Developing a set of guiding principles is a key step toward creating a successful IT team. Today’s IT leaders are faced with the challenge of providing IT systems that provide maximum value, optimal efficiency, and result in predictable and acceptable total cost of ownership. Current spending must support current needs and support goals for growth. It’s a tall order.
We have created a list of the 6 guiding principles that we believe will help lead your IT team to success. It is by no means a complete list, but we believe it will at least get a good discussion going within your organization.
1. All IT professionals must collaborate. Whether you are in one location or your organization is spread over several, your IT professionals need to communicate and collaborate with each other around a single goal or set of goals. Your team can more quickly Identify key common problems, present new and possibly unique ideas during planning, and cooperation during special projects can be enhanced.
2. Develop IT solutions that are innovative. Innovation can lead to many outcomes. First, it’s fairly obvious that innovation can lead to greater efficiency. IT innovation can also lead to greater productivity. It can decrease cost. For example, if you have an older legacy system that requires a lot of support, a new infrastructure, though requiring capital expenditure, may provide more value over its lifecycle due to greater efficiencies, higher levels of function which could lead to higher productivity, and reduced operation expenditures as a result of less required support. Greater efficiency and productivity combined with lower operational expense can increase profit. If you are in a competitive space, as nearly every business is, innovation can be another tool in your belt that inches you toward competitive advantage.
3. Redefine your persona. Shift from a team that provides IT services to one that provides IT solutions. Solution is like a higher calling. It is a means by which a tough problem is resolved. What is IT if not a universe of difficult problems from glitches to hackers and so on? End-users want to feel that the service they are getting is more than just a service. They want to feel as if someone is proactively trying to prevent problems in the first place.
4. Develop a strategic IT plan that takes a system through its lifecycle. IT leaders today plan IT systems from the concept stage through the retirement stage. While they don’t necessarily focus primarily on upfront cost, they do look at value and try to determine total cost of ownership. Considering future support costs on top of the capital expense to buy the system is not an easy calculation. If you are a smaller company whose current business plan does not support an executive level information officer, you can get help with developing a strategy that goes beyond the technology and capital expenditure. The outline of a plan might look this: CONCEPT→RESEARCH→PLANNING→IMPLEMENTATION→SUPPORT→RETIREMENT
5. Standardize IT system components and functions. Gerry McCarthy of Resolve Data says that systems with greater compatibility are easier to manage, that it’s easier to learn and know one platform vs. several, and spare parts are easier to manage and inventory. Standardization contributes to compatibility and greater interoperability.
6. Establish a "best practices” protocol. Creating a best practices protocol and delivering, where possible, across an entire company will maximize value and efficiency and minimize downtime and waste. If new best practices are discovered along the way, a collaborative body can discuss and then implement them a soon as possible and the entire organization wins.
As stated above, this is by no means a comprehensive list of guiding principles that will magically guarantee success. But we believe it is a good starting point for conversation in any organization that doesn’t have such a protocol established.
Do you have a list of guiding principles in your IT organization? How is that working out for you? Please let us know in the comment section below.