IT departments in all sectors are under a lot of pressure to use resources more efficiently, and that’s especially true in education. According to the 2019 Campus Computing Survey, two-thirds of college and university IT departments say their funding hasn’t fully recovered from the budget cuts experienced during the 2008 recession.
This underscores the need to use IT resources as cost-effectively as possible. Here are three ways that organizations in all sectors can do this.
In most organizations, IT service requests are managed with one software platform and projects are managed with another. Bringing IT service management and project portfolio management together within a single, unified platform can improve IT efficiency in many ways.
When resources are limited, IT employees often wear several hats. Few organizations have the luxury of maintaining separate staff for project work and fulfilling service requests. If employees have to use separate systems for keeping track of projects and service tickets, it’s hard to know which tasks they’re responsible for at any given time — and navigating between multiple systems and updating each one individually can be cumbersome. As a result, employees spend too much time on administration instead of their core responsibilities.
Having a single platform benefits IT leaders as well as employees. Managing IT incidents and projects in one location gives leaders an easy way to see the impact of both project and support tasks on IT resources. This helps leaders plan more effectively, enabling more efficient delivery of technology services.
Many IT departments end up answering the same questions over and over again. This is very time-consuming, and it’s a waste of staff labor. Having users consult a self-service portal before contacting IT with their questions can reduce the number of inbound service requests by up to 70 percent, our internal data suggests.
Creating a self-service portal requires building a knowledge base of IT support articles. While this requires an up-front investment of time, it can pay off tremendously down the road.
Here’s how this works: Every time you have an incident, you document what the problem was, what the person was doing when the problem occurred, what technology they were using, and how you resolved the problem. Then, you post this information online, so the next time somebody has that same problem, they can find the solution for themselves. We’ve seen organizations go from a handful of articles to thousands in just three or four months.
About 80 percent of unplanned downtime is accidentally caused by IT staff themselves, according to research from the IT Process Institute. For instance, a technician might be trying to update a switch, but it accidentally brings the entire network down. The problem resolution that ensues consumes valuable IT time, and it might have been avoided through better change management.
Improving change management involves developing an effective process for thinking through the potential impact of making an IT change, then deciding on a course of action that will cause the least amount of disruption. Effective change management can help prevent unforeseen complications, so your IT team spends less time resolving issues.
By adopting these three key strategies, your IT department can deploy staff time and budgets more judiciously, leading to more effective use of IT resources.