Companies often find themselves in positions where they have to increase their IT department productivity. With “more for less” being an increasingly common expectation in today’s market, more is at stake when it comes to staying productive.
But just because productivity is top of mind does not mean that your current business strategy is supporting the productivity of your IT department. In fact, you may not even know how to measure that productivity. IT department productivity is essential to the development and growth of your business. Keep reading to learn how to understand IT productivity measures and what may be keeping your team from reaching its true potential.
Defining & Measuring IT Productivity
Finding the pulse of IT productivity can be like shooting in the dark. A few techniques have been posited and tested over the years though none truly manages to capture the whole picture with one single measurement. Some of the different techniques that have bee explored include:
- Measuring software development using function points, as delivered per person
- Calculating support desktops per system administrator
- Calculating servers per system administrator.
While all of these can give valuable insight into productivity, no single measurement serves to adequately answer the question as to whether an IT department is getting more, or less, productive over time.
Instead, companies are more likely to be able to measure the true productivity and value of an IT department by assessing how the department is contributing to overall costs. IT projects can and should be focused on leveraging new technologies to streamline current processes, which means that even where IT costs may increase for a time, during that same span, overall company operations costs should decrease as a result of IT innovation.
IT Productivity Patterns
The best way to view IT productivity would be considering the patterns of your business. Such things to consider may be how the department can:
- Support and deliver infrastructure and applications.
- Align its resources to the business.
- Focus activities on growing business.
- Maintain a staff that is aware of the business economics.
- Provide clear evidence of their contribution to big-picture business goals.
Barriers to IT Department Productivity
Of course, the ultimate goal is to both measure and increase your IT team’s productivity over time. As with any business efficiency challenge, there can be many stumbling blocks that keep an IT department from reaching its full productivity potential.
Lack of Communication
Communication is important in every single business. Some small business owners can be hesitant in the face of the challenge of communicating with an IT department, particularly when they feel as though they do not speak the same language as their IT team. However, without clear productivity goals, your IT department will never be able to excel. That means having regular meetings with the department to discuss how IT projects are moving the business forward and where improvement may be necessary. Without regular communication, the department will likely languish at the status quo.
Lack of Resources
When your IT department begins to align fully with larger goals of your business, they can quickly add more and more tasks to their plates in an effort to help the business succeed while also providing their normal support. A lack of adequate staff, hardware, or software, can mean a downturn in productivity. While more staff is not always an option, there may come a time where outsourcing or hiring contract teams for larger projects may be required to reach your business goals.
Stagnation of Training
The nature of technology is such that it is always changing, with best practices often shifting at a moment’s notice. If your department is not adequately trained — both at the beginning of their employment and throughout their tenure with the department — productivity can suffer because your staff is unable to keep up with changing needs.
These are only a small fraction of the reasons that your IT department could be experiencing a slump in productivity. However, if you have a hunch that the department is overworked or underperforming, it may be time to invest in technology that can alleviate some of the pressure, such as a VoIP phone system. Learn more when you download our free eBook below.