“Something’s broken. Okay, I fixed it.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of an IT break-fix cycle. But doesn’t proactive IT innovation sound like a better, more satisfying goal?
According to Digital Data Communications, tech maintenance cycles are hard to break away from. Fixing what’s broken is part of most IT manager job descriptions, after all. But focusing on fixing can not only hinder your status in the company—since many people only think about IT when something goes wrong—but it can also impact your budget. If your hands are always tied up with maintenance, leaving you little time to investigate disruptive technologies and processes, then why would business leaders want to invest in IT?
Here are some ways to break the break-fix cycle and keep life more interesting.
Keep your head in the cloud
Be proactive and stay on top of the latest trends—especially those involving the tools you’re using inside and outside of work. You should also constantly investigate new apps your company could utilize, but make sure they live in the cloud and aren’t distributed by companies trying to take desktop-first business models online. Yes, cloud computing is the most cliched phrase in IT, but it’s still vital to ensure you’re using modern software.
Instead of choosing a desktop office suite, consider adopting an online option, like Office 365 or Google Docs. Apply this practice to all your software, including accounting programs and inventory management systems. It’s easy to continue using desktop software, but it won’t add to your business’s bottom line in the long run.
Focus on the network
Everyone is obsessed with BYOD—and for good reason. Your coworkers likely own and use smartphones or other mobile tech at home, so they expect the same level of functionality, compatibility, and hardware standards at the office. An easy way to win some credit—and manage your budget—is by building a scalable, flexible network that can handle user (and device) demands. User experience is always important when it comes to tech compliance. After all, your coworkers and employees prefer hardware they’re familiar with. Finding a happy medium is necessary; otherwise, you’ll experience a shadow IT problem and won’t know it until the network is breached.
A proper mobile device management solution can make managing the workload easier and will help you plan for the future. More and more devices are joining the network every day. Planning for infrastructure overload and increasing IT complexity will enable your team to easily manage the influx of devices ahead of time, rather than after the fact.
Value the impact of IT operations
Many companies don’t focus on pursuing proactive IT initiatives until there’s a dire need to upgrade systems, but investing in this area proactively will change the course of an organization. Instead of always reacting to lagging tech issues, you can provide employees with modern operating systems that will meet their needs on an ongoing basis (you know, so they actually use them).
Even more important, make sure you have data on hand that tells anyone who asks—like the CFO—what your systems cost the company, and keep a conversation open about what applications employees want to use. When you listen to your employees and work together with finance to build a business case, you can deliver the solution your employees need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
If you really want to make sure you’re listening to employee needs and wants in your company, establish a clear line of communication of how to reach you, and provide documentation on why decisions on current tech solutions were made.
Go for proactive IT
The key to escaping the IT break-fix cycle is starting with conversation and keeping the line open with people. Take the time to discuss with the company what its needs are, what employees like to use, and assess what you can offer from there. Most of all: Listen. Often, you’ll find out employees dislike using a particular system, and you might be able to win major favour by migrating away from that solution by just hearing why they don’t like it and finding an adequate replacement.
Instead of break-fix, focus on the future. If you do, you’ll find it easier to get your hands on the budget needed for bigger migrations, and the company will see IT in a different light: as an enabler and innovation leader, instead of the place you go when something is wrong.