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It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through May, isn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun—and it also flies when you’re insanely busy managing an information technology department. Is your department using that time wisely?

Ensuring your team keeps their productivity high throughout the year is an ongoing issue many CIOs have to deal with. However, wasting time isn’t always about checking Facebook or re-re-resetting Karen from finance’s email password. In fact, most wasted time happens due to inefficient processes within your organization. Here are a few areas in which your department may be losing time and some advice on how to make them more efficient.

“Reactive” IT

A Compuware study of over 200 IT directors found that the average IT department spent over 35 percent of their time fixing problems with existing IT hardware and software. That’s just about 2 hours and 48 minutes per day, per person spent taking care of systems that should already be running!

This “reactive” IT—in which employees are forced to take care of problems as they occur—severely cuts down your ability to proactively devise new strategies to solve problems before they occur. In order to reduce the time your department spends on reacting to IT issues, it’s necessary to evaluate your fleet of machines and your processes to find where problems are occurring. Is your team sending someone to fix the third-floor printer on a daily basis? Can employees still not figure out how to access their payroll information online? It may be time to invest in a new printer and re-configure your software.

If you can’t immediately identify problem areas outside of your department, the problem may be with your repair processes. Employees in your department may not fully understand what’s required of them when it comes to fixing that printer, or they may not be educating others on how to save their payroll information to access later. As a result, the underlying issues are never fully addressed. Revising those processes and conducting extra training sessions can help out significantly.

Over-complicated systems

While strong procedures are essential to the functioning of your department, you need to be careful that these aren’t actually tripping you and your employees up. Resist the urge to create systems, both digital and operational, that over-complicate simple things. It’s not necessary to always account for every piece of information: you should focus on creating processes that make life easier instead of adding unnecessary work for everyone in your department and don’t require unnecessary oversight. The more complicated your systems are, the more likely they are to break down in times of great stress. So if you’re constantly finding yourself having to deal with over-complicated processes, you may want to rethink how you get things done.

Unclear priorities, role requirements and chain of command

There are not many things that frustrate your employees more than when they’re not getting clear guidance on what they should (and shouldn’t) be doing. If you’re finding much of your department’s time is being wasted, make it your mission to clarify to your team where they should be spending their hours. Simply keeping them abreast of your priorities can help them better understand where they’re most valuable.

If that’s not enough to reduce wasted time, conduct a department survey to see whether employees truly understand their roles and the chain of command they should be following. Your wasted time problem might be a matter of employees not understanding what they’re responsible for and to whom they should report.

To ensure your department is working as efficiently as possible, it’s essential to look inwards and identify where you’re wasting time. Once you do, you’re better equipped to save money and make everyone’s day run a little bit more smoothly. 

Did you know: The average multi-function printer has over 200 settings that can lead to a security breach. Are you taking care of yours? Our on-demand imageOne Solutions webinar will help protect you from print-related security breaches. Download it below for more!

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Photo credit: olle svensson via Flickr Creative Commons