If only your IT department was bigger, you could do so much more. It’s not like you haven’t heard the employee complaints; you have. They’re keeping you up at night!
- IT is putting up roadblocks to productivity, rather than supporting efforts to increase productivity.
- IT is preventing employees from using the smartphones and tablets they want to use.
- IT discourages the workforce from being flexible and mobile.
You don’t need the surveys to tell you more than half of corporate employees think IT is non-essential. You genuinely want to help reverse that perception. But you also know your department is small, with limited resources. And it’s not likely to get any larger.
IT departments are “shrinking dramatically,” studies show. The economic factors that are tightening budgets throughout the country are partially to blame. But as consumer technology catches up with corporate technology, and more and more traditional IT roles take up residence in the cloud, IT is seen as less relevant.
But just because your IT department is small and getting smaller doesn’t mean you have to let it fade into obscurity. IT still has a major role to play in the success of 21st-century organizations, and by enabling users, rather than limiting them, even the smallest IT department can provide an outsized value to its company.
Here are a few tips for magnifying the impact of your small IT department:
Stop Making Rules; Start Giving Advice
As the business world moves from local apps to SaaS, from corporate-liable devices to BYOD, if there is a role for IT, it will be less administrative and more advisory. In other words, you have a lot of expertise to share. If other departments are going to make tech decisions, you should be there to help them.
This is the argument marketing software maker HubSpot makes in a post on marketing-IT alignment.
“Instead of building and maintaining on-premise systems to deliver commodity infrastructure and applications, the IT team can now focus on solution evaluation, implementation, optimization and innovation that creates competitive advantage for the business.”
Support and Even Encourage BYOD
Gone are the days when employees were satisfied with their company-issued BlackBerrys. Now everyone relies on a powerful mobile device — an iPhone or Android phone — to enable their personal lives and they expect to use the same favorite device to get work done.
Except procuring, provisioning, and supporting such a wide range of devices is a headache for small IT departments like yours. Keeping track of the fractured flavors of Android alone is almost enough for a full-time job.
So allowing BYOD might just be the answer. You don’t have to buy all your users iPhones if they can just use their own. You don’t to support a million different versions of Android if users can take their devices back to the store if something goes wrong.
The key to making it work is to craft a BYOD policy that gives your users the flexibility they want while respecting your own data security and acceptable-use concerns.
Professional services firm Accenture took this approach and now has nearly 100,000 mobile devices in use throughout the organization, most of which are BYOD.
Get Help From a Trusted Partner
One of the hardest parts of running a small IT department is having to keep up with the always-advancing pace of new technology — on top of all your other duties maintaining existing technology.
Your team may have a pretty solid handle on networking, for example, but do they know anything about the best wireless carriers in Europe? Do they have experience troubleshooting the latest Samsung Galaxy?
Fortunately, your team doesn’t have to spend their days working and their evenings catching up on tech trends. Especially in the realm of mobile services, a trusted outsourced provider can step in, allowing your small department to punch above your weight.
A good managed mobility services (MMS) provider will enhance your small IT department, adding to your expertise and capabilities without increasing your budget. How is that possible? Learn more in our complete guide to managed mobility services.
Are you tired of being asked to do more with a shrinking IT department? Commiserate with other IT pros in the comments section below.