Choosing an IT management system is a lot like shopping for a new pair of shoes. If you head down the road in a pair that is too small, you will only make it a few blocks before you realize how uncomfortable you are and how important it is to find the right fit. Buying a high-quality shoe that fits well is vital to being able to get where you want to go quickly and comfortably. It is the same principle when looking for a business management tool. The performance of your entire organization depends on the perfect fit, whether it is IT needs and processing help desk tickets or human resources onboarding practices. It is imperative that your IT management selection address your current needs, but it also needs to be scalable. Keep the following things in mind as you look for a proper management fit.
Tip #1: Ask Yourself What You Want
Since there are many options on the market, you need to streamline your search by only looking at software that will meet your specific needs. To make this decision, you need to understand each aspect of your organization and what you would like the tool to accomplish in those areas. There are programs that offer simple and basic practices of requests, change management, or incident reporting, but you can find software that will institute a much more complex set of IT management. Have you thought about problem management? How many areas of infrastructure require support? A sales agent will be more than happy to talk you into the best of the best, but your company may never use all of the bells and whistles that come from such a purchase. You must understand what your business is most likely to need, then plan for a system on that reality.
Tip #2: Talk to Your People
Though you may be in management or have the most seniority in the IT department, always consult with the others on the team about your decision. A management tool will be a costly investment, and it turns into a complicated and expensive mess if the application of the system results in employee confusion or inoperability. Develop a research team to investigate the pros and cons of potential systems and present them to the department or management team. This is an important selection that shouldn’t be rushed or sprung on your people.
Tip #3: Be Patient in Requirements Gathering
As you prepare for a purchase, be methodical, deliberate, and thorough when moving through the requirements gathering state. When you skip around and try to take note of everything at once. By doing this, you run the risk of overlooking critical information or neglecting to look at how the software can be scaled to future needs. Don’t rush a decision just because you feel desperate to implement a system now. Some of the things your program should take into account include:
- Strong customer experience
- Automation with models or templates
- Consistent processes among areas
- Real-time options for metrics, dashboards, and reporting
- User-friendly opportunities to change or configure workflows
- Easy data migration between old and new IT solutions
Tip #4: Evaluate Current Processes
Before you can look at what a new system can do for your company, evaluate how your current processes are working. Look at the people on the team and how they are managing with the current setup. If they are delivering on productivity or performance, don’t assume that a new system will be the answer. Cost and size won’t matter if the tool doesn’t fit your customer or your team members. Take time to assess your processes and see how they may be impacted by your choice. You will waste a lot of time if you try to force archaic or ineffective processes into a state-of-the-art system. Such a move will also waste valuable resources.
Tip #5: Decide the Must-haves
There is a difference between buying the best system out there and buying a system that will meet your needs. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but if you rush your decision-making, you may not get the best of both worlds. After you have looked at the processes, re-evaluate the requirements for your new program. There may several things that you would like to have, but start your search with what you must have. There are many functions and options to choose from, making it crucial to realistically and logically nail down exactly what your business needs.
Tip #6: Factor in the End Users
Your decision may be great for your team, but the entire point of operations is to satisfy the end users. Most often, these are the customers. The customer experience is the true test of a successful IT management tool. When a tool isn’t easy to engage with or inconsistent, customers (and employees) look for ways around the tool-based processes. This becomes a huge headache and costs the company money.
Tip #7: Consider Company-wide Impact
Always consider how your management tool will impact the entire organization. If you limit your option to a tool that will only be useful for your IT needs, you really aren’t getting a good value for your company. See where the product can be used in other areas of the business, be it helping with human resources or tracking other requests.
There is a lot to think about when moving toward an IT management tool, and while this list is not comprehensive, it does give you a good start. Always ask questions and seek input from other IT managers or companies that are using a similar tool successfully. You want to get the most out of your investment.