The Role of the IT Department in Business Strategy

Achieve Positive Business Outcomes with IT Infrastructure Modernization

The IT department was not always considered vital to achieving business goals. Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) was considered a method of reducing costs rather than a strategic partnership. But the environment has shifted.

The transition to a more flexible work environment accelerated the movement towards collaboration between employees, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders in a more integrated and remote fashion. At the same time, the scope of cloud computing grew beyond the mainframe.

Today, the role of the IT department is the cornerstone for differentiation, customer satisfaction, cost reduction and growth optimization in a competitive marketplace. Looking to the future, it will continue to play a crucial role in helping organizations implement their strategies quickly and efficiently to stay competitive. Where to begin?  Technology provides for a vast array of IT infrastructure technologies and infrastructure services. However, organizations may only focus on a subset of technologies and infrastructure services. Focusing resources on achieving strategic business outcomes is critical to maximizing the benefits of technology.

What exactly are business outcomes? A business outcome is a specific identifiable and measurable result or change in business performance that an organization tries to achieve. 

Business outcomes achieved through IT modernization.

“There are countless business outcomes that can be achieved through the modernization of IT infrastructure. Those we commonly come across involve improving customer experience, innovation, flexibility with capital and operating budgets, improved service delivery, and the need to improve security and compliance, which could lead to costly fines and loss of reputation if not addressed.”, says Steve Leggett, Managing Director, Cover-All Managed Cloud and IT Services.

  • Avoid capital and operating cost increases to keep the business competitive.

Develop an IT infrastructure that supports the business while improving innovation, including a seamless combination of Cloud, servers and mainframe technology.

  • Improved service delivery through IT systems performance and capacity planning.

Reduce service delivery costs by 30% through better utilization of IT resources and reduction of incoming customer complaints. 

  • Improving security and compliance standards.

Educate 100% of employees on recognizing and avoiding phishing scams within the next three months and transition to only ISO 27001 suppliers.

Adopting a methodology, such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach, can help you achieve your objectives. PDCA is a systematic approach to identifying the technology needed for your business and the necessary steps to ensure the appropriate investment allocation of your organization’s technology budget.

Plan: Establish objectives to deliver desired outcomes.

In this phase, organizations establish strategic objectives and processes required to deliver desired business outcomes. It is critical to recognize opportunities and weaknesses, establish objectives, and identify the processes needed to deliver on your objectives. Each goal may require a different technology solution or set of solutions.  A clearly defined set of objectives will help to guide the best investment for your IT dollars. Ensuring all stakeholders have bought into your goals and solutions will determine your success.

You will need to assess the ability of your current IT infrastructure to help you achieve defined strategic objectives. Is your technology impacting your employees’ ability to deliver on your business objectives?  Is your technology improving customer experience and differentiating you in the marketplace?  Is your business exposed to potential risks, including compliance, data security, and disaster recovery?

If legacy systems prevent you from achieving your strategic goals or hamper your productivity, you may need to invest in updated hardware and/or software and employee training to get you back on track. If improving customer experience or reducing capital and operating costs are objectives, the transition to current technology may be the best path forward to helping you achieve desired business outcomes. Assessing the current state of your IT infrastructure and determining which systems will provide the maximum benefit on your ROI is key in this process. Partnering with a Managed IT Services Provider can be the most cost-effective and expedient route to implementing technology changes.  An MSP can help you determine which new or emerging technology solutions best suit your objectives.

Do: Implementation of updated technology.

The implementation phase is the most potentially disruptive to your business. The key to success is ensuring minimal impact on current business and customer experience. The solutions are purchased, installed, and implemented in a parallel production environment to ensure appropriate testing. Full application and system testing takes place over a period of time, and business objectives are reviewed to ensure that they are satisfactorily met.  System performance is monitored to ensure that processing objectives can be met, and implementation often takes place over a weekend to avoid service disruption. Employee training ensures your new systems achieve the desired business outcomes.

Check: Evaluation of new technology’s ability to meet objectives.

During the Check phase, data is gathered and evaluated to determine if the goals are being met and/or if positive trends have been established. Evaluation of identified business objectives takes on quantitative measurements to assess the success of the new technology in achieving stated goals. 

  • Is the new technology meeting your business objectives – driving increased sales, realizing decreased costs, improving customer satisfaction, employee productivity, etc.?
  • Is the new technology meeting client and employee needs based on predetermined measurements – increased customer satisfaction, productivity, etc.?
  • Is the new technology mitigating business risks?

Act: Course correction to ensure issues are addressed and objectives are met.

 You now have a new process that has been tested and implemented.  In this phase, you identify areas where the process can be improved, detect any issues that need to be corrected, and adjust to move forward with an improved process.

  • Who has ownership over ensuring the process is continually improved and objectives are met?
  • How do you identify the changes that can be made to improve the newly implemented process?
  • What communication processes are in place to ensure all stakeholders can contribute recommendations for continuous improvement?

Organizations face the challenge of keeping up with new IT developments to stay competitive. Business agility, innovation, improved customer experience, and reduced costs can all impact success. The right IT infrastructure for your business, including the Cloud, servers, and mainframe, all depend on your goals and the ability for these technologies to seamlessly work together to provide positive business outcomes.

Cover-All Managed Cloud and IT Services provides cost-effective Managed IT Services to leading Canadian organizations.  

 Visit our website to learn more about achieving positive business outcomes

Read our free Guide to Maximizing Technology Investments