How IT Can Do More for Your Company
R. Marc Phillips
What’s the best way to make sure your department doesn’t get hit hard by tough times—recession-based or otherwise? How about making it obvious how indispensable you all are? Sure, you could try the whole “take down the network, then stage a sick-out” routine, but that’s probably not the most constructive way to get your point across. Here, then, are a few things any IT department can do to raise its profile and make people happier with what you do:
Make Time for the Small Fixes
I know there’s that month-long project to finish, but you’d be surprised how much favor you can curry (and how much time you can save the company) by taking 20 minutes every week to fix something small about your system that’s bugging your users. If people use a tool to save documents hundreds of times a day, but they have to scroll for five seconds to find the save button, the 10 minutes it takes you to move that button to a logical place could save your company hours each week.
But while the business case for small fixes is often solid, the employee morale benefits are key. Think back to the last time you eliminated a cumbersome work-around. Did people thank you more for that or for the year-long Sarbox compliance work you did? That doesn’t mean you pull people from Sarbox work to fix minor bugs, but if you can devote an hour a week to identifying and fixing low-hanging fruit, you’ll make everyone at the company happier.
Write Better Release Notes
Ask anyone what the biggest problem at their company is, and “communication” will likely be a top answer. Everyone’s busy these days, which means IT rarely has a clue what sales is doing and accounting can’t think twice about what IT has accomplished. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you already send regular release notes, that’s great. Spend a bit more time on them, and you’ll reap the benefits of better-informed users and a company with better communication. If not, make a habit of sending an e-mail about IT’s accomplishments and tasks each month.
Engage with the Business
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: IT needs to be more intimitely connected to every company’s business. So if your IT or engineering department doesn’t have the role it should, take some initiative. See if you can sit in on a planning meeting or two. Offer some suggestions. Often, IT projects don’t start because it’s hard for other departments to know what’s easy for tech to accomplish. But you don’t have that problem.