Agility, efficiency, positive customer experience. These are some of the slogans for companies that want to survive in the digital age. These goals can only be achieved if organizations pay attention to the importance of IT.
It does not stop there. Other needs come as a result of aggressive competition and increasingly demanding customers: cost reduction, intelligent allocation of resources, rationalization of processes, increased productivity of teams, reduced customer response time.
The list is extensive and is not exhaustive! Every day new demands appear and companies need to reinvent themselves to offer what the market demands. Everything dictated by the digital rhythm, everything totally dependent on IT, all aimed at technological innovations as well as logistics.
In this scenario, the leaders are Cloud Computing, the sharing of resources in IT outsourcing models, mobility and collaborative action. In this post, we will understand a little more about the importance of technology to the contemporary business environment.
The impacts of IT on online processes
In a world increasingly focused on the digital mindset, IT plays a key role: to enable a profound change in standards, methods and tools of work.
To meet the new context, companies have had to adapt their processes, making them more agile, with automated flows and seamless communication between departments and with customers and suppliers.
The fulfillment of these needs, in great part, is given through IT. It is present in many aspects of business, bringing productivity and more efficiency to businesses. Solutions range from database management, messaging, customer contact, internal communication and corporate Telecommunication to management information generation and process management.
Another important point is the materialization of the benefits of the information age for the business. With Business Intelligence and Big Data solutions, for example, companies have a true map of the mine at their fingertips. Large volumes of data are collected in real time and transformed into analyzes that support strategic decisions.
With all this framework of possibilities, the result has been the availability of products and services aligned with the reality and the customer's needs. Much of what is now put on the market, in all niches, has already been "modeled" so that the point of contact with the customer and the means of doing business is a digital platform.
That is, IT is the basis for business metamorphosis that brings an irreversible digitizing trend, just as the current customer profile expects, prefers and consumes.
A classic case of the presence of IT is the robustness that is seen today in CRM systems. As they are fed at all times with customer interactions in social networks or in the relationship channels with the company, appropriate offerings can be targeted to the right customer at the right time.
In addition, when the company has a real sense of customer pain, perceived in its manifestations and "traces" left in digital environments, it is easier to adapt its products and services as well as its internal processes, so that they subsidize deliveries adhering to the expectations of each Client Type.
Another case that is increasingly common in companies is the adoption of integrated management software, which allows the use of digital platforms for process control, unification of databases and conduction of day to day activities.
These solutions serve multiple departments simultaneously, from sales, inventory, accounting, financial, logistics, customer relationship, legal and people management.
In many cases, the tool is available in the cloud and is accessed remotely by professionals from various sectors of the company, through user authentication and availability of features according to predefined access control.
1. How are internal processes in the digital age
Speaking of internal processes, perhaps the greatest impact of IT is there. It reduces waste, eliminates bottlenecks and shadowing, simplifies flows, reduces faults, shortens customer response time, unifies databases, gives transparency to internal and external communication, enables better resource allocation while still reducing costs.
Solutions that contribute to this new reality are corporate telephony, cloud storage, infrastructure sharing, dedicated or virtualized servers, high-speed data links, multifunctional corporate email.
In this scenario, other trends are gaining ground, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) - which represents the connection between people / companies and devices - and Bring your own Device (ByoD), which provides for the use of personal technological equipment in corporate environments.
All this is just a synthesis of the new business reality, immersed in the benefits of IT. All this is just a show of what technology is capable of doing. All this is just a "let" to say: the world is already digital and companies that do not prepare for this condition are doomed to failure.
2. IT planning in an organization
Providing a company with inputs and tools to support business management, in recent times, is a responsibility that has fallen on IT. It is from her that managerial information is expected for decision-making. It is from this that technological solutions - software and hardware - will come to provide processes of all kinds.
This is directly related to the notion that, today, IT is no longer a cost center, but something that sustains the business. Going further, it is already common to hear the expression "IT is the business", independent of the branch of activity of the company.
To be able to meet such a significant demand, it is not enough to be attentive to global strategic planning. You have to draw up your own IT plan, with one eye on the business need and the other on corporate technology.
From this evolution of the business vision, the consolidation of a document commonly called Strategic IT Planning (PETI) took place. In it, goals are set for achievements of the company's technology. The difference is that they are not goals with ends in themselves, they are goals mirrored in strategic targets of the company.
For example, if a company in the financial sector defines a medium-term purpose to transform its business model into a digital one, IT should plan actions to support this "key turnaround".
This is a good case to confirm the assertion that, at present, IT is the business itself. Note that the example was an economic sector company, but without the technology it would not achieve the vision of the future to become a digital enterprise.
But IT planning is not just about developing solutions to support corporate activities. It should also include the capacity and availability of the technological resources necessary for business continuity.
At that point, some outsourcing solutions have been gaining ground. The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) modalities, for example, are increasingly used for operational processes and for the management of client companies. In this model, both intelligences and infra are shared in the cloud and the contracting company only pays for what it used.
With this logic, companies no longer need to direct investments to acquire high-performance equipment: they can use the technology park that suppliers offer in the cloud. Customers also no longer need to maintain development teams or hire software factories: they can pay for ready-made and customizable solution packages where specific modules are aggregated according to the customer's business needs.
All of these variables need to be thought out in advance so that the business is never impacted by the inadequacy of IT responses. That is why a specific planning is essential, since it translates into actions, deadlines, responsibilities and resources everything that is necessary to enable the corporate strategy.
3. The role of the IT manager
If the relevance of IT planning was clear, it is worth emphasizing that without the IT manager everything can be put to waste.
This is because more than a formal and static document, IT and business need dynamism, from a look at constant change, to changing customer expectations, to new market patterns.
In reality, this role belongs to everyone within an organization. But the IT manager has a primary role, since it is incumbent on him to propose methods and tools to support the company's operational and management processes.
In addition, it assumes the responsibility of understanding the needs of the business areas - product and service managers, people and operational processes - and making them intelligible to the IT technical area. And the converse too: he is able to facilitate the interpretation of the "technic" by the other areas.
In practice, the IT manager has the following scope of functions:
It implements good practices of technological governance;
Manages the physical and logical infrastructure that supports the business;
Defines rules of availability and use of systems;
Manages IT teams, implementing agile methods and control of deliveries;
He acts in the management of IT services, usually within some market framework, such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Control Objectives for Information Technology related (Cobit) or others.
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The IT manager needs not only to be able to organize processes and demands, but also to mobilize people for results.
For this, it is important to communicate with transparency, and especially with objectivity. It is thus easier to influence people, articulate resources, and develop ideas favorable to the organization.
Clarity of business
Only if one manages well what one knows very well. Thus, the IT manager must thoroughly know the business of the company. This will allow a more effective contribution to the indication of solutions or prospection of innovative tools in the market.
One way to master the reality of the business is to insert yourself in the entire production chain, to collect the areas' needs and to be attentive to each feedback received.
It has already been said that the manager goes beyond the old assignment of making the operation work.
Today the IT manager assumes a strategic role and needs to master methodologies to manage information so that it becomes an input for decision making in the business.
Trends and opportunities must always be on the IT manager's radar. It is up to him to identify new ways to add value to the business as a whole.
Emerging technologies emerge all the time and being open to receiving them as a source of solutions to the problems faced in the day to day is a very positive attitude.
Posted on May 14, 2018 at 03:35 PM