How to optimise your business IT for 2018

With the economic outlook still uncertain and competition fiercer than ever, IT will be asked to increasingly take up the slack. Simon Kent explains the key areas that must be checked to optimise your business IT for 2018.

Self-service and knowledge management

More than any other IT initiative, self-service has the potential to dramatically cut costs and keep business capabilities running.  Organisations that have access to accurate knowledge, delivered in an easy to use, consumable manner, have a massive advantage over their rivals.  Those who have automated the capture and sharing of knowledge are even more powerful.  For businesses who have mastered KCS (Knowledge Centered Service), each member of staff has access to the knowledge held by every subject matter expert.

The difference between organisations with and without this level of knowledge is profound, offering a huge competitive advantage to those who do. As the culture shifts further towards automation and AI for support and service/order fulfillment, the differences will become so great they will define whether a business wins or loses.  

Need help improving self-service? Download our guide: A Beginners Guide to KCS

Relationships and Business Value

IT is becoming more complex. Rather than being a ‘department’, IT is now comprised a sprawling combination of hardware, cloud software, and third-party suppliers. Similarly, with IT deeply embedded into every business department, function and process, the number of people involved has grown to an unprecedented figure. Directly or indirectly, every person in your organisation is involved in IT.

Yet in too many cases, these relationships and interdependencies are managed in an informal, disjointed way.  The health of these crucial relationships often relies on informal pockets of people and knowledge held by key individuals. Business technology is simply too important to be managed in such an ad-hoc fashion.

This is why Business Relationship Management (BRM) has become such an essential capability.  In 2017, we wouldn’t dream of running IT services without referring to well-established processes. Similarly, we wouldn’t try to manage customer data without a CRM system. In a few years, we will be just as incredulous at the thought of not formalising the management of relationships and the laser focused scrutiny of business value.  If you’ve not explored BRM and altered the way your business approaches relationships and value accordingly, it’s imperative that you do.   

Having a strong BRM capability supplements business strategy with an enabling digital strategy that covers [potentially] all areas of the organisation, not least technology and IT.

Learn more about introducing BRM to your organisation: A Beginners Guide to Business Relationship Management

Digital transformation
The problem with a term like ‘digital transformation’ is that there’s a lot of hype and little tangible output.  Its status as perhaps the most misunderstood development in business technology means that digital transformation is in danger of fizzling out – an aspirational idea without any true development pathway.

The key to digital transformation is understanding what it really means.  Once you understand that’s its a mindset shift as much as a technological endeavour, the potential becomes much clearer.

Digital transformation is about changing the way business thinks about technology. Yes, it encompasses relationships, but it’s also about how we end the isolationist mentality of an ‘IT department’ and realise that digital transformation is about the bigger picture.  The beauty of digital transformation is that many of the benefits can be realised without buying any new technology.  It’s about understanding supply/demand and how IT can contribute, not buying shiny new equipment.

To build a tangible digital transformation strategy, or get your one back on track, read our guide: 8-Steps to Achieving Digital Transformation Success

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