Building the Foundation of a Robust IT Department

This is the fifth entry in a series of articles by the CIO Advisory Team. Check out the previous one here.

Getting stuck in the day to day can hinder an IT department from ensuring they have what they need to help a business develop and grow. As a foundational service to the broader organization, it is critical that IT identifies sustainable ways to position itself for ongoing modernization efforts and operational improvement.

For example, IT Platform Services, or “shared services,” sit at the heart of most organizations. Regardless of if the service is on-premise or cloud-hosted, many of the same IT management best practices apply and deserve proper attention and consideration for improvement. In the case of cloud services, you can better manage capacity requirements and respond to the business in a more agile fashion. For on-premise services, you may still need to provide robust management practices until these services can migrate to the cloud.

There are many tools in the IT arsenal and it’s often up to IT to continually revisit these foundational systems and evaluate how they can provide the greatest benefit to project design and delivery services, and business operations and growth objectives. You might consider the following as a starting point for improvements:

  • System configuration and administration are optimal
  • End-user devices are centrally managed
  • Redundant tasks are routinely automated
  • Business continuity and data protection plans are appropriate and up to date
  • Cloud services are well positioned for capacity planning and scalability

IT organizations in small to mid-size firms may provide both IT operations and end user support services. In larger firms, this might be distributed across several organizational units. The new digital environment demands increasingly tighter integration and partnerships with cross-functional business groups. Your user base can offer greater expertise and insight to drive new capabilities and fresh innovations going forward throughout the organization.

As you seek out these new partnerships, be sure to move the traditional support pain-points out of the way by considering the following items. They offer common pitfalls and time-consuming activities for IT groups when not well managed.

  • Recurring user issues are quickly addressed and resolved
  • IT communications are focused, clear and concise
  • IT Initiatives are designed as cross-functional partnerships
  • There are firm, useful guidelines in place for planning, budgeting and purchasing
  • Staff training is well planned, coordinated and delivered

While many of the areas above may seem obvious to the seasoned IT professional, it’s important to revisit these and other IT management topics on a regular basis to seek out ongoing improvement and efficiencies that support operational improvement and excellence. Modernizing operational and support foundations can lead to significant downstream digital business benefits.

It’s an exciting time to be in IT and these types of initiatives and best practices can offer better IT time management and more predictable services delivery while allowing more time for ongoing skills improvement and partnerships.

Find out more about how Microdesk enables AECO firms to LEAD through managed IT services from the CIO Advisory team. Contact our team here.