousness of the threat, security risk management should be integral to all business and IT decisions in 2020.
5. Prepare your Company to Cope with Change
As we enter a new decade, IT departments need to continue their technology evolution at full steam. For continued success companies need to create a learning culture that embraces and adapts to a digital-native approach. IT needs to stay up to speed on next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G and cloud networks, to name a few.
IT departments will be expected to be experts on these new technologies and provide a new level of service to customers. By building a learning culture, IT teams will become accustomed to failing fast, being agile and adapting to customers’ evolving needs.
As the rate of change increases, the ability to understand and plan for every possible risk increases all the time. Brad Clay, senior vice president and chief information and compliance officer for printer and imaging products provider Lexmark suggests "we equip our teams to respond in the best possible way to the challenges we didn't anticipate and support their ability to take bold risks that can best position the organization for success." "When confronted with this type of fast-paced environment, the greatest failure that an organization can make is to stop taking action."
IT organizations need to move away from their service provider roots to become an active participant in creating and enhancing business value. It’s not enough for IT departments to keep the lights on and the organization safe. Success in 2020 starts with understanding what the organization's goals are, and then working backwards to demonstrate how IT departments can become an key asset to that change.