Keeping IT Simple
Do more with less is a phrase with which most workplaces are all too familiar. Restructured budgets and staffing have limited the resources available to maintain IT environments. However, simply finding a way to use technology more efficiently could be a way for businesses to move forward with new constraints.
Here are a few ways to identify and simplify what has become the backbone of business operations’ IT:
Migrate away from the way things have always been done to help find and eliminate sluggish processes. Start with input from younger employees and new hires — a fresh pair of eyes can reveal new ideas and perspectives on outdated procedures. Have them regularly review computer and network policies as well as record retention to increase efficiency.
If possible, evaluate comprehensive software packages that may consolidate multi-application usage down to a single interface. This review can eliminate double entry or duplicated work.
Document management is another area that drags down productivity. Help workers find documents quicker by setting a policy to sort all documents in network shares alphabetically. Review these same shares with departments and purge unneeded documents to lighten the load on file servers.
Due to such limited budgets, companies may find using third-party services to be cost effective as well as great time savers. Lifting obligations off a few key areas can relieve some common headaches, such as business continuity planning, cloud and website payment systems.
In addition, hosting business websites by a third-party can allow for your website and server to remain up and running nearly all of the time. For some companies that rely heavily on website sales, this third-party host can mean all the difference between a zero-dollar day and a multi-million-dollar day of online sales.
Orientation & Documentation
Training to be more efficient and effective at a job is important, but orientation for new hires is a whole different story. Software and systems evolve to include faster, more complex and functional networks as well as front-end business applications. This rapid and continued metamorphosis requires employee training that is ongoing throughout their tenure. The most important aspect of the orientation process will be documentation that is step-by-step and concise. Best practices should be followed, as well as taught and documented. Detailed procedures will back the new knowledge and guarantee their ability to repeat any processes at a later date.
Some of the easiest updates can keep systems running smoothly, preventing future big expenditures. Here is a quick checklist:
- Routine updates and patching
- Monitoring common security breach points.
- Regular checks for firewall changes and anti-virus, spyware or malware updates
- Overloaded network traffic
- Verify data backups routinely for integrity
- Utilize built-in technologies that can be scheduled for routine after-hour execution to check for overall system speed and status updates.
The most simplistic approach can keep IT within the constraints of your current business practices and systems. What have you done to simplify IT and do more with less?