What is Business Process Improvement?
TechTarget defines Business Process Improvement (BPI) as a strategic planning methodology aimed at identifying the operations or employee skills that could be improved to encourage smoother procedures, more efficient workflow and overall business growth.
Is Your IT Function in Need of Business Process Improvement?
A company’s IT function is often an area that can benefit from ongoing improvement. One of the initial steps is analyzing existing processes and establishing a need for improvement.
If you believe that there may be areas for improvement in your Information Technology function, here are a couple questions that can help you begin assessing your current processes and determining a need for change.
What percentage of staff is dedicated to IT support? This should cover your internal IT team as well as any IT vendors dedicated to the support of your systems/infrastructure. Let’s say for example that you have a total of ten IT team members and six of them are dedicated to support. This could be an indication of a problem. A more idealistic number of IT support staff would be two out of a team of ten.
If the number of IT support people seems high, it’s time to dig a bit deeper and determine why there are so many issues that result in support tickets and specifically what about your current systems warrant so many individuals committed to dealing support.
A key objective of BPI is eliminating wasteful processes and ultimately improving process time and quality. An inordinate number of support tickets indicates there is significant room for improvement. If you have a high number of support tickets, someone from your IT team should be investigating WHY that is the case. Numerous issues and support tickets indicate a “reactive IT environment,” which is an inefficient approach.
Here’s the thing about IT issues. They are expensive. It isn’t just the time your support staff spends on issues that impact costs. IT disruptions affect your business in other ways, like data loss and lost revenue. A reactive approach to your IT can also result in low employee morale and overall lack of productivity because IT issues affect your entire team, not just your IT support staff.
A proactive approach helps to ensure that issues are analyzed, understood and the proper steps are taken so that problems don’t continue to happen. Even more, a good proactive approach works to discover and eliminate potential issues before they have an opportunity to become problems. By implementing a proactive approach, more of your IT team can be devoted to critical work like monitoring and mitigating security threats, following emerging trends and developing short and long-range plans that will allow your business to leverage the right technologies for growth and continued process improvement.
How often is your staff calling support? Much like the previous question, this question is designed to help you evaluate what your IT issues are, how much time is spent on them and how you can use this information to improve efficiency.
Here’s a quick sample scenario: Whether your staff is calling 2-3 times per month (per user) or 10-20 times per month, it is too much. Let’s say the average time to resolve a ticket is one hour. If you have 20 users calling in 3-4 IT support tickets per month, that is 600 hours of potential downtime. If the average hourly rate of your staff members is $20, that equates to $12,000 is lost employee productivity alone.
A Strategic IT Partner Can Help with Business Process Improvement
Dealing with issues as they occur as well as regular monitoring and maintenance may seem like a cost-savings strategy, but it is inefficient and will cost more in the long run. If you only have a small internal IT team, you likely don’t have the broad expertise necessary to handle day-to-day support issues, assure your systems are secure and effectively implement a proactive IT approach. It may be wise to seek the assistance of a trusted strategic IT partner to launch true business process improvement through IT.
An experienced strategic IT partner will be committed to understanding your organization and be able to assess your infrastructure, along with your overall organizational objectives to help you map out a plan that improves productivity, reduces costs and aligns with your future growth goals.