So much of business these days is connected to technology that at this point, it’s almost better to ask, “What isn’t IT management?”
Employees access your company network via your organization’s computers. Customers find your business’s information on your website. Clients, potential new hires, and visitors to the office need guest access to the internet. Hackers and cyber criminals must be kept at bay. The printer is, as always, jammed.
The people who deal with these issues are programmers, developers, engineers, technicians, systems analysts, support specialists, project managers, and designers.
And what pulls all of this equipment, these processes, and these various types of employees together?
IT management, that’s what.
You might think that because you have an IT department—or, if you’re a smaller business, one IT person—that your organization’s IT management is taken care of.
But IT management is more than just hiring someone to take care of all things IT.
So what is IT management, really?
The simple answer is that IT management is managing anything related to IT or tech at your organization.
The more complicated (and better) answer, is that IT management has several components, all of which relate to aligning IT objectives with business objectives in a way that creates the most value for your company.
Below, we’ll discuss the three components of IT management.
1. IT strategy
The first component of IT management is the most important because it involves connecting your IT department with your business’s needs.
Having an IT strategy means, at its core, having a plan to deal with both good and bad scenarios as they relate to IT.
This is what your IT team should say all the time
For example, if your company expands and hires more employees, your IT department needs to figure out how to manage increased activity on your network. Or if your company is the target of a cyber attack, tech will need directives for recovering lost or compromised information.
An effective IT strategy should do the following:
- Support business operations by considering your organization’s overall goals and making sure your IT department can support and further those goals. That also means considering the business aspects of your IT department such as creating a workable budget and communicating with leaders in other departments to get a holistic view of your organization’s needs.
- Secure your company’s and your customers’ information by developing a plan to protect it and staying up to date on the latest security strategies.
- Provide value to the company by delivering reliable IT service and creating a framework for the IT department’s own plans for improvement as your organization grows and develops.
2. IT service
Providing value through quality IT service isn’t as simple as promising that your tech team will do a good job. It means creating service goals and standards and doing everything you can to make sure your team lives up to them.
Defend your Wall, your Firewall, whatever it takes to deliver great service
Delivering top-notch IT service involves a two-pronged view of the people consuming those services:
- Customers need to know their data won’t be compromised by faulty security systems. But on a more day-to-day level, they need access to your company’s website. Clients visiting your office might need access to your internet connection. And they need a system where they can report any tech-related issues they might encounter.
- Employees need reliable access to an internet connection and internal data. Connections need to be secure, and your employees—especially those outside of the IT department—need to be educated about responsible network access. When something goes wrong, they also need a place to report tech issues so they’re fixed ASAP.
3. IT assets
Finally, you need to manage all of the assets employees use to get their work done. That means managing not only who gets which laptop but also when and how your systems are updated.
Keep track of your stuff so you don’t have to resort to threats
IT assets include:
- Hardware. This is what you typically think of when discussing assets. Managing hardware includes keeping track of who uses which assets, tracking wear and tear, and ordering new equipment if and when you need it.
- Software. Don’t forget that software is also an IT asset. Who uses which systems? When do your licenses expire? Do you need to connect one or more solutions? Is your tech team responsible for fixing a buggy proprietary system? You should be able to answer all of these questions if you’re properly managing your assets.
So how can IT management help your business?
As we’ve discussed, the whole point of IT management is to align tech and business goals, thereby creating value through the best, most efficient use of your organization’s technology assets.
Basically, if you don’t have an IT management strategy in place, you’re probably actually harming your business.
As I’ve already mentioned, pretty much everything in your business is connected to technology in some way. Not having a plan for how you manage that technology is like not putting gas in your car. It’s just not going to run.
Just think about it: How do your employees get work done? Typically by using a company-provided device, accessing the internet via their business’s network. And how do your customers find your information or order your products and services? Via your website.
But if common sense isn’t enough to go on, let’s get into two concrete ways IT management can improve your company.
1. It can save you money
Creating an overall IT strategy forces your IT department to prioritize goals and issues that are important to your business as a whole. That means that you’ll have a better idea of which IT projects need or deserve more funding or support, so you can allocate more of your budget to those efforts.
You won’t have to borrow money, either, if you prioritize IT management
Providing quality IT service means your employees are less likely to lose time or money due to tech issues such as a downed network. Your customers will become repeat customers because they had a great experience with your eCommerce site. You’re doing everything you can to protect company and customer data so you can avoid the financial toll of a cyber attack.
Managing all your IT assets efficiently means you’re putting all your hardware to good use, avoiding equipment purchases you don’t actually need. It means you can easily ensure that all of your software is up to date, which also helps your company avoid expensive cyber attacks. Basically, it means you’re using everything to its full potential, wasting as little as possible.
2. It can save you time
If everything goes well for your organization, it will expand. You’ll add more employees to your payroll, more clients to your Rolodex, and more money to your budget.
And while that’s great for your business, it will create problems for your tech team. As your company grows, your tech environment will grow more complicated. You’ll need to monitor more devices on your network, add requested features to your site to improve the user experience, and become doubly vigilant in protecting your growing cache of data.
By creating a plan for everything involving IT, your team won’t have to scramble at the last minute to deal with tech-related issues that arise. They can take a measured, efficient approach to solving problems because they’ve spent time thinking about how to deal with them beforehand.
For example, you know your employees will experience some tech issues. So your tech team decides to invest in a help desk solution where employees can submit tickets to them directly, as soon as problems occur. While it might take some time to test and implement that help desk, it ensures that small tech problems won’t become big ones and helps to avoid catastrophic events that require more effort to repair.
Your tech team can avoid these types of situations if they follow your IT management strategies
Plus, planning for problems beforehand means you’ll have best practices in place. That means your team can use proven, reliable solutions to repair issues. And that means they won’t be creating future problems by resorting to quick fixes and buggy methods.
And saving time on complicated IT projects and repairs goes hand in hand with the first benefit we discussed: it also saves you money.
Need more resources on IT management?
Although I’ve tried my best to outline the meaning and benefits of IT management, I understand that it’s a hard process to get right. With the rapid evolution of technology, your tech team manages more complicated processes each day.
Capterra’s IT management blog is dedicated to discussing the issues your IT department tackles every day. You can check out our articles to get answers to some of your more specific questions about IT issues and strategy.
And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on our site, I’ve put together an extensive list of IT resources that are helpful and informative.
In the meantime, what does effective IT management mean to you and your company? Do you have any tips and tricks for other readers? What does your department do that helps it run efficiently? Let me know in the comments below!