With work-from-home and digital transformation increasingly becoming the norm, the humble IT department, which was often treated as an afterthought in corporate parlance, is now clearly in the driver’s seat. In fact, thought leaders and experts now consider all companies to be, first and foremost, tech companies, given the outsized role that technology plays in enhancing capabilities across industries.

As a result, it is increasingly pertinent to have an IT department that runs smoothly and effectively while staying aligned with the broader objectives of a company. Unlike in the past, information technology is no longer aimed at supporting internal systems, processes, and operations, but rather, IT is itself the system, especially in the new breed of digital-first organizations taking root across the world.

This has essentially led IT teams away from their traditional role of support and into the belly of the beast. This means that information systems as a field are witnessing a transformation of epic proportions, one that brings with it new roles, responsibilities, challenges, and risks, making it essential for businesses to adopt a new set of strategies, frameworks, and best practices to perfectly accommodate the same.

Clear, Concise Communication

While this holds true for all legs of an organization, it is particularly crucial to have a smooth flow of information to and from the IT department, as it is now the cog that holds together the entire machine. IT has long been accustomed to working in silos, with little to no interactions with other functional teams and departments. This, however, has to change given its increasing company-wide significance.

As discussed earlier, it is essential to keep IT teams and their workings aligned with the broader objectives and strategy of the organization. As such, it is essential to keep the IT department within the loop of all new developments, policies, and strategies while taking their thoughts and feedback into account.

The use of tools such as Slack, Flock, or Microsoft Teams can come in handy in this regard, with total transparency when it comes to internal operations. As such, any changes or new developments that are likely to have a material impact on IT resources or systems must be run by the relevant team, department, or individual before proceeding ahead.

Define Goals, Objectives, Metrics & KPIs

There has been plenty of new literature pertaining to IT management in recent years, which prescribes a set of KPIs and metrics to effectively track, benchmark, and optimize the performance of internal IT teams. Commonly referred to as the ITSM metrics, they help quantify the broad goals and objectives of a service desk and provide a guiding light for the department to strive towards.

A few common metrics include the likes of service availability, first call resolution rate, time to resolve, and SLA breach rates, among others. While tracking these figures can help gauge the performance of an IT team, identify critical issues, and optimize for continuous improvement, they can often also be a double-edged sword, with the potential to mislead, either intentionally or inadvertently.

Ideally, metrics and KPIs must be accompanied by clear goals and objectives that remain absolute and align with the broader vision of the organization. These may not be measurable or quantifiable, but they serve to give much-needed meaning to quantifiable scores. When comparing scores, metrics, and KPIs, it is also essential to understand cognitive biases that can affect objective decision-making.

Introduce Incident Management Software

An incident management software is essentially a tool for managing your IT incidents and should help a company, and its IT team to develop a process-driven approach to dealing with incidents and disruptions, as and when they arise, seamlessly. There is no shortage of incident management tools, but using them effectively to add value to an enterprise’s IT systems is still no easy task.

The right incident management tool will have the entire service desk operations revolving around it, with high levels of customizability to accommodate a wide range of ITIL systems, processes, and best practices. Tools and software pertaining to this might be as simple as a ticketing system or a help desk and even as sophisticated as a CRM. 

Also referred to as an IT service management system, it essentially encompasses both helpdesks and service desks. The core essence of all these concepts remains the same. A ticket is raised, following which it is routed to the relevant team, and after a satisfactory resolution, the user who raised the ticket is asked for his or her feedback on the overall experience. 

Emphasize Knowledge Management

Effective knowledge management remains indispensable in large organizations with extensive IT systems. It essentially involves maintaining a knowledge base that stores, maintains, and provides the most accurate information regarding a company’s IT systems, such that employees themselves are empowered to understand and troubleshoot minor issues as and when they arise.

Having such a system in place can substantially reduce the burden on IT teams, letting them focus more on critical issues that pose a bigger threat to an organization’s productivity. The upkeep and maintenance of a knowledge base must be part of the IT service management system, workflows, and processes, with regular tracking of its effectiveness based on issue resolutions and feedback from the users.

Most help desk solutions and incident management software come with a knowledge base that can be populated with articles, guides, and instructions on a wide range of topics. They can be used internally within the IT department to update and streamline processes, as well as externally with other departments, teams, employees, and even customers to make effective use of an IT team’s resources.

Final Words

The constantly evolving demands of global business and its enterprise IT systems have thrust IT teams into the spotlight. Given the increasingly critical nature of IT support, service desks, and incident management, it is absolutely essential for organizations to hit the reset button on how they deal with and correspond with their internal IT teams.

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