Technology is the central organ that pumps the blood through the veins of most organizations today. It’s really that simple: when I.T. fails, so does the company.
For example, in August 2015, thousands of UK residents were prevented from withdrawing cash from their HSBC bank accounts just before the holidays. As reported in the Financial Times, 275,000 payments were declined during that period. Understandably, this spurred public outrage, hurting the bank’s reputation irreversibly.
The cause of all this trouble? A mistake in the information used to process the payments. A system error.
Or take the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) incident of July 8, 2015. Due to what was reportedly a “configuration problem,” one of the world’s most active markets was offline for almost four hours, forcing the trading volume to manifest elsewhere. In a world where millions of trades are made every second, small mistakes like these can have a big impact.
However, it is only the large system errors causing millions of dollars in damages that get reported. What does not get talked about are the silent mistakes that happen even before the systems are ever online. Mistakes that companies of all sizes and shapes have to deal with every day.
It is key to understand that getting reliable, effective I.T. solutions in place is a process. Leading I.T. providers aren’t product vendors — they’re your partners in strategic I.T. management and implementation. Their job is to help you make the right I.T. decisions, implement solutions that are exactly right for your business, and prevent future failures.
Due to the sensitive nature of I.T. implementation — the solutions often run through core organizational departments and have a direct impact on how those departments work — every successful I.T. project needs to be tailored specifically to the company’s needs. More importantly, these projects need to be aligned with the company’s best management, legal, and cultural practices.
This article will take a look at a few crucial factors that lead to smooth and successful I.T. solutions. Namely, three key aspects of sound I.T. delivery will be introduced.
Strong Management and Efficiency
Implementing new I.T. solutions — or improving existing ones — almost always involves a level of disruption. New digital systems can take time for your team to get used to, and the individual nature of each I.T. project means there is always room for unplanned error.
But unwelcome surprises mean downtime. Your sales department is unable to answer the phones for three hours due to an unforeseen complication while implementing new communication lines. Your engineers are unable to complete their tasks on time since they can’t log into the new data system. All of this brings your company losses — losses that could have and should have been prevented.
The downtime isn’t always unexpected. Sometimes, installing a new solution requires the whole system to be shut down for a period. This is where strong management and planning practices prove their worth. Leading I.T. providers have tools that allow them to prevent mistakes, and playbooks for when mistakes do happen. They should even be able to put a temporary system in place to limit downtime for your customers and employees while the new system is implemented. Your company needs not to rely on a swift and smartly-implemented system upgrade.
Security and Reliability
When I.T. solutions are being implemented, more often than not this means that data, organizational know-how, and other information will need to be migrated from one location to another. It doesn’t take an I.T. specialist to understand that data is easiest to intercept when it’s being migrated, rather than when it’s securely stored behind walls of security.
The implementation process may also involve giving people who don’t normally have a place in your data control chain partial access to sensitive information. While under usual circumstances, perhaps only a handful of executives and I.T. people would be able to access your information, the I.T. service delivery process could involve people from inside and outside your company working with your most valuable assets. Anyone who is a part of the implementation — from technicians to management — is a potential risk to your company’s integrity. Simply put, the more people there are involved with handling data, the more chances are there for something to get lost, mishandled, or exposed.
Organizations are most vulnerable during the period of change. That’s why when new I.T. systems are being installed, or existing systems are being upgraded, it is crucial to protect data and process integrity by choosing I.T. partners who have thorough and clearly defined policies and procedures for protecting your company from loss while the work is being done.
Integrity with Inner Processes
If one were to describe I.T. delivery in a single word, it might be “multifaceted.” Purely due to the fact that I.T. cuts through the very essence of an organization, leading I.T. solution providers take their responsibilities as a business partner very seriously.
One of such responsibilities is minimizing the disruption within your company. I.T. providers must respect the way things have been done historically within your organization. New I.T. tools, while effective on paper, could be essentially incompatible with your team, or take a significant period of adaptation. To keep your company up and running at all times and minimize friction, new solutions must be carefully merged with what your organization is already doing.
This applies to both cultural and functional disruption. Cultural disruption means, for example, that you’re installing an upgraded digital communication infrastructure while your team finds face-to-face meetings to be the most effective way of doing things. Functional disruption is when you install a new communication tool, but your team needs the information stored in their emails to do their jobs.
I.T. solutions must also back up management practices. Databases need to reflect various levels of access. Communication tools need to facilitate the reporting hierarchy. Work delivery interfaces need to be in accordance with your company’s motivational system.
A poorly thought-through I.T. delivery process can cause more harm than good. While new systems can produce positive outcomes, problems with their implementation often cause damage before they’re ever implemented. Careful planning, strong management and security protocols, and consideration of the company’s current structure and processes are the pillars of sound and “uneventful” I.T. delivery.
JMARK Business Solutions has been helping organizations of all sizes plan, arrange, and implement technology—and technological upgrades—for thirty years. To learn more about how we can help your company make better use of I.T., contact us today. We’d love to take the time to explain to you our processes for ensuring that implementing new I.T. solutions is as painless a process as possible. Call us today at 844-44-JMARK, email [email protected], or visit the Contact Us page on this very website.