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It’s not easy at the top.

If you’re in charge of an IT department, you’re tasked with making sure your company is running smoothly—so everything from charting your security strategy to making sure the finance department has the newest version of their accounting software needs to be top of mind. It’s enough to make even the chillest CIO feel a little stressed.

If you’re feeling the pressure, resist the urge to channel your inner Google Chrome version 47.0.2526.83 and crash. Today, we’re taking a step back from talking managed print to have a heart-to-heart with the CIOs we know and love and share some tips on how to recharge and refocus. Here are a few efficiency tips to help you keep calm and carry on.

1. Digitize your budget reporting

If you’re feeling like your budget is out of control, the problem may lie in how you’re keeping track of expenditures. Many CIOs still use Excel spreadsheets to create and manage budgets, but this low-tech solution can be one of the top reasons you lose track of budget, since it requires your team to personally input and manage cost estimates and invoices.

No matter how on top of it your team is, human error still happens: a number entered incorrectly in Excel or an invoice that was handed off to the wrong person can wreak havoc on your data transparency and your bottom line.

Instead, invest in a data management software like Apptio that allows you to manage data across departments and track expenditures. A high-level executive dashboard can give you an overview of everything that’s going on by area, region and percent to budget.

That why, you’re better able to evaluate what’s happening and share information with different project managers and IT directors. When you have everything right where you need it, you’re better able to keep your budget on track  and adjust your strategy when necessary.

2. Double down on your disaster recovery plan

When you’re accountable for your company’s information, you’re responsible for its safety. And if Karen from finance still refuses to change her password from “Karen12345” to something more secure, you need to ensure you’ve got the safety mechanisms in place to keep her information—and everyone else’s—in good hands.

As of December 29, 2015, 177.8 million records were exposed by 780 company security breaches last year. Now’s the time to take another look at your disaster recovery plan and refine it for when disaster strikes. It should be actionable and specific, based in a plausible scenario and aligned to the likelihood of various types of risks.

If you’re not sure what the most plausible risks are, run a business risk assessment as soon as possible—you’ll gain essential insight into your IT department’s strengths and weaknesses. Align with the Department of Homeland Security’s recommended goals for a disaster recovery plan:

  • Protect the health and safety of people (including employees, visitors and contractors
  • Minimize product/service disruption
  • Protect facilities, physical assets and electronic information
  • Protect your company brand, image and reputation

Reassessing your disaster recovery plan will give you peace of mind and an actionable guideline of what to do in case disaster strikes. Ensuring that it’s useful, carefully communicated to all employees and easily followed will ensure you’re set up in case of a breach.

3. Stop sweating the small stuff

Your CEO wants a chatbot on the company website, even though he’s not entirely sure what that means. A group of marketers is threatening mutiny if you don’t switch from a gChat model to Skype for intercompany communications. And someone, somewhere, keeps whispering “Internet of Things” in your ear.

IT trends come and go. Instead of getting caught up in them, focus on digitizing your IT strategy in order to prepare yourself for the next generation of technology innovation. According to Gartner, while IT budgets aren’t growing significantly, the most profitable areas of investment are in analytics, data and infrastructure and cloud/mobile support.

Focusing on these three areas set your department up for long-term data security, reliability and tech-based processes that will keep you secure today and properly positioned for the future.

Resist the urge to jump on the latest IT trend at the expense of your strategy. The next time your CEO brings up the chatbot, reframe the conversation to bring up some long-held concerns you’ve had about your website customer support section, and suggest implementing a live chat function instead. It’s a way to stay informed and one step ahead of the rest of the company.

4. Focus on your people

We love IT pros at imageOne. You’re smart, you’re groovy, and we appreciate that you don’t like the overuse of the word “hack.” If you’re feeling the need to re-energize your IT department, the best place to look is at the vast amount of talent you’ve already got available.

If you’re looking to hire, take the time to look beyond the resume. It may sound reductive, but hiring people who show a genuine desire to keep learning and growing is just as important as finding someone who’s completed the hottest new development bootcamp. Work with your HR team to redevelop the hiring process to bring out candidates’ innate skills, including work ethic, professional values and passion. They may have some insight into helping you find the best new IT director.

Even if you’re not hiring, take time out of your schedule to mentor promising members of your team. Conduct surveys to see what people are interested in learning, what problems they’re seeing at the different levels of your organization and what they want to do to fix those issues.

Then, open up opportunities for lower-level employees to bring something new to the department. Whether it’s an ingenious bit of code that makes your server run a tiny bit faster or a referral for a new managed print service, don’t be afraid to go to your department for advice and innovation. It helps keep you in the loop and approachable as well.

Making the time to implement efficiency processes can make your world a little easier as CIO. When you plan for the future, you set yourself up for a better workday today.

Want to get even smarter about saving money? Reevaluate your print process: you may be losing money. Download our eBook, 10 Steps to Finding Your True Printing Costs to learn more.

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Managed Print Print Security CIOs

Brad Foster

About Brad Foster

With 25+ years of experience helping customers, Brad Foster is an expert at ensuring organizations are purchasing the right equipment for their business needs and goals. He is also HP Endpoint Security Certified. His favorite part about working at imageOne is the award-winning company culture and the extraordinary team behind it. When he’s not working, Brad enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading.

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