“Do more with less” is more than a request for IT teams in 2015— especially as tech demands from the business skyrocket.
A recent survey showed 74 percent of tech professionals see a rising demand for IT services inside their companies, but only 56 percent expect their companies to actually increase IT spending.
For IT teams to be successful in 2015, they’ll need to deliver more impactful services to the business by working closely with the line of business (LOB). In some IT organizations they’re already feeling the pressure: 57 percent of CIOs think LOB colleagues have gained more power over the last 12 months, and more than a quarter admit that LOB colleagues already hold the balance of power.
Although challenges exist, the potential is great: IT can use its deep domain knowledge and a bevy of cloud and big data tools to manage business services better than ever — no magic required.
To get ahead in 2015, here are five resolutions for IT professionals:
1. Stop misusing email
A big source of pain for organizations is one of the most common practices — using email for requests. Workflow processes in email remain unstructured, invisible and unmanaged. With an explosion of service requests across a company — from HR onboarding to managing compliance — email is far from efficient. But, if you can whiteboard a process from request to approvals to fulfillment, you can build — and automate — practically any business process in HR, legal, marketing and more.
In fact, HDI recently found that 73 percent of organizations surveyed say they can apply this capability outside IT. Building custom apps around processes for the LOB also allows the IT team to align these workflows onto a single management system. The business will be thrilled to now get a bird’s eye view of their operations, and you’ll have a single source of truth.
2. Expand self-service to self-reliance
Who doesn’t appreciate a well-run e-commerce site to quickly get what they need? It’s low touch, high speed. IT teams can model that efficiency by launching easy-to-navigate service catalogs for employees. Some people call this self-service, but more often I see it as self-reliance, where employees need 24/7 access to areas such as HR benefits. While you can do this for traditional IT needs, it’s also time to think about how you can use a service catalog for facilities, HR, marketing, legal and more. Building a comprehensive service catalog can help cater to those different needs and provide users with a one-stop shop.
3. Mentor the business on a strong service culture
Finance, legal, logistics and HR want to deliver a strong internal service experience to employees, but many lack the tech know-how to make it happen. By mentoring the business units on the how-to, you’ll help everyone at the company be more efficient. Plus, the more you can influence the business, the fewer shadow IT projects you’ll wrangle later in the year.
Find your advocates in the LOB and listen to their pain points as a first step. Can you cultivate “citizen developers” to shepherd tech projects? Having a partner-in-crime in the LOB can be the difference between success and failure.
4. Help deliver data-driven decisions
One example hardly indicates a trend, but a (data) picture tells a thousand words. If you help the LOB move their unstructured email and phone requests into structured ones, they can start to glean insight to their operations. Look at HR. The ability to track case management processes can provide actionable insight.
For example, if HR can see that a large percentage of employees ask questions about U.S. benefits, you can promote that information prominently on a portal to preempt future inquiries.
5. Move off the treadmill and innovate
Even though most companies tout innovation, most people will tell you that the majority of their time is dedicated to tasks that “just keep the lights on.” If IT can automate mundane, repeatable tasks for the LOB, then you’ll deliver one of the most valuable services in an organization— time to innovate. Ask your business colleagues how they could impact the business in 2015 if they got 10 percent of their time back, thanks to IT.
As you start 2015, IT professionals should feel empowered to drive impactful efficiencies to their business units. Lead with your strengths and reach across the aisle to get closer to your business colleagues and their processes. Although “do more with less” may be inevitable, there’s another adage that could work for 2015 as you lean on the LOB: “Many hands make light work.”
Dave Wright joined ServiceNow in 2011 and currently serves as the company’s chief strategy officer. Prior to joining ServiceNow, he spent more than six years with VMware, Inc. as vice president of technical services for EMEA and held leadership roles at Mercury Interactive and Peregrine Systems, Inc.