Well-functioning and modern digital tools – hardware and software – keep employees more productive and happy. Considering that badly behaving digital tools on average cause two full weeks of wasted workdays per information worker each year, keeping your IT healthy makes perfect business sense..
The key is to put users and their needs front and center of all your development actions. Naturally, cost efficiency also comes into play.
Simply maximizing all stats is not smart or even necessary. All users do not require a top of the line power laptop. All users do not need every software at their disposal.
Personal tools - hardware, OS, software apps - are just a means to an end. How well do the tools help the user perform their work? Are they hindering productivity or boosting it?
Our recommendation is to start improving today with these 4 practical steps.
1. Analyze where you are right now
You can only reach your goals if you know where you are right now.
Identify tools and processes that allow you to be continuously up-to-date about the current state of your IT, regarding employee productivity and satisfaction.
What are the most important short-term problems that should be fixed first? What are the bigger issues that require long-term focus?
If you buy a tool but do not actually implement the data as part of your operations, you will probably fail – or at least minimize the benefits you could reach.
So, define roles, responsibilities and processes within your support organization to make sure that data becomes utilized properly.
2. Define key performance indicators and set goals
What are the practical, measurable IT quality performance indicators that reveal how well-functioning your IT is for your business and employees?
What is the satisfactory level where you should be today? Where do you want to be in the future? How do you perform against other organizations - benchmarks and competitors?
Start by defining 3–5 most important basic metrics. Getting started and getting the foundations in place is what matters. You can always add more later.
Don’t overthink or be inflexible: performance indicators should be regularly evaluated and developed if needed. If you are using an external IT service provider, engage them in a dialogue about the performance indicators.
What metrics can be added to the service agreement? What are the incentives for meeting set goals? Make sure your IT partner can actually influence the things related to the metrics.
3. Start continuous improvement
Keep constant eye on your performance indicators and how you meet the goals you haveset. Revisit the metrics and goals if needed. Spend some time also to think what other things you should looking on regular basis that may require your attention and need to be fixed too. It is a question of doing continuous improvements.
And be agile! You cannot plan the journey all the way, but you can set milestones that you want to reach. Once you have reached a milestone, review what you have accomplished, are you doing the right things and should you change something. And then continue your journey towards the next milestone.
Monitor how your development actions are working. See that you reach the performance levels where you have set your goals. Also, make sure you continuously stay on those levels.
When you are confident, start reaching higher.
4. Lead the operations
Never underestimate the importance of leadership. Data, tools and processes lay the foundations but leadership makes the change actually possible.
As a leader, your role is to ensure your team has the right resources, but also to help everyone understand why change is needed and boost the team’s commitment to meeting your shared goals.
The user-centric, proactive attitude must be adopted by the entire team, both internally and by your IT service provider. Embrace transparency and open dialogue between all stakeholders, including end users.