In our three-part blog series on delivering IT service excellence, we consider how to choose the right technology for your business.
Today’s IT leaders wear many hats and have raft of responsibilities. Not least is navigating how to choose the right technology for your business. With multiple departments, user needs and processes to consider, this is no mean feat.
So, what do you, as an IT leader, need to consider ahead of making decisions on technology that could affect, not just a number of teams or people, but the business as a whole?
Map what your business needs…
Having a clear view of the technologies your business needs may be an obvious starting point, but it’s one that begins the planning process with clarity.
This is where liaising with your businesses’ heads of department and managers is crucial to gain an idea of their current technologies, where they do and don’t work, who uses them and any new options they may want to preview.
…and what it doesn’t
With automation, data, artificial intelligence and machine learning giving enterprise technology more functionality than ever, IT decision-makers have never had so many options. But when choices need to be made to strict deadlines and budgets, the line between choice and overwhelm gets thinner.
This is where shutting out the noise is important and starting with elimination could be the best option. Beginning by considering which technologies your business doesn’t need can be more effective than starting with a long list of possibles.
Consider the skills you’ll need
You will likely rely on a group of people or super users to keep your apps or technologies running, adopted and populated with data and content. However, you’ll hit a wall quickly if they don’t receive the training they need or are not confident in showing others how to use it.
Solicit feedback as you go to ensure training sessions have left users feeling empowered and able to ask questions.
An oversight many businesses make is ending training once a new technology is implemented. Most projects will need ongoing user support to cover the early days and inevitable teething problems.
Keep users at the heart of your decisions
It’s an issue known to topple even the best-laid plans – if your users struggle with a new technology, adoption will be low. It could be something as simple as an interface that doesn’t work well on your business devices, or cumbersome processes that eat up users’ time.
They key to preventing this from happening is to choose technologies with user needs as priority. Strategically timed testing, consultation and communication should also be factored into your planning from the outset.
For large-scale projects, such as designing a new intranet, user research and persona mapping can help you deep dive into their needs and choose options that are more likely to work well before roll-out.
Get the most from your existing licenses
Before you book demos of brand-new tools, it’s worth checking those lesser-visited pockets of your existing subscriptions for unused software or benefits.
For example, you may have a Microsoft 365 license which you primarily use to deploy Teams as a company-wide collaboration tool. But you may be looking to implement or switch to new intranet or knowledge management software.
Rather than go in cold, seek advice from experts or your managed services provider and let them do the legwork. Cutting corners in the right way, they can advise on opportunities to make both time and cost savings.
The same applies to upgrades of your existing packages. If, following a demo, you can only see a minimal number of benefits a subscription upgrade might bring, don’t hesitate to admit “this is not for us at this time”. Perhaps the next wave of improvements will bring functionality worth waiting for.
Just the ticket
When it comes to delivering IT service excellence, a robust and fit-for-purpose ticketing system is the most important tool in an IT leader’s kit.
Your ticketing system should do the following:
Automate your workflows – Generating alerts and reminders for users to act, your ticketing system should divert issues to those qualified to manage them, speed up processes and reduce human error
Come with multiple capabilities as standard – Reducing the need to spend on added functionality
Integrate with multiple channels – Offering users a variety of communication avenues
Be customisable and personalised – Adding to user experience, it should echo the layout and appearance of your businesses’ online hubs and retain data from previous tickets opened by the user
Ticketing processes can be automated and managed effectively with suitable software or apps. Examples include the ever-growing platform-as-a-service solution ServiceNow, Freshservice by Freshworks and Microsoft’s System Centre Service Manager.
The appeal of low-code application platforms lies in deployment speed, integration with existing systems and processes, inbuilt and responsive security as standard and their potential to offer users the independent self-service style systems they increasingly expect.
Find a managed services provider on your wavelength
When selecting a managed service provider to oversee your service desk and IT ticketing system, ensure their models are aligned with your own, along with that of any software you adopt.
They should operate and be fully versed in cloud-based systems and ticketing portals and apps as standard. In addition, they should be in tune with both your IT and business strategy, factoring in your goals and business priorities when delivering their services.