Tweak Your Biz » Technology » Does My IT Team Need A Strategy?

Does My IT Team Need A Strategy?



This is a common comment / question asked by both company CEOs and heads of IT, as they seek to ensure that enhanced services are provided by their IT teams. It’s an understandable question from both a business and a technology perspective as:

  • Businesses look to their IT teams to ensure that business transactions are processed promptly and that the management team has access to quality information to base effective decisions on to help chart a way through challenging times
  • Heads of IT look to enhance the customer delivery capability of their organisation, to demonstrate that they are more than a cost line in providing practical solutions.

IT organisations have a wide variety of topics to consider;

  • The benefits and challenges of using cloud computing along with or in place of other delivery options such as hosted or on-premise solutions
  • The potential of open source solutions to deliver enterprise ready solutions
  • The impact of different regulatory systems on the management of IT systems
  • The ongoing focus on cost benefit analysis to get the appropriate balance between investing for the future business needs and covering day-to-day expenditure
  • The importance of being increasingly agile to manage changing business requirements
  • Enhancing security standards to reduce the risk of a hacking incident

An adaptable road-map

A strategy can and does help. Think of it like a road-map, but one that can and should be reviewed periodically with the IT organisation’s ‘internal’ customers. A strategy is not a one-off exercise where IT and Business Management teams think that they are locked into. Changes will be required, so it’s important to consider this strategy as a working document.

Demand vs. Supply

As with any customer-focused organisation and it’s no different for an IT organisation, the first step in a strategy starts with identifying the ‘customer demand’ – what are the business solutions that the organisation management needs now and in the future. In parallel with this discussion, IT organisations can be proactive in proposing new opportunities and ways for doing business. These initial steps will generate the first part of the strategy – an Information Systems (IS) strategy listing the business goals and their requirements of what they as a business would like to see delivered from the IT organisation.

One important characteristic of an IS strategy is that it specifies what is required in adequate detail – in simple terms this is a list of prioritised user requirements – the ‘What’.

For every customer demand, there needs to be a supply – the ‘How’. The ‘How’ is an Information Technology (IT) strategy – spelling out in appropriate technical detail, how each of the user requirements in the IS strategy will be delivered. The IT strategy spells out the combination of network, server, database, operating system(s), transaction systems and how they will be delivered to provide the appropriate means to each business user to achieve their requirements in the IS strategy.

Collaboration is key

a technical savvy management team and a business savvy IT team

One of the characteristics of this process that helps in it’s success is that the IS startegy is a top-down approach identifying the key business requirements from the senior

management team, while the IT strategy is a bottom-up strategy with all of the IT organisation working on the appropriate IT tools to support these requirements.

To finish with an important point, made at the start of this post, it is important that this is an ongoing process supported by a collaborative relationship between a technical savvy business management team and a business savvy IT team.



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The Author:

Richard is a believer and advises companies on the use of Cloud services, Agile and Lean start-up principles. His focus is on innovative solutions that bring practical business benefits. He has over 18 years experience in a variety of IT roles, including over 10 years management experience working for companies such as IBM Software, Oracle & KPMG Consulting. In his various roles, his focus has been on rolling out innovative IT solutions and services, using user centered design to deliver practical business benefits. Richie is a PMI certified Project Management Professional and a certified Scrummaster. http://www.rbconsulting.ie

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  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Neil, Welcome to Bloggertone! These are some great tips. Having spend most of my working life working with sales people I particularly like your points around demanding realistic targets & spending less time on meetings and more on action, both of which I’ve often seen abused by employers/senior managers.

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com Mike Holmes

    Hey Neil…good post.

    I do have to question #12. I mean I love technology but some of the thing that have cause my inefficiency are technologically based.

    That’s just me though

  • Anonymous

    Great post, and I can see where some, but not all of these are used in my workplace. However one thing that I’ve observed from speaking to people from many different backgrounds, is that you’ve always got to address people’s base motivations first.

    Therefore if you don’t take care of your staff from a financial perspective, it doesn’t matter how much other great practices you put in place, people are simply not going to be motivated. In other words you should always pay a person enough to take money off the table as a motivational issue.

  • http://www.cgonlinemarketing.com/ Christina Giliberti

    Hi Neil,

    You make some valid insights and I would love to see companies invest in, devleope and motivate staff as you have proposed. Sadly, it isn’t always the case, and thats a real shame. Companies that do take on the points you have made are only gaining from theor commitment to staff programmes. We are the job, as they say, and we work best when content.

    Tina

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hmm – great insights here – I would agree about point 12 – sometimes we can overload our employees with gadgets, they often find “other” uses for them, often distracting or costly! Having said that, I cringe when I go on-site and see old computers, or printers held together with monkey tape, or outdated software!

    But a great list here – it ALWAYS pays to empower and show respect for employees. Often, money is not the deciding factor for employee job satisfaction, unfortunately it has become topic No 1 due to the crisis we find ourselves in, and people cannot afford to take home less pay, and support the lifestyle from better times.

    Everybody has had to make cutbacks, but we can still reward our staff in other ways. Respect and autonomy being a good start!!

    Thanks for sharing, Neil and welcome to Bloggertone!

  • neiljones

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the comments,
    I think we’re all full of surprises, if an employer can show some faith in his staff and encourage them instead of trying to force them the results can be astounding. the company I work for runs a sales team and they reward their sales staff with incentives, I know that it may not be the most ethical thing to do but it works and all the sales team have something to work for at the end of the month.
    It’s also important that an employer recognises even small achievements by any member of his staff but to also make sure the rest of his team are also aware. Sending a quick thank you email will only take seconds, but that employee will leave work that even feeling good about themselves. You don’t need to lavish praise on your staff but you need to be aware of their achievements and what they bring to the team.

  • http://profiles.google.com/alberto.bohera Alberto Bohera

    Time management is the most important feature for me. At the end of the day, you don’t really know how well you have spent your time in different tasks, and how much time you spent in non productive tasks.nto help me with this I installed Workmeter, which measures productivity based on a productivity map.nnNow I know how I use my time and can improve the way I work every day, as I can check my productive profile.

  • Ammosuper

    Good stuff! Thanks

  • Waleed ALRajhi

    useful info thank you for sharingu00a0nnALRajhi Waleed

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Richie, great steer as always! One question, do the same or different rules apply whenu00a0outsourcing projects? I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts :)u00a0

  • Atuzzo

    nnWhatnabout hosted (cloud based) solutions like Unified Communications that alsonfeatures VoIP integrated with Microsoft Communication Services? You can literallynconduct business from any location and never miss a call or message with itsnmessaging and collaboration feature, real-time presence status with OCS,ndesktop sharing, having voicemails show up as an emails, having your officenphone transferred to your cell phone, etc. u2013 all of which drastically improvenproductivity. In a recent Microsoft survey, 60-70% of SMBs consistentlynreported that Microsoft Communication Services helps them communicate better,nwith 50-60% reporting that the solution also makes them more productive. There are only a fewncompanies out there that do all of these – one is Alteva, a Microsoft Partner. http://www.altevatel.com.u00a0 nnn

  • http://twitter.com/rbconsulting Richie Bowden

    Niall,u00a0nnThanks for your comments and question.nnApologies for being slow in responding. Once the business needs are defined in the IS strategy, then outsourcing could be one answer in the IT strategy to meet that business need.u00a0nnSuccessfully outsourcing a function can be a challenge as we know from the stats on Outsourcing project problems/failures.nnOne important aspect in relation to Outsourcing that I have found from experience that can cause difficulties is that companies wish to outsource ‘problem’ processes or functions – so before outsourcing anything – needs to be defined and the requirements agreed.u00a0nnSo the IS strategy defines the requirements and the IT strategy defines how the Outsourced process will operate to meet these requirements.nnA topic for further discussion, but I hope this helps to answer your question.u00a0nnThanksnnRichie

  • Shanulrana

    info given was up to the mark

  • Nanduchinna826

    right nw im a student studying b tech mechanical engineering final year after completing when ever i will get the job in any company i will follow these measures to increase productivity  and my name is rajesh ph num:8008586851 and my email id is nanduchinna826@gmail.com

  • Bernice Karanja

    well researched, very informative!

  • Amelie4kiss

    Hi can you please give me more information regarding the workmeter?

  • Jayne

    Thanks for your comments

  • anne

    Good day Mr. Neil i’m a student of college of st. Benilde from manila philippines. I want to send a private email with regards to your article. This is my email address annetan000@yahoo.com. can i have your email? hope to hear from you soon. thank you.

  • http://www.awardcertificateframes.com/ Tyler

    Great information here.  Very thorough, and many good points.  Ensuring that people enjoy their work is one of the best ways to make sure that they do a good job, and stay with the company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mysecret.staff MySecret Staff

    Great tips! I like “The best performing employee is the happy employee” the most. Who wants to work with a wrinkle on his forehead? Exactly my point :))

  • http://dealassessor.com.au/ Johnyaeger85

    Goal Setting and Time management are important skills to increase productivity. Time management without having a clear defined set of goals can lead to waste. 

  • shaz ghouri

    please let me know anyone…if you were given £1000 to improve your work place, how and what would you buy for the plant, employees or even the surroundings they work in to make it a better place and an enjoyable one… thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/duane.norland Duane Norland

    There is actually a really good website that describes numerous strategies that you can use to boost your productivity. Find it here: http://increaseyourproductivity.net

  • Joe

    All good points. For number #4, I’d put an emphasis on “recognize”. Blanket rewards or praise to the workforce definitely help morale, but when you recognize individuals for specific achievements (and reward them accordingly), it’s much more beneficial, for those individuals and the organization as a whole. For the individual, it confirms to them that his or her work is both valuable and appreciated. For the organization, recognition and praise of individual effort can spur teams to aim higher in their work, encouraging others to strive for similar accolades. While software can help track workforce productivity and efficiency (our own solutions help align project and resource portfolios: http://www.trackersuite.net/enterprise_workforce_efficiency.html ), it ultimately requires personal involvement by management and leadership to achieve the best efficiencies.

  • Dasha Golubeva

    I’d add one more hack to this list – taking short breaks during the workday. In a survey that we ran a couple of months ago, about 32% said that it’s one of the most powerful efficiency triggers for them. I’d join this group of respondents, if I’d vote, too :) And I was researching this topic, I read that some companies, including global industry leaders, even support that in the organizational policy. In case you’re interested in some more science of productive breaks, we put together an infographic with some remarkable facts and figures: http://www.wrike.com/blog/05/30/2013/How-Stay-Motivated-Work-The-Science-Productive-Breaks-NEW-INFOGRAPHIC

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  • piyush

    nyc post

  • http://www.securitycamera-ny.com camera-ny

    Collaboration is key nice point

  • Lucas Pendant

    Good post! Improving staff efficiency can be done by many means, our company uses business process service from Panviva – http://www.panviva.com. Employees productivity has been quite good ever since.

  • https://www.comidor.com Comidor

    That’s an interesting article indeed! What I would like to point out is the importance of cloud technology in productivity. All these cloud business applications like Comidor (https://www.comidor.com) have made collaboration much easier than before and helped in boosting the every employees productivity levels.