Many IT professionals wait with baited breath to see new technologies unveiled every January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. From wearables to home appliances, there’s never a shortage of awe-inspiring innovation that excites us all to dream bigger.
You may think that being a superstar IT department means staying abreast of new technologies and figuring out how you can use them in your company.
But what if we told you that you may find more success paying less attention to what’s going on outside, and focus more on what’s going on inside your company?
Here are three steps to ensuring the relevance of your IT department in 2017:
1. Be strategically intrapreneurial
Instead of looking outside your organization, look inside to understand how business gets done and how you can increase productivity and improve workflows.
If technology is a hindrance to accomplishing your organization’s goals, work with the departments it affects and discover what you can do to make technology a driver of business growth.
And don’t stop at the top – sometimes the worker-bees have a better idea of what’s needed than the manager.
Rather than making departments run around you to get work done, make technology bend to their needs.
If that means creating BYOD policies or establishing increased remote access options for those working on the go, this is the perfect time of year to get started.
2. Sit in front
With technology such an important part of everyone’s daily lives, IT departments can’t afford to wait until it gets asked to participate in a project right before launch.
Get involved in projects at the start and you’ll ensure a seamless experience. Attend meetings, volunteer for committees, and stay engaged with various departments so you’re considered a resource instead of an implementer.
You don’t want to be known as the dreaded IT guy who criticizes everyone who approaches you for their lack of technology knowledge.
Communicate and collaborate with your co-workers and stop hiding in your cubicle waiting for them to come to you.
Let your company get to know you as a feeling, thinking human and they’ll be more likely to welcome you in their business planning efforts.
3. Predict don’t react
The third tip on this list is directly related to the second. If you’re involved with various company departments, you won’t be surprised when a big project comes up.
If you wait until a department comes to you, you’ll be reacting to the work they’ve already done – and proposed changes you make may fall on deaf ears.
If you’re an active participant who has contributed to its development, you’ll be better able to make long-term predictions on what technology it will need to be successful.
It’s tempting for IT departments to get into the habit of fixing broken things, but if you can create solutions before a problem happens, you’ll avoid downtime and maintain productivity.
While it’s impossible to look into a Magic 8-ball and know what the year may hold, you can create a checklist of weaknesses and opportunities so you’ll be better able to predict what you’ll need to address first.
Look at the age of your equipment, software, etc., and figure out if you’re likely to need a replacement or upgrade within the year.
Assess your systems and predict whether you’ll need to add infrastructure to meet growing headcount or whether a switch to the cloud or SaaS is ideal for your organization’s development.
Not only will these predictions help you prepare for workloads throughout the year, they’ll help you develop your budgets for this year and beyond.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be more likely to look back at 2017 knowing you offered the customer service that will keep your IT department a relevant and valued member of your organization.
While it’s important to know how IT can make the impossible possible, it’s even more important to know what your company needs from IT to achieve its overarching business goals.
To get more information on how your IT department can drive business growth, visit our Rethink IT resource website.