When it comes to technology and digital transformation, there is perhaps one thing that we know for certain: it’s constantly changing. The ceaseless march of innovation means that trying to keep up with the latest developments and lining them up with your business’ strategy goals can be, at best, a frustrating endeavour.
By creating a department that’s welcome to change and prepared for any developments on the horizon, you can be ahead of the curve and still be able to focus on the day-to-day running of the business. Future-proofing your IT department ensures that the technology it uses retains its effectiveness without quickly becoming outdated.
Though it can seem daunting, there are plenty of methods your business can use to future-proof its IT department. By looking at a range of approaches and tactics, we’ll consider how IT leaders can establish a long-term strategy that’s flexible and responsive to ever-changing organisational requirements.
1. Retrain and upskill employees
The willingness to invest in your employees plays a large role in the move towards a successfully future-proofed IT department. Consider the alternative: making new hires just to deal with fresh tech developments, which is both costly and impractical. Ideally, the people who already work in your IT department will be quick to learn, naturally curious and willing to broaden their expertise as a result of new innovations.
Changing your approach to internal training can be hugely beneficial because, simply put, great employees have a greater desire to learn. Professional development not only improves hungry talent, but it ensures they’re ready to perform in a tech world that’s constantly on the move.
The win-win nature of upskilled, retrained employees goes further still: as well as helping with retention and increasing loyalty through such investments, it provides a recruitment benefit when you do need to attract future employees.
2. Hire for soft skills
Speaking of recruitment, the increasing focus on hiring for soft skills benefits IT too. Obviously, tech skills are important, but recruiting those who can bolster their technological credentials with the kind of skills that can’t be taught will go a long way towards future-proofing the department. The naturally curious who have the ability to conceptualise, contextualise and look at things in fresh new ways are the kind of employees ready for big disruptions in the tech field.
It’s one thing to hire those who are adept with AI development or blockchain building, but can these people visualise new ways to use the technology, and are they willing to innovate? These things will be integral to the process of future-proofing.
3. Move to the cloud
As a secure, inexpensive storage tool, a move towards a cloud-based service is a no brainer. As well as reducing your IT investment costs on a month-to-month basis, its numerous benefits add to the mix of future-proofing methods you can use, too.
For a start, it allows you to leverage tools that help keep your operations agile, secure and competitive alongside any other IT investments you currently have. For the retrieval and sharing of important business data it’s essential, especially since it can be done from any device, boosting employee productivity, efficiency and collaboration in the process.
If you have departments that tend to work on their own, the cloud can help to connect their thinking, marshalling their skills in a way that can prepare them for oncoming changes in the world of IT.
4. Improve your scalability
If you’re planning to grow as a business, being able to invest in tomorrow’s technology isn’t always possible. A scalable IT strategy can come in useful here; not only will it align with your current business needs, it’ll detail preparations for any future growth.
By emphasising the agile elements of your business – an increasingly important part of IT – your business can quickly respond to change which plays a large part in maintaining your competitive advantage. Scalability also allows you to roll out new software, as well as scale processes up and down depending on your needs with minimal disruption to the business as a whole.
And remember, the technology of the future is closer than you might think; in writing a strategy it’s important not to confine yourself within only the parameters you control. Going beyond the boundaries of your own experience is a hugely important part of future growth. The only limits here are your own imagination.
5. Go mobile
With the importance of maintaining a strong work/life balance also taking centre stage, the typical 9-5 environment is evolving. Token gestures and benefits are being replaced with a greater focus on mobile working.
If it’s something your business is interested in doing, then the benefits are clear: working from home, constant communication, and unified access to business information amongst many others. However, you need to make sure you’re investing in the right devices, network infrastructure and software in order to manage this transformation.
Without providing secure, manageable devices mobile (or remote) working will fail to launch. It’s imperative that they’re in place.
6. Create a culture that embraces change
Too often, we’re afraid to takes risks and welcome change with open arms. It’s our natural inclination as humans to shy away from the unfamiliar, but the workplace can be a good place to alter this way of thinking. Learning about and adopting new methods, challenging the norm, and discovering it’s okay to try and fail should be part and parcel of your office environment.
If you want to future-proof your IT department, you need to future-proof yourself so others can learn from a leader. Be open to the ideas that stray from traditional processes but still have the potential to keep your company moving forward and be sure to foster this thinking throughout the department.
At CDL, we aim to be a reliable partner to your brand, working with you to ensure the safe, secure and responsible management and destruction of your IT hardware and data. To find out more, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 3113.