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7 Creative IT Effectiveness Ideas

by Chris Curran on July 24, 2014 [email] [twitter]

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For as long as I’ve been working with companies to get more out of their IT investments, we have used the term “IT Effectiveness.” The approaches for helping IT organizations get the most out of what they do have been studied and applied by many leaders and consultants for a long time.  Some refer to this discussion as “doing more with less” but I’ve argued that it’s more about doing the most important things with the available resources and being really focused on business-driven prioritization.  IT effectiveness is about making planning, designing, building, integrating, managing and operating the best it can be.  This discussion tends to be very broad and address things like optimizing and measuring the IT portfolio, rationalizing the application suite and retiring old systems, and reviewing the processes and methods we use to get work done.

A recent question from a healthcare client regarding new ideas to improve IT effectiveness caused me to step back and revisit this topic with fresh eyes.  How creative or new an idea is depends on what the current organization does and wants to do. However, I think there are several new ways to think about tapping into new ideas, skills and approaches that could help improve the way IT gets its work done.

Here are 7 new ideas for improving IT effectiveness:

  1. Tap into New Talent Pools
    As new technologies come onto the scene every day, it is increasingly hard to keep up and to hire and train teams with new skills.  Use new 3rd party development marketplaces to get work done, such as TopCoder, Kaggle and 99designs.
  2. Develop University Partnerships
    Develop a partnership with a local university to get good, inexpensive labor via internships, co-op, joint industry-specific IT research, and app contests.
  3. Develop Industry Partnerships
    Establish or join an active technology-oriented association or research center to offload some important/not urgent work.
  4. Increase Open Source Learning and Participation
    Ramp up participation and skills in open source platforms, especially in data management and analytics areas.
  5. Broaden Relationships with Strategic Vendors
    Most major vendors have extensive training programs and use labs to learn and experiment.  Explore these avenues to learn more and leverage large investments you are already making.
  6. Gameify Work
    Run hackathons and team-based problem solving competitions to solve specific tech problems, to experiment and to build some community reputation and goodwill.
  7. Add New Sources for Training
    Use open university programs for inexpensive technology, design and computer science training.

What new approaches have you tried and how effective are they?

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