balancing It activitiesBalancing IT Activities

In IT, we all know that a certain amount of resources must be assigned for upgrades, updates, patches and scheduled maintenance. In general, this is known as ‘keeping the lights on’. The mistake some IT departments make is that they spend most or all of their time within this activity, and do not try balancing IT activities.

Assuming your change management and technical procedures are appropriate for this activity, you may be known for providing a reliable IT function, but not much else.

Is this the only function of IT or do you have a deeper purpose to help the organization innovate and grow?

You may want to consider a strategy that allows you do all of the above.

The following is a summary of the top mistakes IT leaders make in this area:

  1. IT for the sake of Technology
    Your database vendor has just came out with an upgrade that promises great things on the technical side. The current version is still supported for a few years. Your Database Administrators are pushing you to do this upgrade.An analysis shows that although it will take IT weeks and multiple resources to do the upgrade, there is no real and immediate benefit to the business. Some of the resources required for this project could be used on an application upgrade that your Finance department urgently requires, an upgrade that would save the organization thousands of dollars.Many IT leaders still choose the database upgrade, preventing the business as a whole from benefiting. Learning to balance IT activities is a key factor in your success.
  2. Siding with one particular Department
    In many cases, IT will ‘side’ with one particular department, and assign a large part of their resources to it. This could be because they have the most money, or the IT leader has a personal relationship with the department leader, or perhaps that department holds considerable sway within the organization.This strategy could very well lead to the alienation of IT from the rest of the organization, and is yet another reason why IT resources should be governed by the whole organization, and not just the IT leader.
  3. Turning down requests due to lack of resources
    Departments are always making requests to IT and many of them are rejected. This develops a perception within the organization that IT always says “No!”, and your reputation may be adversely affected. What is not often clear are the benefits of accepting and delivering on these requests.Prioritizing requests and assigning resources should be done based on benefits to the whole organization. If you do not have the resources to fulfill a request, explain to the leaders of the organization that if the request is so important that it must be done, then other projects will suffer. Ask them what they would like to put on hold so this request can be completed. Alternatively, propose bringing in temporary resources to complete it.
  4. Not balancing resources and effort
    Spending too much time keeping the lights on or putting too many resources on innovation can be equally harmful. To balance IT activities, there is no single formula for every organization, so you need to analyze your particular organization’s requirements and come up with a balance that allows you to maintain IT services yet help the organization as a whole to grow.

Would you like to learn more about effectively balancing your IT activities?

Give us a call and we can show you how IT can provide more value to your organization.

In my next blog in this series, I will discuss the consumerization of IT and how to avoid the mistakes made by others.