For decades, IT departments used to be treated as something purely functional or, even worse, as a necessary evil in business. Maintaining servers, fending off hackers, and keeping the lights on. IT essentially had a monopoly on everything technical, but no say in anything that was not.
Business and technology are changing. Today, there’s an IT paradigm shift happening that opens up opportunities for all of us to better leverage the way we use technology at work.
What is the new IT paradigm shift?
Remember how most of us worked just 10 or 20 years ago. There were computers, servers, emails, local storage, and other basic IT-related things.
Technology wasn’t integrated very well into business operations. We were emailing meeting invitations back and forth, storing multiple versions of the same files in different locations. Meetings were in person and our work was constrained to the office.
To be clear, some companies still work like that these days. But most are starting to re-evaluate what IT means and what it could do for them.
Microsoft Teams, for example, is not just better email. OneDrive is not the same as your local computer storage. Microsoft 365 is not just another new version of Outlook, Excel, and Word.
These new tools can be seamlessly integrated into the daily workflow of most companies and provide them with an opportunity to dramatically change the way they work.
Why is the current shift in IT important?
The paradigm shift of better IT affects any company that wants to elevate its operational maturity level, regardless of the starting point. This is becoming a competitive imperative, given the benefits.
It might be that you need to first pay down your technical debt and get your IT foundation in order, which would allow you to leverage new innovative solutions and improve data management, collaboration, workflows, and much more.
In general, adopting the best IT practices changes everything:
- You help your people be more productive and do their work well in a more efficient way
- You make your culture much more enjoyable and flexible. People work more easily, from anywhere, at any time.
- You lower business risks and costs of IT disasters
- You attract more talent who want to work in modern environments
- You retain more customers through a better experience
- You create unique ways of doing business that result in sustainable competitive advantages.
How you can benefit from the IT paradigm shift
There are three broad steps in the process of improving the way your company works and uses its IT infrastructure.
1. Finding a great IT partner
Having a strong IT team is essential for your tech evolution to happen smoothly and efficiently. For small businesses who can’t afford to add necessary talent to their internal team, a great external IT partner is usually the best way to go.
A great IT partner doesn’t just install technology and disappear into the ether. They collaborate with you to make a step-by-step plan for your whole IT infrastructure, from budgeting to software selection to implementation to training. They consider how your team and company is set up as well as your existing data, processes, and infrastructure. A great IT Partner helps you through building a holistic IT roadmap and leads you through the detailed execution of the plan, deep within your organization.
2. Elevating current IT tools and practices
An effective IT roadmap is driven by a thorough audit of your existing technology combined with an intimate understanding of your business today and where it is going in the future.
The IT paradigm shift is about the details, the depth, and the rate of change. IT is no longer a simple replacement of the old with the new. It’s about taking the changes to the layer that your people work at and integrating what is possible into their daily activity.
The IT evolution or revolution in your organization — how the IT changes over time — takes a company-specific approach. Some organizations are well suited to a more dramatic overhaul in a short period of time, whereas others need to make changes more gradually.
3. Getting IT training for your team
The final mile in shifting your IT paradigm is your team. Training your team to become more effective at the tools they use every day is easily one of the best ways to increase your company’s productivity.
Training doesn’t have to take a lot of time or happen all at once. Consider just an hour a week to start, or even one afternoon a month. It’s more important for the progress to be consistent. Remember that an hour of training can save your team dozens or even hundreds of hours in the future.
Start your IT paradigm shift today
If you feel like your IT is lagging behind or that your team doesn’t use the best tools available to them, think of how you can start the cultural IT paradigm shift at your company today. Why delay?
We have an easy step you can take immediately: sign yourself and your team up for some of our free technology webinars. An hour of the right training will surely make a difference in the way your team works. This can build some great early momentum in your organization toward a new IT paradigm.
At Smart Dolphins, we regularly meet with companies to facilitate an initial consultative review of their IT. In just a meeting or two, we usually offer some very valuable advice; sometimes that advice includes engaging us further and sometimes it’s simply directional guidance. Get in touch and let’s talk about where you’re at and where you can get to with an IT paradigm shift.