Though IT groups are sometimes criticized for being disconnected from or out of sync with “the business” (sales, marketing, finance, etc.), IT professionals—like their colleagues in other functional areas—want to be heroes to the organization.
No employee or group wants to be seen as a roadblock to business or operational progress. Quite the contrary, most would like to display the agility to leap over financial or technological obstacles; the speed to accelerate cumbersome manual processes; even the foresight to anticipate needs and solve problems before they happen.
While being born on the planet Krypton or getting bitten by a radioactive spider aren’t realistic paths, there are practical steps that IT professionals can take to become business heroes.
How to be a hero
Saving time, reducing costs, and improving the user experience are always popular achievements. Doing all three at once is even better.
Consider utilizing an approach like the enterprise request management (ERM) framework to simplify and accelerate business processes of any complexity, from password resets to PTO requests to new employee onboarding.
ERM is a model that combines an intuitive web portal with powerful workflow automation software to make it easy for employees to request any type of equipment or shard service easily, at any time, from any device, and check on the status of open requests; accelerates service delivery; ensures first-time fulfillment; and reduces employee provisioning costs.
To be a business hero, evaluate the ERM approach to delivering services from IT or any functional group better, faster and cheaper.
How to be a super hero
Improving processes for business users is great. But even better is giving business process owners the tools and capability to redesign, test, tweak, and deploy their own automated workflows.
To go beyond better-faster-cheaper, look into graphical automation engine tools that enable business managers, with minimal IT assistance, to map out their own business task workflows.
These tools enable process owners to automate tasks by passing information (employee names, dates, vendor IDs, etc.) between in-place functional or enterprise management and control systems (HR, ERP, ITSM, etc.) without modifying core application code.
To be a super hero, give process owners tools to quickly and easily redesign and automate their own workflows, without risk of “breaking” any functions in legacy applications.
How to be a Guardian of the Galaxy
To achieve the highest level of hero-dom, go beyond meeting user needs to anticipating them. Famous examples of this business super power include Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
While anticipating needs can be challenging, the ability isn’t limited to visionaries. Take a look at a business process. Talk to users about their most immediate needs. Then imagine that’s done; what are they likely to ask for next? What ability to meet need B follows from addressing need A?
An example is: your organization has a busy tradeshow schedule. Your company’s exhibit booth is always stored at the same warehouse and shipped via the same carrier. Your marketing team would like the ability to specify event dates and locations for the coming year, and have the booth automatically shipped to each new venue.
Imagine—poof, that’s done. What else is the marketing team likely to want as a follow-on?
How about connecting your organization’s universal request portal into travel sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, and Orbitz, as well as your corporate rental car provider and even airline sites, so marketing staff can get alerts about airfares as the next show approaches?
How about also connecting it to your expense reporting system so air, hotel and car rental costs can be reported automatically? And automate shipping of product literature and any equipment needed? And send reminders automatically to marketing staff about key show-related milestones and activities, like requesting press lists?
To be a guardian of the galaxy, think beyond fulfilling the immediate needs of users, and ask yourself what other capabilities are enabled by the technology that solves that short-term problem?
One final note: heroes don’t keep people waiting. When the Penguin is freezing over Gotham City, Batman doesn’t tell the good citizens to wait while he replaces the engine in the Batmobile. Even if you’ve got a major ITSM, ERP or other system implementation project in the works, you can continue with smaller projects that add near-term value by utilizing software tools that work with what you have today as well as what you’ll have tomorrow.
Even without a cape, super strength, or x-ray vision, you can be a business hero. It just takes the right approach and the right technology.