“Do More With Less” Takes on New Meaning in IT

In this economic environment, if you proclaim that most IT managers are striving to “do more with less” this year, you will be met with a resounding, “Duh,” and probably a groan. The phrase has become just another cliché.

A survey by Axios Systems revealed that, indeed, improving processes is a top priority for firms in 2009. But rather than reiterating yet another byproduct of the recession, IT professionals can consider the phrase a jump-start of inspiration toward better aligning with their firms’ business objectives.

The Axios survey showed that 61 percent of IT managers call “optimizing service quality and improving processes” a top priority this year. As a result, the survey said, 68 percent of respondents plan to implement new IT service management projects this year. And 63 percent said they’re doing it “to minimize risk and reduce the impact of change on the business.”

Another factor at work here is virtualization. A recent IDC report said, as virtualization expands, so does the need for more sophisticated tools to help manage those environments.

Ross McIntosh, vice president of Axios Systems North America, said one key to helping IT professionals meet the needs of these trends is gaining the ability to demonstrate their real-life experience — “projects that they’ve worked on or [roles] they’ve had where the outcome has been able to reduce the cost within the organization, or reduce the risk to the organization, on how they’ve been operating. On the other side, [it’s] increasing revenue to the organization and customer service.

“I think the key there is for them to be able to show an appreciation of what’s important to the business, so not just focusing on IT’s needs, [but] showing awareness of the priorities within the business — things that would help the business.”

From a skill-set perspective, McIntosh recommended honing one’s service management skills with certifications such as the ITIL v3 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).

“ITIL v3 is very much about the business alignment of IT,” McIntosh said. “I think focusing on the business will, by nature, enable [professionals] to add more value to the organization. Best practice through the ITIL guidelines have proven to add value to other organizations by developing their knowledge, developing their understanding and [presenting] the real-life experience, real examples, if you will, that they have been involved in. [These] are key things to focus on.”
 
McIntosh said, to sum it all up, IT organizations’ No. 1 priority right now is leveraging existing assets and doing more with the same, or, indeed, with less.

“The key right now is being adaptable and, even within individuals’ own roles, being able to look outside the box and to make suggestions to the business as to where improvements can actually be made,” he said.

“So [it’s about] being open to change and looking for opportunities to help the organization change, whether it’s processes or solutions they’re currently using. That’s just what organizations [need] right now so they can be flexible, but they can also have control and minimize risk in making changes to their infrastructures.”

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