Optimize Your Team's Time and Resources to Get the Most Out of Your Applications
February 02, 2018

Gary Mann

Share this

In order to be successful, companies need to ensure that all three parts of the age-old IT adage are optimized — people, processes, and technology. My last blog, 3 Tips for Reining in Your Application Portfolio, covered technology-oriented best practices that application management and IT help desks can use to optimize the performance of their applications and the IT teams that oversee them. Now I'll explore what IT professionals can do to optimize their team's time and resources — the people and processes — in pursuit of that same goal.

For professionals who oversee application management and IT help desks, no one day is the same. Most wear many hats — supervising everything from the applications on which the organization depends, to taking care of the innumerable support requests that arise each day. Technology acumen is important, of course, but it's merely one piece of the "technology, people, and processes" required to succeed in such a multi-faceted role. That's why no discussion of application management is complete without exploring what can be done to ensure that processes best serve the people involved, and that these individuals are engaged in a cohesive effort.

In the course of my work, I've been fortunate to engage in projects that show how some of the world's most successful companies tackle this reality. What I've learned working with those companies to eliminate IT inefficiencies and best manage their application portfolios is applicable to organizations of all sizes, in all industries.

Perhaps most importantly, these lessons will only increase in relevance in the months and years to come. Application portfolios will continue to grow in scope as automation simultaneously plays a greater role in workflows. As a result, the potential for staff and IT inefficiencies will continue to increase. It does not matter what industry you are in, it's imperative to have processes in place to address these realities.

How can you do this effectively? Following are several best practices to ensure that you keep IT and staff inefficiencies in check, ensure the success of your application management efforts, and optimize the performance of your application portfolio to better serve those who rely on it.

Don't get bogged down in the now

If you are having issues with your staff, application portfolio, support processes, or needy or demanding users — these are "now" issues, not long-term priorities that will determine your direction moving forward. They are of course important and must be dealt with, but all too often, IT teams can get bogged down by the myriad details that arise around these activities, and in the process miss opportunities to attend to the underlying, root causes of inefficiencies.

One example is often encountered at hospitals. Physicians rightfully expect immediate action by the IT team when any application issues impact patient care, but it's important to separate those issues from ones that can reasonably be dealt with in a more measured fashion. Users' egos must be recognized and dealt with.

Similarly, make sure your IT organization does not lose its strategic focus

Maintaining a strategic focus, and separating it from the innumerable demands you're facing now, ultimately enables you to do more and provide higher quality service. Make sure you don't lose focus on what your staff needs to manage and support your growing application portfolio, acquire new skill sets to support new technologies — such as artificial intelligence, automation, and more — and remain nimble in order to meet the business needs of your team and the end users they serve. This includes having the right balance of skill sets on your team to address both maintenance and support needs, as well as your strategic priorities. Your expensive and experienced staff should not be unable to take on your strategic priorities because they are overwhelmed by maintenance and support-related tasks.

Build a team based on a functional breakdown versus an application breakdown

This will enable you to combine functions across the overall skill set and create opportunities for application performance and process/workflow improvements, operational efficiencies, and ultimately, cost savings.

For example, if a client has three different financial systems and they have three different people doing the same thing — each in a different application, but supporting common functions — the skill set can be identified, applied at a functional level, and result in one person performing these common tasks across the three applications. This creates efficiencies and saves money and time.

Make sure your team, and overall efforts, are dedicated to delivering quality

A steadfast commitment to quality and a dedicated quality program will be the key to managing your application portfolio today and in the future. An effective quality program is essentially one that is focused on the alignment of the people and processes needed for success, and the technology they require. It can be an expensive undertaking in the beginning, but one that will pay off many times over in the end once everyone understands their role and acts on it in an efficient manner.

By keeping these best practices in mind and applying the right technology to your efforts, IT teams can work confidently knowing that they are getting the most out of their applications and teams that oversee them. Perhaps most importantly, they will know they are providing the singular support end users need to be most effective.

Gary Mann is Managing Director, Application Management and Support, at CTG
Share this

The Latest

September 21, 2018

The performance gap between customer experience leaders and runners-up is widening, with those on top being disproportionately rewarded. Gartner said organizations must ignore three myths in order to achieve a superior customer experience ...

September 19, 2018

This summer marked three years since Microsoft announced Windows 10, its first "Windows as a service" Operating System (OS). Windows 10 brought with it a new Software-as-a-Service-like approach to updates, moving Microsoft and the millions of environments that depend on it, more frequent, bundled updates. Whether you believe the shift was for better or worse, one thing is certain, this "as a service" model is a natural progression for today's operating systems. That is why Windows 10 is changing not only how frequently updates are pushed out, but inherently how technology is purchased, how people consume it, and perhaps most importantly, how IT is run. Let's take a look at how Windows 10 has impacted these three key areas over the past three years ...

September 18, 2018

To celebrate IT Professionals Day 2018 (this year on September 18), the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2018: A World Powered by Tech Pros survey explores a "Tech PROactive" world where technology professionals have the time, resources, and ability to use their technology prowess to do absolutely anything ...

September 17, 2018

Are digital war rooms obsolete because they're just a place for managers of siloed business units to find someone else to blame for a critical IT event such as a security breach? Far from it. Enterprises find these emergency response teams just as important, if not more important, than ever ...

September 14, 2018

The goal of EMA's latest research was to look at how advanced IT analytics (AIA) — EMA's term for primarily what today is best known as "AIOps" — is being deployed. Here are the remaining four of my seven personal takeaways ...

September 13, 2018

OK, the data is in! The goal of EMA's latest research was to look at how advanced IT analytics (AIA) — or EMA's term for primarily what today is best known as "AIOps" — is being deployed. Here are seven of my own personal takeaways ...

September 12, 2018

By maximizing the knowledge of end-to-end quality of service (QoS) using virtualized network functions (VNFs), the SD-WAN (edge) gateway establishes a suitable connection with minimal latency and maximum performance so that entire organizations can make the most of the Office 365 application suite ...

September 11, 2018

Market exuberance for Office 365 has inspired business mandates to adopt the cloud-hosted collaboration and productivity suite without regards to the underlying chaos. While multi-location organizations are virtualizing, operating models haven’t necessarily changed. This partial transformation that excludes automation and simplification of the network puts Office 365 deployments (and other software-as-a-service offerings) in danger of failing ...

September 10, 2018

Most organizations are undergoing a digital transformation that directly impacts how they do business, yet 70 percent of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their jobs today, and 80 percent of employees do not have the skills needed for their current and future roles, according to Gartner ...

September 06, 2018

In a survey within the VMware User Group community, Blue Medora took a closer look at how various metric collection strategies and access to Dimensional Data impacts IT success. We started with one question: How important is your monitoring integration strategy? ...