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Optimizing Your IT Operational Plan

4 Apr, 2016 By: Eric Stavola, MSCIS,MCSE,MCSA,N+,CDIA+

Emerging technologies have and will continue to change the way we work and communicate. Our desire for data and information is insatiable; just look at what has happened in the time you were reading this:

Data generated in the last minute:

•         204 million emails sent

•         Google received over 2,000,000 search queries

•         571 websites were created

Business organizations are struggling to keep pace in a world that is moving at rapid speed. What is compounding the issue is that technology and business process are coming to a middle ground. Business organizations are beginning to closely examine what is really needed to create digital success. CEO’s and business owners alike are getting the message that “how a company leverages, implements and uses a basic overall strategy with technology” can become a key factor between profit and loss.

Gartner says that 80% of IT Job roles will be transformed over the next 4 years. One key reason for this is that with so many advances in technology and services there comes many changes in the actual process. In a recent survey by business journals, they found this information for driving decisions behind technology purchases and needs:

•         Improve performance or optimize a business process (65%)

•         Supporting a growth opportunity for the company (63%)

•         Current solution is not working or is broken (58%)

•         New security risks (56%)


Thus, effective IT leaders are relied upon to recommend, manage or streamline business processes with technology and key outsourced services.

With Change Comes Opportunity

While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the changes and innovations happening in technology, the businesses that I see thriving today are the ones who look toward IT services to drive the business forward with innovation rather than maintenance. Here are 3 key characteristics of companies that are leveraging IT as a strategic asset:

1) They secure Leadership with Vision and Strategy

Taking a proactive approach in your technology and securing the leadership in place to manage it is one of the most important steps a company can invest in, from a time, personal, and financial standpoint. As some companies change things every 90 days, you want to ensure your technology leader is out front evangelizing and communicating the vision and purpose of these changes, both technically and culturally. You need to understand that:

•         Technology leadership roles are morphing to include business leadership

•         Effective IT leaders recommend, manage/streamline business processes with technology & key outsourced services

•        Secure Technology Leaders will know what to handle in house vs. what to outsource

2) They focus on Maturity (IT Operational Maturity)

IT services is now a critical component of business processes that build revenue and create competitive advantages. Many organizations are struggling with IT inefficiencies, digital disruptions, security or compliance concerns, and unhappy end users. IT operational maturity initiatives help to overcome these challenges and optimize the IT environment. Successful companies today are fully aware of this and have initiatives in place for improvement in 3 core areas:

•         Operational Scalability

•         Governance & Controls

•         Strategic Alignment & Business Values

3) They have a Plan

With the rate at which data and technology is changing, the day and age of the 3 to 5-year technology plan are quickly going by the wayside. Today I see a number of successful companies with a 1-year action plan backed by a 3-year vision with objectives. I am also seeing trends that Executive Leadership is reviewing this action plan every 90 days to make sure the plan is dynamic and effective to the overall company’s goals and core objectives. Six key enabler areas for technology planning are:

•         Principles, polices & framework

•         Process & organizational structure

•         Culture, ethics, and behavior

•         Information

•         Services, infrastructure, applications

•         People skills and competencies


Eric Stavola is U.S. Director of Pre-Sales Engineers, mindSHIFT, a Ricoh company. Contacts: (619) 455-2732 or Email http://Eric.Stavola@mindshift.com

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