5 Key Steps to Enhancing IT Productivity

Especially during times of economic crisis, it’s important for organizations to focus on enhancing IT productivity. This involves not letting digital processes and ideation go stagnate during a shift in operating procedures. We’ll outline 5 practical steps to aid your organization in this effort.

To say that these are strange times would be an understatement. Right now, various businesses are operating on limited resources and potentially a depleted workforce. For many, innovative tasking has come to a stand-still, leaving some aspects of technical operations to lose attention.

However, enhancing IT productivity during economic downturns is not only necessary to survive, but essential to thrive in the long-run. This especially serves true for the functional areas supported by IT initiatives, such as finance, HR and customer relationship management.

Smartbridge CEO, Sri Raju, identified 5 practical steps that both technical and non-technical businesses can capitalize on to ensure IT initiatives remain operating like a ‘well oiled machine’.

Enhancing IT Productivity

1. Maintain Critical IT Areas and Organizational Needs

Everyone in the organization from executives to line workers are looking for direction from IT on how they can digitally be connected while working from home, and continue their operations. IT is responsible for fulfilling several common needs across the organization and some unique needs by functional areas.

Common needs:

  • Continued access to email, documents that are sitting on the network, SharePoint, or any systems used daily such as ERP, CRM, ECM, logistics management, and distribution.

  • Reliable and secure way of accessing these systems without slowing down jobs.

  • Ability to call the help desk to quick assistance and response.

Executive needs:

  • Data and reports to make quick business decisions in the fast-changing environment.

  • Implement necessary systems changes to enable altered/new processes. Example: curbside pickup at restaurants.

  • Fast turnaround for all business requests.

  • Continue to keep the company secure from intruders into the network – risk management.

Functional area needs:

  • Technology to enable revised processes – Example: AP, AR, check processing, or anything that involves paperwork.

  • Access to financial reporting methods in use.

  • Access to favorite spreadsheets.

Operational needs:

  • Digital field data capture solutions to replace paper-based data capture processess.

  • Access to information on mobile devices.

There are various cloud solutions available today to address some of these needs. IT should enable cloud solutions, not fight them – especially during economic downturn. These are not normal times, so limiting enterprise architecture that doesn’t allow agility will be frowned upon. It is not that architecture isn’t important, but IT needs to be flexible and work towards solving problems during times like these.

2. Give Recognition to IT Team Members as Incentive

IT personnel have to work harder and longer to maintain the technology infrastructure and various systems, all while supporting the changing business process demand. Organization members should take this as a personal and professional challenge to be a game-changer and innovation enabler.

Especially during economic downturns, these workers need to be appreciated by everyone, as humans often thrive on recognition. Executives and senior leadership should publicly recognize the work IT is doing and thank them. However, practical incentives should likely be held until operations are normal.

3. Avoid “Penny Pinching” for Proper Support

Executive support is critical for IT to do their job, rise to the new challenges, and enable the business’s future-state. Therefore, enhancing IT productivity will cost money. CEOs should not be “penny-pinching” on IT in order for them to provide the level of support needed to keep the company running. However, stopping non-essential CAPEX is understandable and should be used as a tool to contain costs.

4. Use Collaborative Technologies/Tools to Support IT Productivity

Adopt, try and deploy new collaboration and productivity tools such as Teams, Zoom Video Conferencing, Trello and others. During times of extended remote work, expedited methods of communication are significant to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. In addition, develop and deploy quick no-code applications to meet ad hoc business needs.

5. Avoid Being Inwardly Focused

The job of a CIO is 70% marketing and communications. If they are too inwardly IT-focused and not communicating, they will fail the organization as a whole. Taking a hard stance that everything and everyone should conform to previously established enterprise architecture (without realizing the changing environment today) will also be short-lived. Lastly, avoid making the mistake of resuming operations as usual too early.

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