Current trends in technology and planning have major implications for business growth and success in the coming year. Five major shifts leaders need to be aware of include:
- The need to integrate IT planning into strategy and budgets to support overall organizational goals and overcome challenges
- Centralizing IT to standardized processes and approaches across the entire organization for more efficient operations
- The move to unified communications to reduce the complexity of multiple disparate channels and vendors
- The growing importance of comprehensive, consistent cybersecurity training for employees to reduce organizational vulnerability
- The need for a detailed backup strategy–not just data backup–to restore operations quickly in case of an IT disaster
How effectively are your IT initiatives supporting your business objectives? As the role of technology in the workplace accelerates, in part thanks to the rise of remote work, organizational leaders need to be aware of shifts that can impact everything from budgets to data security. The right solutions and strategies can help ensure they remain as agile and efficient as possible in an increasingly fast-moving marketplace. Failing to keep up means running the risk of falling behind.
These are a few key overarching trends we have identified that, implemented effectively, can support overall organizational success, performance, and growth.
Given the effort and resources that can be involved in IT, it can be tempting to take an “if it works, don’t fix it” approach. However, this tactic comes with several major downsides that may not be immediately perceptible. For example, holding off on IT improvements means organizations aren’t able to optimize their operations for greater productivity and efficiency. They’re often stuck in reactive mode, spending precious resources that could be applied to more value-driven tasks. Plus, as job seekers become more tech-savvy, delaying IT transformation has implications for recruitment efforts as well.
Given these factors, plus the pace and scale of business operations today, a strategic approach to IT is vital. Leaders from across the organization should take the time to define the struggles they face, their vision for the business, and its trajectory. Doing so will reveal a path for aligning IT planning with business needs for the present and the future. This also allows organizations to budget for IT more efficiently by taking proper software and hardware lifecycles into account.
Traditionally organizations treated IT as a single department, but as remote and hybrid work arrangements become more common, a centralized approach that spans departments is a more efficient choice for operations from onboarding to payroll. Standard, consistent processes, best practices, and fixes enable a more efficient flow of information across the organization. IT employees won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they face a problem, and workers won’t face a steep learning curve every time they need to submit travel expenses or look up their benefits package.
For employees, the option of so many different communication tools—from messaging to videoconferencing to email—can be overwhelming. A unified communications (UC) system combines multiple channels for convenience and ease of use, reducing the need for employees to monitor and log onto different platforms. The system can also be integrated into networks, systems, and applications, and sometimes even consumer-facing communications. UC also dovetails with the shift to cloud-based communications.
But to be effective, organizations need to also create clear policies outlining when and how each channel should be used—such as messaging for quick questions, emails for general announcements, etc. Clear guidance can reduce employee hesitation and contribute to overall productivity.
Data breaches and equipment failure not only affect business operations but brand reputation and customer trust as well. The costs and impact over time can be enormous.
However, even the most state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools will fail without comprehensive, regular employee training. End users make up the outermost perimeter of an IT security strategy, so ensuring they are aware of common and emerging scams and ploys, as well as proper security practices, is a must. Plus, as more employees work off-premises, new potential vulnerabilities come into play.
Organizations should hold training sessions regularly to remind employees of proper procedures as well as to update them on emerging threats and updated security practices. Recording and documenting sessions also help hold employees accountable for security compliance with requirements like multi-factor authentication, strong password creation, and proper device usage and storage.
Most organizations back up data and systems. But all too often, they don’t have a plan for actually getting the business back up and running if something goes down. Most companies can’t afford to be inaccessible to customers or to be slowed down by a lack of resources for long. While IT understands the technical side of backing up and restoring data, it’s up to business leaders to run scenarios and outline procedures for getting back to work.
While these trends impact organizations across industries, each company’s approach will be different. At Handled, we have a deep understanding not just of technology but how it can be deployed to further organizational goals and growth. As you gear up for 2022, consider working with a partner that listens to your concerns and designs an optimal solution for your unique needs. Contact us today to get started.
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