You may have seen it, the very last episode of the classic TV show, The IT Crowd, in the finale of the show the IT department are made successors of the Doug Reynholm, head of the fictional Reynholm industries as he comically goes into hiding. The end credits show the company transformation to utopia due to the actions of the Jen, Mos and Roy not they sit at the top. Now, I’m not suggesting that directors everywhere should be handing over the keys to their business empires to the IT department, but you have to ask yourself, when was the last time IT joined a meeting in your business? And not one about their processes, one about yours and the rest of the companies.
IT has moved far beyond spreadsheets and access and yet there are still businesses that view IT as printers and laptops while missing out on the benefits of automation, business intelligence, machine learning and real collaboration. The irony is most IT departments are using all of these tools for themselves already and reaping the benefits while the rest of the company might be missing out.
So let me start with a question? Have you ever shown the wider business processes that you’re doing to IT? IT has become an arms race of wiping out manual processes with scripting and tools because why do something 100 times when you can write a script that will do it as many times as you want. Humans make mistakes, but a well-tested script will hardly ever fail, it doesn’t want holiday, does get sick and doesn’t complain about overtime and will likely be saving IT time and budget.
Now imagine understanding your end to end business process, the points of failure or bottlenecks? Once again, your IT team are pros at doing that, a good IT department will be monitoring their servers and as load goes up on certain process resources will be sent to ensure that it remains reliable. This is the same basis for business insight and machine learning, as you analyse your business you will be able to build trends and more accurate forecasts, so you can pre-empt the growth areas that you need to push resource to.
Remember that time you had to wait for someone in accounts to finish working on that report, so you could open it and add your own information to it? This is where collaborative tools such as Office 365 and Google apps really shine, they allow you to use that apps your familiar with but enhance them with the benefits of the cloud so you and others can work on documents at the same time, imagine, the miracle.
And this is just the surface of it, CRM, ERP and lots of other fancy acronyms can take you and your excel spreadsheets and access databases into modernised way of working and thinking about IT. IT is an enabler and could enable you to get more out of the business you have now.