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Industry IT Water-Cooler for Power-Users:
Four Ways to Make IT More Effective
 
Posted 11/10/2004 on 11/10/2004 and updated 4/7/2019
Take Away: By avoiding some common mistakes, IT Departments can help minimize operations support and maintenance costs. As a result, more IT budget dollars can be diverted to projects that can help improve organizational efficiencies and overall customer service.

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Several recent economic reports indicate that productivity in America is at an all-time high.  In large part, this is due to more investment in information technology to help streamline tasks at work and promote better communications within organizations.

However, some organizations continue to invest in information technology without realizing any meaningful improvement in their overall efficiency.  It has been my experience that organizations make some fairly common mistakes that drag down the overall effectiveness of their IT departments.  Here is a quick checklist to see if your IT Operations has fallen into some of these all too common mistakes.

1.  Diffused Administration

One of the most widespread yet unaddressed problems within many organizations is what I call diffused administration.  Diffused administration refers to situations where the responsibility for installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting software is spread widely across an organization.  For example, a software application like a time-tracking system is installed on each desktop PC in the organization.  When this software needs to be upgraded or there is a problem with the software, the IT Department dispatches technicians to upgrade or troubleshoot the software.  Frequently, this is a very time consuming, expensive, and frustrating process, because these upgrade or troubleshooting procedures must be completed on each desktop PC.  Another example of diffused administration is when individual departments are responsible for the maintenance of their own software and hardware.  This leads to inconsistencies in how systems are set up, in how long it takes to resolve problems, and gaps in systems security.  Diffused administration may first appear like a small problem, but independent studies have shown that up to 70 percent of an organization’s total IT budget may be absorbed by these types of activities.  When such a large percentage of an organization’s IT budget is taken up by such day-to-day administration, there is little funding left over for new initiatives that could result in improved efficiencies or better customer service.

To avoid these kinds of expensive, time consuming, and frustrating activities, the administration of IT processes should be centralized whenever possible.  For example, most application software should reside on a centralized server that may be accessed by individual users through a network or a web browser.  This is commonly referred to as the “thin client” model.  The desktop PC or client is “thin” in that it has a minimal amount of software installed on it.  As a result, whenever the application software needs to be upgraded or a problem needs to be resolved, the IT Department goes to one place:  the server.  Because all the users are accessing the same software, they immediately benefit from the new upgrade.  Software problems are resolved for all users at once.  This is an effective method of minimizing IT maintenance costs and improving internal customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, there are now automated system administration tools that enable the IT staff to maintain software and troubleshoot problems remotely without leaving the IT Department.  These new tools can greatly reduce the amount of time consumed by support technicians.  Such maintenance tools and automated processes can significantly free up IT budget dollars to improve efficiencies and customer service in other areas.

2.  Standardize Software 

Another all too common mistake is that organizations often use several different types of software to do the same thing.  I did some work once for a small rural county government that used three different types of email software.  Not only did the installation and maintenance costs make this a very expensive venture, there were serious communication problems between the different email systems.  To promote operating efficiencies, an organization should select one software application for word processing, one spreadsheet, one email system, one accounting package, etc.  Experienced IT staff and end users should evaluate the “best of breed” software packages to select standards.

3.  Build vs. Buy

Just a quick word about developing customized software to help run your organization – don’t.  Whenever possible, buy software that is already tried and true and comes with its own support staff.  The more customized software your organization has, the higher your maintenance and support costs will be.  There may be times you have no choice but to develop your own customized software for specific situations, but avoid it whenever possible.

4.  Customers’ Needs Come First 

And finally, remember that an IT operation is mainly a support function.  The needs of the organization’s internal and external customers come first.  I have seen many instances where IT management attempts to change operations just to have the latest new thing.

By avoiding some common mistakes, IT Departments can help minimize operations support and maintenance costs.  As a result, more IT budget dollars can be diverted to projects that can help improve organizational efficiencies and overall customer service.


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We have faced several IT agencies suffering from the maintenance costing, rather they are recovering all the things well we have also serving tax preparation Carrollton with effective and efficient, nowadays we all giving taxation services because now the season started.

Posted 10/30/2018
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