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How to Elevate your IT Department from a Cost Center to a Growth Engine

June 21, 2022

Julian Sutter

Julian’s main role is to create space for the talented DeepNet team and be a coach so they can unleash their full knowledge and skills. When he was a child, his father would bring home old electronic equipment salvaged from thrift stores for him to “take apart”. Very quickly this morphed into a love of technology and the capability it unlocks for humans to seek more fulfilling existance for themselves. Outside of work, Julian enjoys skiing, ultralight backpacking, rock climbing, and building things of all sorts.

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IT is a fast track to revenue growth. Yet companies continue to allow IT costs to increase over time while failing to deliver business value.  How can leaders make that shift from IT as a cost center to IT as a growth engine? It’s an inside job that reaps huge rewards. 

 

Assess the company’s mindset toward IT. 

 

What’s your relationship with your IT department? How do you and your employees interact with it?  

 

Companies often think of calling IT the same way they think of calling 911—or worse, the municipal nuisance line: “I need something right now.” “Can you fix this problem?” “My desktop/network/email is malfunctioning, and I need to get my work done.” 

 

So often, the focus is simply on minimizing the hassle of technology. 

 

But as leaders in high tech and SaaS know, technology should be treated like the competitive advantage it is—including IT. 

 

It’s like what they say about the brain—on a good day, we only use 10% of it. Organizations use IT in a very limited way—just to keep things flowing uninterrupted. This is a crucially important function, but it’s only 10% of what your IT provider or department can deliver.  

 

Use IT to enable automation and enhanced productivity. 

 

Automation is technology’s raison d’etre—its main function. It helps us scale tasks at a pace humans could never do otherwise.  

 

This is especially relevant now in a remote work world. We’ve been working with distributed teams for more than two decades and what we know is that companies with a largely offsite workforce can absolutely have a cohesive culture, streamlined workflow and increased productivity. Here are a few ways to level up your environment with IT: 

 

Streamline aggressive growth. When your company is in a growth phase, and you are onboarding new franchisees, opening multiple branches, or bringing on new employees rapidly, the last thing you need are IT hiccups. You lose money when there are delays of any kind in the onboarding process. You need a well-designed workflow and network that securely and seamlessly incorporates new users and infrastructure. 

 

Harmonize communication. You need a precisely curated stack of apps and platforms geared toward productivity, harmony and usefulness. Funnel all communications, deliverables and deadlines through these tools in a consistent way and have an expert on hand to quickly answer questions or point to the best way to integrate or troubleshoot. 

 

Grow leaders. IT can help your company build its bench. Gone are the days when leaders need to travel for courses and professional development opportunities. Upskilling in the cloud can be easily coordinated, tracked and tied to promotions and greater responsibilities. In-person networking can never be replaced, yet online relationship building is productive, streamlined and the preference of many. IT can be instrumental in building and maintaining online communities where the latest innovations and thought leadership is being incubated. 

 

Building your company’s brand. IT has more to do with your brand than you think. Customers, prospects and other stakeholders want a reliable and on-brand experience when they interact with a business. Technology glitches that affect customer and user experience negatively can have a huge impact on your brand, driving down conversions and loyalty. Just as you want every person in your organization to reflect your values, company culture and outlook, every technology touchpoint should do the same. 

 

Use IT reporting to increase performance and grow revenue. 

 

Once your company is using IT to streamline and improve productivity, automating and customer experiences, you want hard proof of those process improvements and their results. 

 

IT reporting can shed light on the specific value your IT department generates across the enterprise and its integrated applications, platforms and devices. Reporting metrics such as number of incidents resolved within goal time, number of problems permanently solved, and service utilization by department will give you hard data about IT’s contribution to revenue generation.  

 

There are several IT reporting tools that create actionable data company that leaders can use to allocate resources to departments and adjunct teams that are instrumental in growing the business.  

 

You might be surprised to learn just how important IT is to your company’s bottom line. 

 

 

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