IT departments are commonplace within businesses across the United States, and they play a large part in determining the level of success that an operation enjoys. However, like any other service provider, IT departments face shortcomings in 2013 that hinder their ability to reach maximum efficiency in production and process maintenance. Below I list a few of those issues, and how an IT manager or CIO can remedy them for immediate improvement.
1. Lack of communication.
A common issue facing IT departments in 2013 is the lack of collaboration and team work. The nature of the work lends itself to very individualized and projected-oriented tasks. In modern business, this has become an issue because everything is becoming much more complex and interdisciplinary. Businesses, as well as customers, are demanding instantaneous and intricate results. This is hard for any group to satisfy, but it becomes even more difficult when communication is not effective. This argument is even more apparent within IT, because processes are evolving each and every day.
Remedy: If you are an IT manager or CIO, consider specific tactics to increase collaboration and communication in your department. The projects that IT teams are tasked with in 2013 require a unified effort from the all contributors. IT employees need to use each other’s expertise, and you as leadership are their avenue to unleashing the potential. It starts and ends with management, and right now is a great time to increase cooperation in office. One practical way to incorporate increased communication is to link everyone through instant messenger and an employee web portal. This makes questioning and troubleshooting amongst the team much quicker and more efficient. Everyone will learn more while simultaneously becoming more productive.
2. Absence of sufficient practical experience.
In a competitive economy, information is more rampant than ever before. Data swirls all day and all night through the intricate workings of American business. IT departments around the nation, whether internal or outsourced, are tasked with a crucial job. Maintaining, organizing and networking information for commercial operations helps production on all fronts.
IT teams are no longer asked to simply maintain an internet connection and troubleshoot the email server. Due to the increasingly multifaceted demands of both customers and business leaders, IT managers often find that their employees are not suited for 2013 because they lack the wide-ranging practical experience. For instance, the Data Modelerin Company C might be only used to performing quality analysis for the regional shipping data. In 2013, this employee needs to understand not only the region he or she is focusing on, but the entire operation scope. The quality of data depends on its relativity to other regions, and thus is very important in this hypothetical. These are small nuances that make an IT employee less impactful in the modern business world.
Remedy: Employees in your IT department need to understand the job roles of those around them. It’s your job as leadership to engage the team in an interdisciplinary approach when it comes to understanding the whole process. The same Data Modeler described above needs to understand the workings of the System Administrator’s daily routine. This same principle should be applied across all roles on the team. These links between roles create a stronger IT department that can keep up with the practical demands of modern business. A lack of applied experience becomes alleviated with each bit of information that employees share with one another.
3. Scalability is not where it needs to be.
2013 is interesting for business because growth can be extremely unpredictable. While it’s still difficult to build thriving businesses, it can happen a lot quicker nowadays with an internet-driven society. People hear about and buy into interests much faster than they used to be able to, thus fueling business in many different niches. With the volatile marketplace and the nearly limitless potential, IT departments are often caught in a flux of data management and networking.
These IT teams are in a tough place because they have to adjust to massive growth swings. The information requirements usually adjust according to operation size and growth, and this puts added pressure on IT teams to produce at equivalent rates. If a business grows incredibly fast over a six month period, and their IT provider is internal, there could be trouble brewing. This is called a lack of scalability. IT departments, primarily but not limited to those that are internal and not outsourced, have trouble growing at the pace that increased demands require. Whether it’s the hardware or software, IT departments around the country are finding that they don’t have the physical means to manage substantial growth. Whether a department needs to look outside company walls for managed hostingor simply reorganize resources, something has to give.
Remedy: As leadership, you should consider more scalable options when forming an IT department. It’s important to start early, and anticipate growth. It’s always easier to plan for more than try and cram more into less. If you aren’t exactly sure about the amount of information management and networking that will be required, consider an outsourced option or an expansive, well-organized internal option.
As with anything involving business in 2013, there will be shortcomings. IT departments are no different, but they are important enough that care should be taken to remedy the issues before they gain traction. If you are a CIO or IT manager, consider the marketplace and the volatile economy we live in before making any concrete decisions.
Reanna Gutierrez is the Product Marketing Manager for OneNeck IT Solutions, which offers hosted application management as well as managed IT services. She has over 8 years of marketing experience in the tech industry, and she is a regular contributor to the OneNeck blog.