Whether you realize it when you hear celebrity news and have no idea who they’re talking about, you listen to the radio and don’t recognize any of the artist names, or you see a group of teenagers and think “What are they wearing? I feel old,” at some point, we all realize that we’re just not as cool as we used to be. One of the hardest areas in which to stay abreast of trends is technology. It feels like every few months or so, a new phone is announced from Apple, there’s some new gadget that the Internet is talking about…there’s a lot to keep up with.
Fortunately, as an IT professional, your job is already so heavily entrenched in technology that keeping up with trends and modern tools is second nature. But is your enterprise using the latest and greatest tools to the best advantage? Do your non-tech-savvy bosses know about the best options out there that could make work life better? Here’s how to keep your company technologically hip so you can attract the best talent.
Using What You Already Know
From a cloud-based service desk that is already automating your notifications to an integrated asset management tool that reminds you when a license is up for renewal, you’re changing your role and what’s required in it by simply adopting the most modern technology. Each tool that you integrate into your IT team is removing the mundane tasks from your people and putting in place automated processes. As you unchain yourself from the boring, repetitive tasks, you are opening doors to the opportunity to build business strategies or change the direction your organization is going. These tools that you have found for “technology processes” have the ability to give a sense of freedom through automation can unchain your organization from email, and streamline overall collaboration.
In other words, you (yes, you in IT!) are the best employee to introduce more modern tools to the organization because you’re already so familiar with them — and you can probably see where other departments could best adopt them.
Know How to Sell It
Maybe you think that HR could really benefit from automation, or you think that it’d be useful for marketing to have a list of the things they could help out other departments with by listing them in a service catalog. Maybe sales could benefit from a knowledge base where people write about the tactics that have helped them close deals in articles. There are many places for an IT tool to help your enterprise work more smoothly, and you can spearhead that effort.
Once people see how many boring tasks can be eliminated or how much time they’ll save every day, it’s easy to win people over. If you have a particularly critical management team, it’s always a good idea to arm yourself with metrics and measurements. Remember the KPIs we talked about? Cost and time per a ticket, in particular. If you think that a tool will help improve any of those numbers, be sure to showcase it, particularly when it comes to budgets, time to completion, and overall trends.
But even after the management above you has approved for you to implement something that’s beneficial organization-wide, and your co-workers may be on board, there’s one final obstacle: Education.
Change sucks, and when you have to switch from a tool that you’ve used for years (or longer), to something fresh and new, it can be met with resistance…and a lot of it. That’s why we like to have ‘Lunch and Learns’ — eat and gather around a large meeting area to learn a new tool. It’s effective for a number of reasons. People are more likely to attend if you give them free food, and let’s be honest, it’s easier to get through training when your audience is busy chewing…quietly.
While you don’t have to take our approach, keep in mind that as an IT professional, you have an advantage of technical understanding that many others won’t share. Make learning and teaching a fun team activity, and you’ll be an office hero.
Teach Everyone the Lingo
As we’ve talked about before, product stand ups are some of the things we do at Samanage to keep everyone on the same page, and it helps to not only gain visibility into what our development teams are doing but also helps educate everyone on the product which, in turn, helps with technical literacy. This lays the foundation for you to encourage more adoption of tools as your co-workers become more and more comfortable discussing technical subjects.
On the other side, keep in mind that while you can teach your co-workers the lingo, that doesn’t mean that they have to strictly adhere to it. As IT professionals, we tend to be governed in our use of our terminology. As you start to expand the use of modern tools into other departments, a powerful way to keep everyone on the same page and adapt the organization to a technical way of thinking is to use the language they already use in conversation. In other words, translate the tech vocabulary into something your non-tech coworkers will be able to grasp. An “incident” may just become known as a “task,” a self-service portal may become known as simply the “portal,” and so on — and it’s all okay, so long as you’re interpreting the tool in a meaningful way.
A Well-Armed Workforce
Technology isn’t going anywhere, and the modern enterprise has to be able to adapt to the increasing importance of digital tools. That’s why making sure that your workforce is digitally minded is an asset not only for you, since you may never see a ticket asking for help with the Wi-Fi ever again, but will also keep your managers happy. It’s another way that you can get a leg up over your competition, stay relevant to a workforce that is becoming more and more tech literate, and keep the talent you acquire.
About Lauren Clapper
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