Reactive IT Management Could be Costing Your Company
Are you a reactive manager? Are you spending your time putting out fires instead of planning ahead? You may be just reacting while being unaware of its consequences. Consider the following facts:
• 53% of CIOs spend their time being reactive (“keeping the lights on”), while many Line of Business (LOB) executives are bypassing CIOs to get faster results, which creates the Shadow IT effect.
• 52% of CIOs want to develop skills for emerging technologies and innovation. More CIOs want to become strategic services brokers—juggling commercial needs, the demands of business units, their existing technology and limited budgets.
• 75% admit that the network is an issue in achieving business objectives. Many CIOs are focused on short-term fixes instead of planning long-term infrastructure investment.
• 66% see supporting business and marketing goals as a priority. Pragmatic CIOs understand that sticking to old approaches to solve new problems is counterproductive in the long run.
• Mobile device enrollment across enterprises has increased 135% in the last 12 months. The ability to do business at any time, anywhere is becoming fundamental to enterprise success. Everyone needs uninterrupted access to corporate data. CIOs’ warnings and clamping down on security are frequently ignored.
What this all tells us is that CIOs are being increasingly reactive in their management, too focused on short-term fixes, and not paying enough attention to the time savings that comes with workflow management.
What is Reactive Management?
Reactive management refers to a situation in which you can't – or don't – plan ahead for problems or opportunities. Instead, you react to them as they happen. As a result, you're always a step behind. You don't have time to look ahead to pre-empt problems, so they seem to happen "out of the blue."
The problem with reactive management is that it is stressful, and executives who are constantly putting out fires are not focusing on the bigger picture at their companies. Also, reactive teams are likely to deliver lower quality work, are inefficient and frustrated. Reactive management could be costing your company money. It happens when you are so focused on addressing daily problems that you don’t have time to come up for air and look at what you really should be working on.
In contrast, proactive management happens when you plan ahead to avoid or manage problems.
Become a proactive manager
So how do you, as CIO, move from being a reactive manager to being proactive? Take these steps:
1. Take Back Control of Time – Eliminate unnecessary meetings, phone calls, and emails.
Involve your team members in this work. They'll be able to fill you in on task-related difficulties, which will help you anticipate and avoid future problems.
When you give yourself more time, you give yourself space to plan, and to anticipate problems.
2. Look at Processes – Streamline and eliminate where you can.
Dysfunctional processes can trigger or worsen reactive management situations. So, do a thorough review of all of the processes that affect your team. Also, look at people's working practices, as these may create delays or add complexity.
3. Understand and Manage Risk—If a project is risky, avoid it. Use your past experience to manage your risk.
Once you've improved the efficiency of your processes, you can start to address the problems that you face with more confidence. Look at your areas of risk and learn to manage them more effectively.
4. Focus on Morale – Keep your team upbeat and positive.
It's likely that members of your team will feel the pressure that comes with reactive management. Acknowledge the situation, and remind people about what you’re doing to resolve it.
5. Build in Continuous Improvement –Let others suggest changes.
Make the most of your people's knowledge and experience by encouraging them to suggest changes.
TEAM UP IT can help you streamline your workflow management. As you gain greater control of your workflow, and become more aware of where the roadblocks and dysfunctional processes exist, you will be able to fix these problems, and smooth over any conflicts or missteps. This is part of your growth as a leader, to learn how to prioritize, plan, prepare, and not spend all your time reacting. As you set this example as a leader, your team will follow you and start anticipating problems on its own. You will find that all aspects of your operations start running more smoothly.
For more information on how to run IT efficiently in your company, visit us at www.TEAMUP IT.com.
CIOs Are Giving Outsourced IT Higher Marks Than Ever
Outsourcing IT is on the rise, and the overwhelming majority of those companies that outsourced IT functions are satisfied with the outcomes. Comp TIA did a survey and reported that managed services arrangements are either meeting or exceeding cost-savings expectations and are covering essential needs such as tech troubleshooting, integration, and cyber-security.
A total of 350 U.S. based IT and business professionals who are involved in technology decision-making took part in the research.
According to the Comp TIA report, CIOs, and other senior IT managers are finding that managed services can provide a number of both strategic and ROI-boosting benefits. "The argument can be made that turning to managed services or other outsourcing [for] basic, day-to-day IT operations will increase operational efficiency and create predictable, recurring costs," the report stated. "At the same time, moving more IT-related business functions into the hands of an outside provider also clears the way for internal IT staff to work on initiatives that hew more to core mission and drive revenue."
Among the report’s findings:
• Internal IT staff can work on more initiatives that drive revenue when CIOs move some IT functions into the hands of an outside provider.
• 49% of survey respondents said their company’s IT functions are mostly or partially outsourced today.
• 50% said they'll consider using an outside IT firm over the next two years if the need arises, while another 15% are evaluating the employment of an outside IT firm now.
• 93% said their managed services arrangements either met or exceeded cost-savings expectations.
The top decision drivers for outsourcing IT for companies with 100 or more employees:
• Improving efficiency/reliability of IT: 56%,
• Enhancing security/compliance: 38%,
• Freeing up IT staff to work on strategic projects: 38%,
• Boosting ROI/cost savings: 33%,
• Taking proactive approach to maintenance: 27%
While companies that outsource IT services enjoy many benefits, saving money is one of the most compelling reasons for doing so. Outsourcing helps control capital outlay, especially in the early years of operations. IT services make up fixed costs for companies that do not outsource.
Contracts Compel Inter-Provider Cooperation
CIO magazine reported that one of the trends to watch in the coming years is contracts compelling inter-provider cooperation among IT providers.
"As organizations continue to implement a multi-sourcing, best-of-breed strategy customers need to find a way to force competitive service providers to work together to achieve common goals," says Shawn Helms, partner in the outsourcing and technology practices of K&L Gates. In 2013, some outsourcing customers implemented outsourcing "cooperation agreements" that contractually obligated service providers to cooperate at an operational level. Helms predicted in future years these contracts would increase.
If you are a CIO, and are hiring several IT providers, you will want to include cooperation agreements in these contracts.
IT Outsourcing Market Expanding
Gartner’s latest forecast predicts the worldwide IT services market will exceed $980 billion in 2015. With information technology outsourcing (ITO) contributing to more than half that market growth, the industry is poised to reach $1.1 trillion by 2018.
The IT skills shortage, as well as pressure CIOs feel to execute new digital demands within the limitations of tight budgets, has solidified outsourcing’s role. These days, it’s rare for businesses not to outsource at least one aspect of their IT organization.
For more information on how outsourcing can help improve your company’s IT efficiency, go to www.TEAMUPIT.com.
Don’t Wait Until a Catastrophe Strikes to Address Cyber Security
The threats of data breaches to companies continue to increase. PwC, the professional services firm, says that the number of global cyber security incidents last year surged by nearly 50% to nearly 40 million. One in 10 breaches incurred a cost greater than $10 million.
As the CIO of a midsized company, are you prepared for these data threats? You may think that you have taken all necessary steps to avoid a data breach, but in reality, you may have missed some steps. A study by consulting firm Bain & Co. found that many companies fail to align their IT security capabilities with their larger goals and appetite for risk. Frequently Bain sees a disconnect between an organization’s risk-management efforts and the development of necessary cyber security capabilities. Some teams take an inconsistent approach to security planning, operations and funding. The result, the Bain study shows, is that these mistakes create gaps in strategy and operations that the leave the company vulnerable to a breach.
We all know that the consequences of a data breach can be devastating in terms of lost revenue, damaged reputations and financial loss. As a leader, you cannot afford to wait until a catastrophe strikes to address cyber security.
Because of what is at stake for most companies, many CEOs and boards are beginning to think about IT security in a new way. While it once may have been delegated to IT staff, cyber security is now so important that it has become many companies’ top-level strategic issue. The consequences of failure can ruin a business.
Why is cyber security so important?
There are four main reasons why cyber security is becoming a top strategic issue and why companies need to take extra measures to protect themselves:
1. Companies have more digital assets than they had 10 years ago, including customers’ personal, financial and transaction information; automated business processes; and other data.
2. Organizations are shifting to hybrid cloud architecture to adopt software, security and other solutions as services (SaaS, SECaaS and so on). Today, corporate and customer data resides in the organization’s data centers as well as public and private clouds. Their adoption requires a more sophisticated approach to cyber security.
3. The use of mobile devices by staff and employees complicates security issues. A recent survey by ISACA found that up to 66% of organizations will soon adopt BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policies, yet half of IT staff members remain concerned about the security risks. IT organizations need to provide ubiquitous security across many devices.
4. Compliance remains the most important cyber security driver. In a recent Bain survey, more than 75% of CIOs identified compliant requirement as the main determinant of investment in IT security.
Given the complex challenges facing IT in all companies, it may be time for your own business to hire a smart, innovative consulting firm like TEAMUP IT to help you take a more strategic approach to IT security. Before a data breach occurs at your firm, TEAMUP IT can help you:
• Understand your key assets and appetite for risk
• Define your cyber security strategy
• Emphasize gaps, priorities and strategy to the CEO and board
As the CIO, you don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to address the myriad of cyber security needs for your company. Waiting until disaster strikes increases the likelihood of negative customer relationships, compliance turmoil, and further financial losses. Contact www.TEAMUPIT.com today and get the professional advice that you need to protect your company and its valuable assets.
The Continuing Need for More Women in Information Technology
Despite the increasing demand for computer science graduates and technical workers in the information technology field, only about 15 percent of computer science graduates are women, reports the New York Times. The industry has been under pressure to recruit more.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology reports that although women comprise half the world’s population and more than half of the U.S. professional workforce, they play only a small role in inventing the technology of tomorrow. The NCWIT believes that, “The lack of girls and women in computing and technology represents a failure to capitalize on the benefits of diverse perspectives: in a world depend on innovation, it can bring the best and broadest problem-solvers to the table. At a time when technology drives economic growth, it can yield a larger and more competitive workforce.”
If you’re in IT -- and reading this article about women in IT – the odds are that you’re male. After all, just 24% of the U.S. IT workforce is female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, quite a fall from its high point of 36% in 1991, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. This is at a time when women make up more than half (57%) of the professional U.S. workforce.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that IT will be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, adding nearly 1.4 million job openings by 2020. Over two-thirds of these jobs could go unfilled due to the insufficient pool of college graduates with computing-related degrees. “Women represent a vastly untapped talent pool,” according to the NCWIT.
There are institutions that are trying to redress this imbalance. One of the colleges that is making significant strides in recruiting women to the computer science field is the University of Washington. Thirty percent of the university’s bachelor’s degrees in computer science last year went to women. That is twice the national average.
The university is doing three major things to diversify its student base, according to Ed Lawoska, chairman of computer science and engineering at U. of Washington. The first is to get girls interested in computer science early on, by teaching elementary and high school teachers and students about computing through workshops and field trips.
The second thing the university did was give its introductory courses a makeover a few years ago, to make computing more accessible and inviting to a broader range of people. Third, in order to decrease the feelings of isolation for women in computing, the university has also tried to build a sense of community for women studying the topic. The college sends students to tech companies or conferences for women in tech to meet others in the field.
Operating behind the scenes of many colleges’ efforts to recruit women to IT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
The organization is a nonprofit community of more than 600 universities, companies, nonprofits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.
Among other programs, the organization offers Aspirations in Computing – a sweeping national talent development initiative for young women in computing and information technology from kindergarten through graduate school.
Our team of experts at TEAMUP IT testifies to the benefits of recruiting and retaining women in IT. Not only do women who study computer science embark on exciting, productive and secure careers, but they will offer benefits to the companies that hire them. The NCWIT reports that, “Groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than do homogenous groups, and the presence of women in a group is more likely to increase the collective intelligence (problem-solving ability, creativity) of the group.”
Increasing the numbers of women in IT in a company also helps to improve its bottom line. The NCWIT reports that companies with the highest representation of women in their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment than did those with few or no women. In a recent study by Harvey Nash, nearly three-quarters (71%) of CIOs globally said they recognized the gender imbalance in their organizations.
An example of a company concerned about hiring more women in technology is Xerox, whose CTO, Sophie Vandebroek, spoke to Computerworld magazine. She said that adding women to engineering and design teams makes those teams better able to address the needs of Xerox’s customer base, which worldwide includes more women than men. Women are more likely to be users of the company’s multifunction office devices, says Vandebroek.
The executive stressed that heterogeneous workgroups are more innovative, creative and productive than “just a bunch of people all thinking the same way” – a crucial concern for organizations like Xerox, where innovation has a direct impact on the bottom-line. TEAMUP IT is committed to helping women advance in IT in companies. For more information on how women might transform your IT department and where to find the resources to effectively train the staff you now have, visit www.TEAMUP IT.com.
Multi-Location Businesses Should Mobilize Their Work Flow
If you run a business with multiple locations, you know that it can be challenging to keep up with all your staff’s workflow. Coordinating projects’ deadlines and completion, along with making sure that communication flows smoothly between your locations, is important. If your business takes advantage of the innovative mobile devices available, you can see your staff’s productivity increase.
According to Network World, smart phones now outnumber humans on the planet. Add tablets to the mix, and it’s clear that the world has forever gone mobile. It’s time for companies to tap into this trend by embracing and benefiting from the realities of the modern world.
Here are 3 top benefits of mobilizing your operational workflows.
Mobile workflow management helps companies:
• Ensure compliance with industrystandards
• Lessens chances of lost or stolen field data
• Eliminates duplicate work back at the office.
Compliance and Secure Data
All corporations are focused on compliance of some sort and have a vested interest in ensuring that their data doesn’t leave them open to liabilities. Lost or insecure data = a compliance nightmare.
With compliance and data security in mind, think about this common scenario: John, employee at ABC Energy, tests water near drilling operations to ensure the company upholds its commitment to environmental safety. He tests each site, records the results on a clipboard using paper and pen, and later enters the results into a spreadsheet once back at the office.
What happens if somehow between the work site and the office the day’s water collection data is lost? Not an ideal situation for ABC Energy and one that many companies find themselves battling often.
Additionally, since many mobile applications and platforms come with enterprise-level security and encryption, companies can also rest assured that their data is safe across devices and locations.
Mobility Decreases Duplicate Work
With access to a mobile workflow management solution, John can simply enter data collected on-site using a custom form on his mobile device. He can also take pictures of testing strips and equipment, geotag his location and sign his name to ensure environmental standards were met. When the data is entered, Sally, who sits in the corporate compliance office is notified, so she can log results for the region before sending her work off to the next person involved in the process. (Picture your compliance team cheering!)
Due to the complexity of modern work and the flattening of traditional corporate hierarchies, the average knowledge worker must be equipped to make regular decisions that can have critical implications for the organization. Real-time reporting accessible from mobile devices means employees can leverage data and analytics to drive informed decision-making across the business. These decisions can help cut costs and boost the bottom line.
According to recent studies, employees who use mobile apps to perform work are 34% more productive. Companies gain an extra 240 hours of work a year from employees due to mobile working.
Mobile increases speed-to-work completion
A standard rule of thumb for workflows that require tasks completed by three or more people is that they take seven business days to complete.
If someone is out of the office or in the field, this number only increases. Can you imagine the increase in your customer satisfaction numbers and the resulting profit if you could cut down on this time-to-workflow completion? Through better overall coordination and collaboration, what if your company could strengthen its quality control processes and decrease the frequency of expensive defects or warranty claims? The experts at TEAM UP IT can help you accomplish this.
According to ITBusinessEdge.com, mobile workflow management makes these “if statements” into profitable realities. Armed with a mobile work management solution, employees can sign off on approvals, enter or access data, view reports and dashboards and the like while on the go or away from their desk. This means that operational processes or projects progress with “out-of-the-office” based impediments.
Mobile workflow management eliminates the need to manipulate spreadsheets on a mobile device and turns data entry, tracking, and reporting into an easy and efficient process for on-the-go employees. Mobile workflow management translates into less time wasted by employees who must sort through never-ending email chains or multiple versions of Excel documents, whether on a mobile device or at the office. You don’t want your employees wasting time -- time is money!
There are many ways mobile devices improve employee productivity, because there is an array of devices that can be used. The iPass Mobile Workforce Report notes:
- 41 percent of mobile workers have a tablet and an additional 34 percent of mobile workers intend to purchase a tablet in the next six months.
- 87 percent of mobile workers that own tablets use their tablets for at least some work. Among tablet owners, 27 percent have a tablet provided by their workplace and 73 percent have a personally owned tablet.
- On the road, 68 percent of mobile workers will pay for a faster connection at a hotel even when a free network is also available.
- 43 percent of mobile workers store their smart phone within arm’s reach when they sleep at night. Those that do this are 60 percent more likely than average to wake during the night to check their smart phone.
The iPass Report concludes:
Most mobile workers are constantly connected, highly responsive, and ready to be engaged outside of traditional office hours. They telecommute and travel on business. Their mobility helps them stay competitive in a fast-paced and challenging business environment. They manage to work 240 hours longer annually than their less mobile peers. Work does not keep them up at night, and their mobility does not cause friction in their personal relationships – more than half store their smart phone out of arm’s reach. Still, how the mobilocracy defines their personal boundaries determines the effects of their mobility on their work and on their personal lives.
TEAM UP IT can help your company go mobile. By going mobile your workforce can be productive and complete work anytime, anywhere. Employees can complete tasks wherever they are, whether at a conference, after a sales meeting, or waiting in an airport for a flight.
Is your business taking full advantage of the benefits of workflow management with mobile working? If you need assistance with an assessment of which mobile devices will help streamline your workflow management, contact the experts at www. TEAMUPIT.com.
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