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New Year's Resolutions for IT Professionals and Systems Owners

It's that time of the year again - (almost) everyone is busy creating personal resolutions for 2018. But resolutions are important for organizations as well.

Whether you believe in the concept of "resolutions" or not, making a list of actionable goals will help you and your organization thrive in 2018.

If you're an Information Technology (IT) professional or manage systems that support your organization's business processes, here are a few “resolutions” to consider for 2018:

Recognize the Evolving Role of IT

The profile of the IT professional, especially when dealing with business applications, has changed. More software is moving to the cloud, where vendors take primary responsibility for maintenance and optimization. This means the programming, network tuning, and database administration experience so vital in previous years is no longer core to IT’s role.

To stay relevant, 2018 is the year that IT professionals must learn, understand, and speak “business.” As one IT manager who recently shifted to the cloud put it, “IT is at its most valuable and most strategic when working with the business to improve processes, reduce costs, and generate more productivity through digital transformation efforts and fully realizing the benefits of key applications."

If IT can make this shift, they will be empowered more than ever to push innovation forward and drive value in partnership with the business.

Embrace the Cloud

Are your software systems still on-premises or worst, on “so-called” cloud solutions? If you answered yes , 2018 is definitely the year to fully embrace pure multi-tenant cloud solutions for all the value they provide.

Not convinced cloud is the way to go? Click here for an expert’s guide to the differences between the major software delivery models.

Review Your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Per System

You may discover that you are overpaying for a system without real justification for the cost. Here are a few reflective questions to consider:

  • Are you paying annual maintenance fees? Annual maintenance fees are relics of the pre-cloud solutions era. Today there are many alternatives with no maintenance fees. Why should you pay 15-25% of your overall system costs in fees every year? More importantly, do you really know what you're getting in return and is the cost justified?
  • Are you managing hardware, software, databases and other system components? If you answered yes you're probably still using an "on-premise" solution. These solutions are costly because the onus is on the customer (IT, Business) to carry all of the maintenance and upkeep costs (upgrades, down-times for maintenance, versions updates and more). Cloud solutions shift this responsibility from the customer to the vendor, which yields significant cost and time savings. Cloud vendors more frequently update their infrastructure, which in turn benefits the customer. For more information on assessing TCO, check out this recent blog post.

User Experience

Are your system users happy with the ease of use of the tools they work with on a day to day basis? Many systems become antiquated very quickly or the vendor has not invested in updating the interface to meet modern standards. Productivity, user adoption, training and more can be costly and directly associated with poor or outdated system interfaces.

Don't compromise on the user experience, give your users systems that are intuitive and easy-to-use and see adoption skyrocket.

Security and Scalability

This is the biggest area of confusion for software buyers and always a top goal for any organization. Companies should never settle on security.

Beyond the security reviews and audits you should already be doing, take the time to understand how your software vendor tackles and manages security. Further explore this important topic here.

Integration

Are you managing software that can't "talk" with other software in your IT landscape? Or is it a costly and complex exercise to setup integrations and maintain them?

It doesn’t have to be. Look for software with built-in integration tools or connectors that can easily interact with your other software without you having to extend significant resources.

This year, consider whether you have point solutions that are acting as "islands" in your organization and cannot scale to cover more business processes. Look for opportunities to get the most bang for the buck out of your software. It’s all about flexibility.

Mobility

Living in the mobile age, we expect to be able to access our business tools from anywhere, anytime. Solutions that cannot support mobile requirements should no longer be considered and should be replaced.

It's not easy to meet goals - if it were, we wouldn’t have to declare them. But even if you partially manage to advance in the areas the above, you are likely to see cost savings, efficiencies and a generally more satisfied user community.

I encourage you to keep your list of “resolutions” handy so you can look at them throughout the year. And as soon as you turn them into a list of action items, assign them to yourself or your team.

Happy New Year!