As a Finance Manager, it’s your responsibility to oversee end-to-end finance operations. When push comes to shove, and you need to reduce spend, the easiest places to start “overhead” departments like IT, where the return on investment can be hard to measure.
However, cutting your IT budget in half won’t solve your problems. In fact, it’ll likely cause you more. Instead, you and your IT manager should be working together to look at how to improve the efficiency of your internal IT department. The best place to start is by deconstructing your current process model.
In this article, we draw from our IT management experience to highlight key areas to focus on.
How to improve process management for internal IT departments
There are plenty of ways to enhance your IT management framework without cutting your budget. While some solutions may require some upfront cost, it’ll work out cheaper for the business in the long run. Here are seven ways to optimise IT processes to save money.
1. Formalise internal IT reporting
Seeing a return on investment is essential. But how can you definitively say something is or isn’t worth the money without the cold hard stats? So, before cutting your IT budget, you need the tools to make the call.
Service Desk or Ticketing software can show you where your internal IT team’s time is being spent and how quickly day-to-day problems are resolved; it also creates a straightforward ticketing process for the rest of the business. In addition, by using the software, you’ll be able to generate targeted reports to measure the effectiveness of your in-house IT support.
Presenting those metrics as scorecards is an effective way to monitor help desk performance at a higher level and can be particularly useful for strategists and decision-makers.
Using Ticket trend analysis, your team should also be able to single out reoccurring issues and get to the root cause of the problem.
2. Enhance service management with Remote Monitoring and Management Tools
Improve efficiency by centrally managing and monitoring computers, applying changes, and installing software. If you’re still going to each computer individually to complete tasks, you’re behind the curve. Not only will this cut down admin time, but it also reduces the chance of being grabbed in the hallway on the way to or back from a service call, thus reducing time to resolution.
Remote monitoring and management tools also allow your internal IT team to support those of your staff working from home. They’ll be able to access machines to fix issues or roll out updates remotely.
3. Aid your workforce with training
Invest in training for your IT team and the rest of your staff.
For internal IT departments to be as efficient as possible, they must be up-to-date on the latest best practices. Technology is one of the fastest-growing industries, making it easy to lose touch. Ensure your staff has dedicated training plans to stay on top of industry trends and keep the business running smoothly.
Training shouldn’t stop with your IT team. Staff may benefit from IT training if they struggle to get to grips with tools like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams or even Word and Excel.
It’s also worth noting that Security Awareness training for your entire workforce is a must in today’s climate. With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly common, especially in the SME space, educating your staff on the latest threats is one of the best ways to protect your business.
4. Reduce common IT issues with Self-Service content
Service Desk software helps staff to help themselves: even allowing them to use chat tools, email about problems, or enter problems in a portal saves IT staff time.
Reporting on IT issues may help you see trends where IT staff spend lots of time helping people with avoidable problems. For example, as a Managed IT Service Provider, a common issue we see logged is clients forgetting their passwords. Password resets can often be set up by staff if they know how. Get your IT team to spend some time putting together self-help guides and videos for those niggly, easily solved problems.
5. Improve efficiency with IT documentation
The time you spend searching for the correct information is one of the leading causes of inefficiency. A study by IDC estimates that an average knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours a day or 30% of their time searching for information.
Fortunately, you can avoid all this by simply incorporating an IT documentation strategy into your organisation.
IT documentation is the collection of all the information concerning an IT infrastructure. Your IT team could use this information to execute a process, operate efficiently, gain more knowledge, outline the steps to rectify an issue and more. With proper documentation, your IT team will access all the correct information at the right time. In other words, you don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel when there is a task to be executed.
Documentation can help streamline workflows, preserve organisational knowledge, employee onboarding and training, compliance requirements and knowledge sharing. The outcome is minimal time wasted, reduced operational errors, boosts efficiencies and promotes quality control.
6. Reduce overheads with IT standardisation
IT standardisation can help businesses achieve their goals faster and continuously build on their growth and profits.
Technology standardisation is the process of positioning your applications and IT infrastructure to a baseline of standards that fit your business strategy, security policies, and goals. Standardised technology reduces complexity and offers benefits such as cost savings through economies of scale, ease of integration, improved efficiency, and better IT support. It also simplifies your management of IT.
The four hallmarks of a company using a standardised technology infrastructure is that all team members are using the same:
- Hardware: The same devices for every user.
- Software: Password managers, email, business management software, CRM’s, operating systems.
- Equipment: Standardised servers, printers, scanners, copiers.
- Policies and Procedures: Framework of technology policies that define the principles and strategy for decision making and the procedures that allow your team to act within that framework.
7. Cut costs and headaches with proactive support
IT is not a purely reactive task. Working with IT to forward plan is essential. It’s unavoidable; equipment needs replacing; software needs upgrading.
What’s the use in waiting for things to break before getting involved? This method of IT support is outdated and costs your business time and money.
Your network must be proactively maintained and monitored to detect and deal with problems before they occur. Your IT team should also be able to predict when you need to change or upgrade your devices, software, or security, thus reducing unexpected spending and encouraging better budgeting.
8. Protect your business with a clear focus on cybersecurity
The cyber threat landscape has exploded in the last two years at an exponential rate, with attack vectors being able to breach big companies like Solar Winds, Twitter, and others. Therefore, you must invest in security for the sake of the business, its reputation, and your peace of mind.
Good security practices include quarterly security audits, anti-virus, anti-spam, 24/7 monitoring and alerting, backup and disaster recovery and end-user security training.
Of course, there are many other things you could look at to cut costs and drive efficiency, but these actions are great places to start.
How Co-managed IT Support can help
It might be that your internal IT department is stretched too thin to provide the level of support your business needs. In which case, Co-managed IT services can cover any gaps and leverage skills and technology beyond your current capability. It also helps keep your systems secure and up-to-date, giving you peace of mind.
At Netitude, we’ve been helping in-house teams stay on top of their technology for years. If you’d like to find out more about Co-managed pricing, download our guide or book a call!