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Making the Most of Your IT Resources

Spending on information technology, which includes devices, enterprise software, communications, and IT services, is expected to reach nearly $5 trillion worldwide in 2024, according to Statista. Managing your information technology resources can be costly and must be done continuously to ensure you are making the most of these resources.

Ensure that your IT resources are being fully utilized to help your business achieve and exceed its goals by practicing effective IT resource management techniques.

Start With a Solid Strategy

An effective IT strategy defines how information and technology will enable the business to meet its strategic objectives. A critical part of the IT strategy is a roadmap of technology investments, which includes how these investments will create business value and support organizational growth and development.

A smart IT strategy will also align with critical goals set by the organization’s leaders. Ultimately, all activities performed by IT should be designed to meet and achieve business goals.

Additionally, IT leaders should identify initiatives that will make the business more resilient, perhaps by identifying mandatory initiatives (could be regulatory), urgent (for example, to meet specific sales goals), and foundational (initiatives to “keep the lights on”). To ensure all bases are covered, partnering with a trusted IT services provider is a great way to ensure you are checking all the boxes in laying out your IT strategy.

Regularly Evaluate Your IT Resources

Information technology assessments that include evaluating staff, technology, and budget should take place regularly. IT assessments help you identify both areas for improvement and areas of strength to enable leaders to better understand the capabilities of the technology and the IT team.

When assessing resources, focus on these aspects:

  • System uptime. One of the most important jobs of the IT organization is to ensure that all systems are up and running by continuously monitoring systems and network performance. When issues arise that prevent employees from working, cause a slowdown in systems, or your site is down, how responsive is the IT team in addressing those issues? Does the team diagnose issues to fix the immediate problem and the underlying issue so it does not happen again? Understanding how an issue occurs and how often it occurs is just as important as fixing it.
  • Staffing resources. Understanding the competencies and skills of your existing IT organization impacts how IT supports business users and leads to decisions about what technologies to deploy in the future. That’s why it is crucial to take a hard look at how your IT team aligns with the business: What competencies do they bring? What gaps must be filled? Top-of-mind might be ensuring there are adequate resources devoted to cybersecurity. As there is a severe shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts, you may want to consider engaging and an external cybersecurity expert to augment your internal team.
  • Hardware and software. A large part of the IT strategy is understanding the technology and data that reside within the company. Inventory all software applications that are in use. Include who uses them, how they are used, and if they are integrated with other software. Do the same for hardware: What is outdated? Is everything still being supported by the manufacturer? What needs an upgrade? Once the inventory is complete, broadly assess how your technology fits current business needs and if it is adequate to support short-term business strategy. Then, consider long-term strategy and how legacy technology might be properly retired so as not to cause any disruption.

Once you have aligned the IT goals with those of the business and evaluated your IT resources, proper budgeting analysis can take place.

Start by prioritizing your IT initiatives. This can be achieved by determining which systems, applications, and projects are essential to supporting the business. Align these to business goals, and identify other factors you should consider, such as reducing risk, improving productivity, and enhancing cybersecurity. That will help decision-makers in IT and across the business rank these efforts, ensuring that resources are properly allocated.

Consider leveraging the benefits of cloud computing where feasible, as cloud computing can offer savings, improved uptime, and operational efficiencies. Additionally, leverage vendor and managed service provider relationships to drive costs even lower and enable more predictable spending.

Don’t Make These Mistakes Managing Your IT Resources

Managing the skilled talent who will execute these IT plans and initiatives requires careful consideration. With a myriad of obstacles that can hinder a team’s ability to deliver, keep in mind several common mistakes to avoid:

  • Stretching your internal IT staff too thin. In an environment where it’s challenging to attract and retain IT talent, companies must get creative. Engaging a third-party vendor who specializes in IT management services can be a strategic way to help alleviate the burden on your internal IT staff, allowing them to work on higher-priority activities and projects instead of repetitive or manual tasks.
  • Making decisions without data. While most companies say they make decisions based on data and metrics, the reality is that many decisions are based on conviction or worse, “the way we’ve always done things.” To properly leverage your data to make better decisions, implement technology that can generate insights. Today’s business intelligence solutions can help. With dashboards and advanced visualization, leaders can obtain transparent access to the metrics that should inform decision-making.
  • Not having an IT strategy or plan. Making the most of your IT resources and budget requires a solid strategy. Without a solid plan, the IT organization will be prone to inefficiencies and overspending, and may take more risks.
  • Keeping legacy technology. We often hear IT leaders talk of “future-proofing” and adopting AI and ML technologies. However, in many organizations, mission-critical applications and systems still run on outdated technology. Even if these systems are fully paid for, maintenance costs are often too high. Additionally, legacy systems are more prone to downtime and increased security risk, especially when they cannot be properly patched.
  • Not thinking enough about cybersecurity. Cyber threats and hacks are a continuous risk to any organization. Make sure you are not just being defensive in your posture. An effective cybersecurity function must not only secure data, systems, and your employees but also include a backup and recovery strategy to minimize the impact of a breach or hack. Be sure that cybersecurity activities include monitoring all endpoints in your organization, especially if you have a “bring-your-own-device” or BYOD policy. Often overlooked, these devices can lead to unexpected network intrusions.

Six Best Practices to Improve ROI of IT Resources

One of the most important parameters for measuring the success of any technology implementation and service is the return on investment (ROI). Providing a compelling ROI for IT resources will put technology leaders in a stronger position to secure broader organizational support.

  • Augment existing staff with outsourced IT services. Increasingly becoming a valuable option for many businesses, outsourcing IT services will enable an experienced provider to give you the right people and technology to achieve better outcomes. Because IT service providers can quickly shift gears to respond to your changing needs, outsourcing is often more efficient than hiring.
  • Migrate to cloud computing. Consider leveraging the benefits of cloud computing where feasible, as cloud computing can offer cost savings, operational resiliency, and efficiency. Traditional on-premises infrastructure often comes with large capital investments and ongoing maintenance costs. Cloud providers offer steady rates and the ability to quickly scale up or down depending on business needs.
  • Leverage automation and AI. Manual IT tasks can be time-consuming and repetitive. Managed IT service providers leverage automation to streamline routine tasks such as network configuration and software updates. In addition to automation, consider how AI-powered automation can help your organization make gains and become even more efficient.
  • Work with a managed services provider for predictable spending. An experienced IT provider can help align IT resources and technology with your strategy and objectives and augment your existing team where needed. They can also ensure predictable spending with one consolidated bill through one provider, instead of many vendors.
  • Evaluate analytics to improve performance and operations. Data analytics can lead to analysis and insights that can positively impact ROI. Some salient ways data analytics can improve performance and operations include optimizing employee productivity, streamlining processes, and monitoring market trends and data.
  • Align IT resources and technology with your strategy and objectives. Once an IT strategy is defined, take advantage of technology alignment. Proper alignment will improve operational efficiency by streamlining operations while improving support for your mission-critical software and systems. Engaging with a managed IT services provider can fuel your IT strategy while also delivering lower costs and faster results.

TPx can help you gain greater ROI with IT management resources. Let us help you select affordable solutions that fit the needs of your organization. Schedule a free consultation today.

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