In the wake of the global pandemic, IT leaders, although still concerned about security management and aligning IT initiatives with business goals, have added a new focus, according to IDG: cost control, expense management, and improving IT operations and systems performance.
In fact, nearly three-quarters (71%) of IT decision-makers are concentrating on reining in operational costs, according to Everest Group. The research organization further found 43% of enterprises are focusing their efforts on optimizing operational efficiency, costs, productivity and risk management.
Believe it or not, the IT department can significantly help with those efforts, reducing total cost of ownership and driving profitability. Here are six ways the IT department can actually be a profit center for the business:
Companies are mired in a massive amount of manual processes, sometimes driving the whole company on super labor-intensive operations. In addition, many organizations still rely on labor-intensive, manual data handling outside of corporate systems.
You can replace those labor-intensive tools and improve efficiency by enabling automation. Beginning, for example, with low-code or no-code applications, you can provide simple app interfaces so employees can input data in more efficient ways than simple spreadsheets. In this way, data processing and posting to multiple systems can become automated.
Subsequently, data can be easily presented through dashboards, greatly improving visibility into information, saving manual and labor-intensive reporting, and correlating disparate data.
By automating and creating orchestration — meaning orchestrating several events or data points represented in multiple systems, platforms and manual processes — you can reduce the operating cost of IT as a percentage of the overall company budget. Automating repetitive tasks and events increases IT efficiency and reduces the need for resources simply by doing things in a modern way.
Another example is every business has a refresh cycle for devices — it doesn't matter if they're wearables, tablets or PCs. And that's a significant proportion of the cost per seat. Labor is the largest cost center in refresh efforts, the majority of which is in imaging/provisioning, migration, upgrades and software installation.
Any organization can quickly save money and time by partnering with a technology solution provider that can optimize and modernize the lifecycle. This reduces the labor involved in procurement, implementation, deployment and support.
For example, a national healthcare provider saved an estimated $600,000 in one year by partnering to streamline management of its more than 35,000 mobile devices, including procurement, provisioning, deployment, field support, break/fix and asset recycling. The partnership resulted in improved asset management and inventory control.
In addition to labor-intensive processes, many companies are still operating outdated legacy applications with costly back-end systems and operations. Big and small companies alike have this problem.
Many of these companies have taken steps toward improving these legacy systems by creating new front-end interface layers that can be deployed on any mobile device or modern operating system. This allows users with low-overhead, modern apps to access the legacy systems. These front-end interfaces are especially helpful for remote workers.
Creating workflow within these apps — which may have taken place in multiple systems previously — significantly improves efficiency.
IT has many systems data sets, which can make it difficult or impossible for leaders to know what's going on in the business. Without enough insight to respond, you're ill-equipped to change the business when needed.
Orchestrating your data into a meaningful presentation layer provides business leaders visibility into the organization — such as understanding customer buying behaviors and where business units are under-performing — so they can respond.
Examining how fast you're fulfilling customer needs and evaluating the end-to-end customer experience is imperative to keep the business open, and even grow it and increase market share. That, in turn, drives revenue and reduces costs.
Many executives I've talked to have mentioned the importance of delivering an Amazon-like experience for employees and customers. Unfortunately, some IT workers don't often put themselves in employees' or customers' shoes to understand how good or bad the infrastructure, applications or systems used perform.
When onboarding a new employee, for instance, the request process for equipment, software and services can be tedious. It could be simplified by providing an enterprise storefront, akin to the Amazon experience, with automated workflow addressing procurement ordering, vendor tracking, provisioning, service implementation, deployment, etc.
Orchestrating that workflow in the IT service management platform can provide a quicker delivery time to the employee with much less friction.
When you go to a Verizon store, for example, and upgrade your phone, all of your contacts, pictures and idiosyncrasies are seamlessly transferred to the new device. Unlike that experience, however, the last PC refresh you went through likely required a large investment of time to rebuild your work life.
But imagine having a Verizon-like experience on your work computer. Having your persona available immediately upon login to your new device saves time, money and headaches.
Every vendor or partnership your organization sustains represents a drain of time and money. The more Value-Added Resellers (VARs) you have, the more you're spending. A lot of partners have low capabilities and aren't very sophisticated or good at quality. As a result, they put a lot of their job back on your IT team.
If you have a large number of partners, many may be lacking B2B integrations and automated processes with your company. As a result, you likely have to do everything manually, and manual transactions are expensive.
You want efficiency from automation and integration, and from partners that bring intellectual property to the table to increase the success of your company's initiatives. This can improve the scenario of having multiple failed attempts before getting something right.
Getting the right partner(s) with the right kind of intellectual property results in faster time to market, which means you can impact customers more quickly and lower your IT costs.
It's very common as a leader to find your most talented people buried under operationally focused issues and tied up with the worst problems. When workers are bogged down like this, they're unavailable to help transform the organization and support the business — or figure out new and innovative ways to help eliminate over- or under-purchasing.
Reviewing new ways of sourcing hardware, software and services can provide predictable OpEx, reduce CapEx and improve the use of your company's assets. Shifting from CapEx and OpEx eliminates the need for large, upfront investments, resulting in increased cash flow liquidity. Subscription-based models offer numerous benefits:
Investing in the cloud through subscription models moves the business away from on-premises dependencies and, in turn, reduces the space and utilities needed to operate. This frees the IT department to increase end-user support. The key is to reinvest your savings into the business and your people.