In order for companies to ensure they are leveraging the latest IT capabilities to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace, management needs to view IT as an investment that is aligned with the company’s business objectives. Creating an IT investment roadmap can be a valuable way to assess your current situation and identify future needs.
Here are several ways that properly designed and implemented IT systems can improve your overall organizational effectiveness.
Properly applied, IT can help organizations achieve more with less, thereby reducing operational costs. By providing workers with information management capabilities to enable them to be more productive, you can reduce the labor cost of production or service delivery.
Improved Process Efficiencies
Many organizations have created procedures to handle specific situational requirements. When viewed individually, these procedures generally do not seem like much. But when you put them all together, you often realize how time consuming and labor intensive they can be. Properly designed IT solutions can overcome organizational boundaries, resulting in more streamlined processes. This in turn allows you to break down artificial functional barriers and increase productivity levels through tightly synchronized operations among your departments.
Mundane tasks such as manual data entry can result in operator errors, leading to quality problems. IT can help overcome this issue by capturing, manipulating, and presenting information in a more systematic way, which will result in improved quality and decision-making practices.
Better Customer Service
In today’s highly competitive economy, customers have numerous choices and the commoditization of many products and services has lowered the switching cost. Customers are increasingly demanding more from their business partners. They want the products or services they need when they need them and they demand pre- and post-sales information on a 24x7 basis. Well-designed IT solutions play a key role in delivering this information, empowering customers to feel more in control of their destiny.
Greater Market Share
When a company runs a lean, efficient operation and delivers world-class quality and customer service, it will automatically attract more customers. In today’s era of benchmarks and scorecards available on the Internet, customers are savvier and more educated about their options. It is now nearly impossible to increase market share without making sure the underlying elements of operational excellence are well in place.
With the increased utilization of IT, companies face greater risks of system crashes and security breaches. However, with proper contingency planning, you can create innovative and cost effective disaster recovery and business continuity plans that can be utilized in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Recent developments in cloud-based systems have been a key enabler in this area. IT security, however, continues to be a concern for most businesses. Although there are no 100 percent secure systems, it is imperative to take reasonable precautions such as periodic security reviews to ensure systems are not highly vulnerable to security breaches.
As you continue your journey toward operational effectiveness, consider creating an IT investment roadmap. And, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Are there areas of your organization that can be improved by IT?
- Do you have instances of more than one individual handling the same information in multiple places or systems?
- Are there capabilities you currently do not have that your customers or suppliers would like to have or will expect in the very near future?
- Are your IT systems highly reliable and secure?
You may also like: