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Every organization has one: that department that is slow moving, refuses to change how they’ve “always” done things and is generally slowing down the organization’s forward momentum.
In the best case scenario, that department is fairly isolated and doesn’t have a major impact on the organization. In the worst case scenario – when “that” department is IT – the ramifications are much further reaching.
If you’ve uttered the words “we’ve always done it this way” as a guard against change within the past 12 months, you are stuck in a dangerously old mindset. Change isn’t always the right decision, but if you’re not willing to even entertain the possibility you’ll certainly miss out on a better way at some point in time. Thinking the way you’re doing things is “fine” is a fast way to find your company behind your competitors and is a major contributor to the damage directly caused to the company as a whole.
Organizations or teams that have old mindsets are also often adverse to innovation and hesitant to embrace emerging technologies and solutions. While there’s merit to the idea of letting solutions mature or prove their staying power, organizations that drag their feet for too long find themselves completely behind the adoption wave and at a distinct disadvantage.
While being the company that creates innovative solutions might not be an organization’s focus, paying attention to industry and solution trends – and willing to evaluate those innovations – is an important aspect of remaining competitive.
Technology advancements move at a rapid pace these days, and that’s what employees and consumers have come to expect. If you take too long to adopt new solutions that employees feel are “table stakes” of doing business or it takes months for a department to get permission to implement new software, it’s going to become a major source of internal frustration. Don’t move so quickly and rashly that poorly vetted decisions are made, but don’t move so slow that it feels like a decision will never come.
This is particularly important as consumer technologies advance in tandem with business tech. Employees may be using a new application or way of communicating in their personal life that they want to extend to their work habits. If a company or department is too slow to address the desire, employees will make the decision for you and may create policy violations or security risks.
Just because your team or company moves slowly or is adverse to innovation doesn’t mean everyone else in the industry is. Being smart about technology decisions and adopting emerging solutions is a major way companies give themselves a competitive advantage. If you’re not willing (or too slow) to look for those opportunities, other organizations will run with them, leaving you to play catchup.
The longer you sit in limbo, the harder it is to change and move forward. In the competitive advantage sense, you need to catch up to competitors before you can begin to build your own advantage. It even becomes harder to advance internally. For instance, as Windows 7 support ends and Microsoft forces the switch to Windows 10, an organization that has been “making do” with outdated endpoints is going to have an even bigger challenge to get ready for the transition.
The longer you hold onto the past and resist change, the bigger (and more difficult) the required change becomes.
When IT is difficult to work with and slow to respond it can have a major negative impact on employee morale and may even drive people away from the organization. If employees feel they don’t have the tools they need to be productive, it feels to them as though they’re not supported and that the company doesn’t care. Who would want to work for an organization where getting work done is a struggle while a competing organization has the shiny appeal of adopting new technologies and giving employees what they want and need?
Talent impact might not be the first negative side effect to come to mind when you think about how IT effects an organization, but it’s a very real factor.
Getting out of a rut can be hard, but the first step is recognizing the need for change. If IT is “that” department, it’s likely because overly complex policies and processes are slowing them down and certain procedures need to be adjusted and streamlined.
Start by reviewing company policies regarding things like procurement processes (particularly with tech hardware and software) and security requirements – especially if they haven’t been updated in a while. Can those processes be streamlined, such as requiring fewer sign-offs on procurement or consolidating security and control use cases?
After policies have been updated and streamlined, analyze how IT teams spend most of their time. If a large portion of time was dedicated to following those policies and procedure, the changes alone might be enough to give IT a little momentum.
In many cases, though, policy updates won’t be enough. With so many outsourced IT solutions available today, take a look at what low-level tasks IT performs on a regular basis that would be a good fit for outsourcing or consolidation. Is there one solution that will make it easier to complete three tasks? Make the move. Does provision and maintaining desktops and infrastructure take up too much of the team’s time? Adopt virtual desktops via desktop as a service to make the process faster and easier to manage while outsourcing the major infrastructure pieces.
Being smart about what the team handles in-house will relieve some of the pressure and allow more time and resources to be dedicated to moving the company forward.
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