Your company’s IT capabilities have a profound effect on the goals and successes of all your business units, as well as the organization as a whole. Technology can streamline, optimize, and automate business processes like never before, and missing out can trap you with bulky, inefficient processes rife with miscommunication and added costs. Perhaps even more impactful, you may miss opportunities to transform your business and significantly differentiate products or services compared to your competition.
As you develop your IT strategy and determine how it fits with your business goals, here are some points to keep in mind when deciding how best to use technology within specific departments:
Sales & Marketing
There are many different ways to supercharge your sales and marketing team, but the right technology enhancements for you will depend on how your team generates and follows through with leads. There are numerous tools out there that all fill a certain niche method of sales and marketing: account-based marketing, pipeline management, sales lead outreach, behavior-based marketing automation, relationship management, and many more. The main challenge here is not in discovering new tools, but determining which tool is the best one to empower your sales and marketing team to meet their goals and set new ones. This is where IT expertise, whether it comes from within or outside of your organization, is crucial.
HR’s main responsibilities can be divided into two main categories: hiring, and people development. Both are equally important for your organization’s success, but one of them is often very inefficient. Regardless of the position, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding tends to include many of the same tasks that must be done for every single recruit or new hire (resume processing, background checks, company orientation, benefits enrollment, etc.). Automating these processes will allow HR to focus more effort on selecting and vetting candidates, as well as on people development to retain top talent and guide their professional development.
However, due to the personal nature of the information collected during the hiring process, security must be at the forefront when considering any automated HR solution. This means that IT must be heavily involved with selection and implementation to ensure that any automated solution is secure and that it complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
Efficiencies in accounting are most easily implemented through the automation of low-value transactions. These are transactions or processes that may be required, but do not deliver any extra value to your business. Automating these type of transactions will enable your accounting team to focus on more important tasks that more directly help the company grow and achieve goals (such as payroll and budgeting or forecasting). Automation in accounting is best achieved through a partnership of an IT “champion” within accounting who understands the day-to-day operations and requirements, and a business advocate who can tie those processes to overarching strategic goals and drive the approvals and changes needed to bring automation to accounting.
Your IT team may seem like the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to implementing efficient and automated technologies, but this is not the only way that IT can provide value for the rest of your business. Core IT services such as maintaining infrastructure and managing users are essential to day-to-day operations, and must be treated as such. This means developing service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure critical uptime, incorporate accountability, and assign key responsibilities to your team. SLAs need to be reported in a meaningful way that demonstrates how adhering to them provides value for the business and customers, as well as how any SLA failures will be mitigated.
Aside from how important IT is to your company’s success, hopefully you now also understand that there is no right-size-fits-all IT strategy for every company, or even every department. The right IT tools for the right teams within your organization will empower them to do more with less to achieve your business goals, and your IT strategy must reflect this. Whether your IT team can locate and implement the best applications and systems for your organization’s departments or you need outside help to sift through all the options to determine the optimal solution for you, your IT strategy should be a top priority to achieve your business goals and set up your team for success.