B.J. Havlik, President and CEO

By this time many of you have set out your New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, spend more time with the family, get into the office earlier, etc. All of these are worthy goals that fall under the same category: Personal Performance Improvement. In the same vein, I’d like you to consider Business Performance Improvement with this question:

What IT initiatives are you planning for 2018 to improve your organization’s business performance?

As an IT professional, you are continually looking for ways to support or enhance growth and competitiveness for your organization through the information technology you select, deploy and administer. Viewing your technology return on investment, based on the measurement of the impact it has on business performance, is a good lens for your IT spend.

While there are many systems to review, we have identified four key IT areas where you should pay special attention. These have the greatest ability to impact the business if you take care to invest in them properly.

Redundancy. Your network and all the systems it supports are only as strong as their weakest link, which may become a single point of failure if you lack systems redundancy. For example, if your application or database server goes through a single corporate router to reach the rest of the company – without a redundant network connection – you may be taking a risk that the system won’t be available to your workforce should that single router fail. Another area is business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). Providing appropriate data protection and recovery includes building, maintaining and testing your plan to ensure that you can recover in the event of a data loss event.

Security. It’s 2018: Do you know where your vulnerabilities are? In today’s environment, you must know your vulnerabilities, know what it takes to mitigate them and understand what steps will be necessary when a vulnerability has been exploited. Security breaches of your systems directly and significantly impact your employees and often your customers as well. Make sure that you are continually reviewing how well your systems are secured, including taking a proactive approach to prevent intrusions.

Infrastructure. What infrastructure technologies can be leveraged to improve your business performance? For example, the cost of internet bandwidth has dropped in price significantly. What can a 25 to 50 percent increase in bandwidth mean for your organization? Can it reduce latency and increase productivity? Can an investment in storage technology improve access to critical data? Infrastructure technology improvements that can positively impact the business include processing capacity, memory (Flash), Solid State Device (SSD) storage and networking.

Service Management. Think about IT as being organized around the services it delivers to the business. You can then speak about the benefit of investments based on service level improvements. The benefit to resolving IT challenges through Services Management includes actively participating in projects that contribute to business results. This also results in a streamlined IT department that utilizes a combination of people, tools and processes to deliver success.

Focusing on Business Performance Improvement through the strategic use of IT enables you to structure the right conversation between IT and the other business functions within your organization. Connecting IT investments effectively with business outcomes and business team performance also enables your IT team to perform at a higher level. Any IT investment needs to be justified by the impact it will have on the business.

What is your return on IT investment (ROITI)?