Business Enabling Technology
Written By: Randy Smith
I once saw a business strategy model that outlined how information technology teams can move from being very busy fighting fires to instead, becoming more of a boon to the company’s business strategy. The following explains how the model addresses four areas where a support group can improve quality, frequency, and impact of support issues.
Conscientious IT service support staff do all they can to resolve every issue as quickly as possible. This is termed “Firefighting,” and refers to IT support staff addressing all of the many tasks that keep users functional as quickly as they come in. The IT support staff can often be overwhelmed with a large number of tasks that have very similar solutions. This is often “busy work” and, if not improved, it will require incremental increases in staff just to keep up with support tasks as the company grows and changes.
This model suggests that the support staff take a step back and look at the types of support requests that are coming in and group them with similar tasks. For example, if several users are having problems connecting or using a specific printer, various solutions, such as print services or static IP addressing, could be put in place to make it so the connectivity problem happens much less often. Most likely it won’t make it so there are no more printer problems, but it will cut down on a lot of “firefighting” activities. The purpose of this model is to find a comprehensive solution and reduce the issues that prompted the original tasks."A constant review of the current and future company strategies allows technology to be truly business enabling."
The proactive model requires constant monitoring of technology, both current and upcoming. In this model, It is important to foresee potential issues. Think back to the printer example, as technology changes, older printer models tend to have more difficulty with connectivity to newer systems and capabilities for scanning to email, along with other protocols. By looking ahead at what the technology options are, solutions can be put in place to safeguard against and consolidate problem tasks that are beginning to happen or are expected to occur. Although there may be solutions to every possible event, a rational analysis must be made on the costs versus the risk impacts the solution could resolve. Not all potential solutions make sense, no matter how exciting it sounds.
Business Enabling Model
Understanding what is important to your business is very significant in having fully effective technology. Matching technologies with options that will enhance the business operations and services can have a very profound effect. With the elimination of significant technical challenges in the future, as well as having a proactive impact on the processes of the business, you can enable growth.
Traditionally, technology staff has focused on the basics of keeping current services active and solving problems as they occur. They don’t often look ahead toward where the future is taking the company. This happens for several reasons, including a lack of communication from company decision-makers, or limited business experience by technology management and staff.
An excellent example of the business enabling model is that many companies and organizations are changing to cloud-based services to accommodate growth outside a central office facility. This may include satellite or branch offices, as well as telecommuting staff such as a sales force. Centralized services are great when the company is housed in one or two physical locations, but as the company starts to expand to multiple sites, access to services in the central facility can become a problem if the facility is offline or otherwise inaccessible by the users outside the central location. A constant review of the current and future company strategies allows technology to be truly business enabling.
The traditional assumption that the technical staff should be focused primarily on keeping what is already in place current is no longer adequate. Dynamic growth and evolution of businesses require that the technology group be allowed to be a part of the solution and contribute to future and current strategies.
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