Keeping IT in Sync With Line-of-Business Users: 10 Best Practices

0-Keeping IT in Sync With Line-of-Business Users: 10 Best Practices
1-Understand Desired Business Outcomes and Strategic Goals
2-Determine the Best IT to Deliver Those Business Goals
3-Define Key Metrics for Measuring Success
4-Reduce 'Noise' in Your Operations, Automate Repetitive Processes
5-Eliminate Data Silos
6-Outsource Operations That Don't Add Unique Value
7-Track Metrics That Define Success and/or Failure
8-Report, Report, Report
9-Use the Visibility You've Gained
10-Create a Continuous Cycle of Improvement
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Keeping IT in Sync With Line-of-Business Users: 10 Best Practices

By Chris Preimesberger

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Understand Desired Business Outcomes and Strategic Goals

Before any technology is implemented, IT departments need to understand the business issues stakeholders face—and the outcomes they want to achieve. Involve line-of-business (LOB) leaders in discussions and decisions; technology is too important not to involve them. By 2016, according to IDC, 80 percent of IT investment decisions will involve LOB executives, who will make more than half the decisions.

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Determine the Best IT to Deliver Those Business Goals

Technology is less expensive, more powerful and easier to deploy than ever, but it needs to produce results. It's not about implementing a new CRM system; it's about shortening the sales cycle. It's not about deploying social monitoring tools; it's about understanding your customers better. It's not about upgrading your infrastructure; it's about increasing scale and improving employee efficiency.

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Define Key Metrics for Measuring Success

Ensure the team is in agreement as to what success looks like. This includes identifying internal objectives (such as profitability, cost control and employee utilization) and external outcomes (such as SLA performance, costs savings and allocation, and ROI).

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Reduce 'Noise' in Your Operations, Automate Repetitive Processes

Focus your attention on what really matters: those activities that impact business decisions and outcomes. Eliminate redundant processes and automate repetitive workflows to give you more flexibility to ensure the right people are working on the right projects at the right time.

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Eliminate Data Silos

Keep all data and metrics in a centralized location. This helps IT departments better track activity and measure against the desired outcomes. Consider using an integrated business management solution to manage your operations.

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Outsource Operations That Don't Add Unique Value

If a technology or process is not contributing to the end goal, don't devote time or resources to it. Focus on what you can do to drive results.

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Track Metrics That Define Success and/or Failure

Both the internal outcomes (on time and on budget) and those external to the IT department (shorter sales cycles, better cost control, faster onboarding, faster product innovation) define success. The IT department needs to develop a culture of accountability for the resources it uses, the technologies it implements and the results it helps achieve.

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Report, Report, Report

Share your findings on the outcomes and the effectiveness of technology deployments. Leverage the data you have access to, to demonstrate the value of the tools and the solutions you deploy.

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Use the Visibility You've Gained

Do this by using a unified system and paying attention to the outcomes to better understand your key operational and performance metrics and trends. Visibility allows IT departments to have a stronger voice within the company.

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Create a Continuous Cycle of Improvement

Once put into place, this will improve outcomes-based performance, increase efficiency and reduce costs. What organization wouldn't want any of those outcomes? Identify the best methods to increase efficiency, maximize effectiveness, optimize costs and create a set of standard measurements to benchmark performance. Routinely test those standards and question if they are the best ways to help your business achieve its goals.

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