It’s not easy at the top. If you’re in charge of an IT department, you’re tasked with making sure your not just your team, but your entire company, runs smoothly.
That means everything from charting a new security strategy to making sure the finance department has the newest version of their accounting software. It’s enough to make even the chillest CIO feel a little stressed. If you’re feeling the pressure, I get it. But do resist the urge to channel your inner Google Chrome version 47.0.2526.83 and crash.
Today, we’re sharing some tips on how IT leaders can to recharge and refocus on their budgets and ultimately save money.
1. Digitize your Budget Reporting System
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. However, this low-tech solution is a common reason why IT department CIOs and managers lose track of their budgets. These systems require your team to personally input and manage cost estimates and invoices.
Even with the best team's on the planet, human error still happens: a number entered incorrectly that was then handed off to the wrong person can wreak havoc on your data transparency, company's security, and your bottom line.
Instead, invest in a data management software that's specifically designed for IT departments (we personally love Apptio). These programs are built for IT team's specific needs and allow you to easily 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. Reassess Your Disaster Recovery Plan
When you’re accountable for your company’s information, you’re responsible for its safety and security.
Does Karen from finance still refuse to change her password from “Karen12345” to something more secure? Then it's time to take action and enforce change. This ensures the utmost in office security for both her and your company as a whole.
After all, cybersecurity hack and breaches happen every day. Especially if you haven't recently looked at your current security strategy or disaster recovery plan, now is the time to review and refine it for when disaster strikes—and before it can happen in the first. 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. Be sure that you're aligned with the Department of Homeland Security’s recommended goals for a disaster recovery plan including:
- Protecting the health and safety of people (including employees, visitors and contractors
- Minimizing product/service disruption
- Protecting facilities, physical assets and electronic information
- Protecting 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. Ensure that it’s useful, carefully communicated to all employees, and easy to follow so you can confidently know that you're protected in case of a breach.
3. Stop Sweating the Small Stuff
Your CEO keeps asking for a chatbot on the company website—even though she’s not entirely sure what that means. A group of marketers is threatening mutiny if you don’t switch from Microsoft Teams to Slack for intercompany communications. And someone, somewhere, keeps whispering “the Internet of Things” in your ear.
IT trends come, go, and take time and money to implement. Instead of getting caught up in every one, 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 IT investment are in analytics, data and infrastructure, and cloud/mobile support.
Focusing on these three areas will 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. As a bonus, this can help to keep you in the loop and seem approachable.
As an IT leader, making the time to implement efficiency processes can make your world a little easier. When you plan for the future, you set yourself up for a better workday today.
Start building a better IT budget and workflow today! Our team can help you create a smart, efficient, and incredibly secure work environment while saving your business money. Contact us today for a short, no-strings-attached consultation and free security assessment.