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How Workflow Management Can Save Time and Simplify Processes

David Millier

hand-chart.pngIn today’s tough business environment, organizations have to stay sharp and seek out advantages that give them a competitive edge in their markets. Businesses always need to be improving processes in a way that makes them faster, easier, and less costly. One of the clearest targets for this refinement is a business’s IT department—and that’s where workflow management comes in.

The Role of the Tech Analyst

In most businesses, technology analysts work in the IT department. The analyst’s job can vary from organization to organization and industry to industry. Generally speaking, the analyst’s role is to improve operational efficiency (save time). Analysts can accomplish this in several ways: by reviewing patterns and suggesting changes to procedures, by implementing new technology, and by ensuring that an organization’s current IT capabilities are being used to maximum effect.

How do Analyst’s Improve efficiency?

The Devil is in the Data. Tech analysts need to have a lot of information at their fingertips in order to do their jobs effectively. To ensure system efficiency, they need to know both how systems are performing and how people in the business are using them. To make recommendations about how to speed up a process, they need to get the concrete facts about how long the current process takes and what can change, as well as how it can change. Analysts need quick and easy access to data.

A Tough Job Made Easier

You shouldn’t be entirely surprised to hear that tech analysts don’t have the easiest job in the world; often, they’re helping their organizations make very complex, weighty decisions. An analyst’s error could cause a business to make a risky decision that results in massive profit loss or that reduces the organization’s competitiveness in a key market. That can spell disaster.

How can the tech analyst’s job be made easier? One effective solution is to get a little help from technology itself. The capabilities of workflow management software can have huge effects on the tech analyst’s job. Workflow management software has many advantages and, when it comes packaged with other tools, it can be invaluable.

Streamline Processes

The most obvious advantage of workflow management software is that it can help an organization streamline its processes, thereby saving you time and money. The software can help users identify unnecessary or repetitive steps in a process. It can also provide visuals for the workflow, which can then be used to determine when in the process certain steps should be completed. This capability fits seamlessly with the tech analyst’s task of recommending improvements to business procedures.

The Information You Need Now

It may seem obvious, but the biggest advantage of using workflow management software is the information capabilities of the program. It can help to do a cost/benefit analysis of implementing process changes or upgrading the system with new technology quickly and easily. It can help to identify recurring problems or trends in system operations.  A tech analyst can utilize the program’s task logging and reporting capabilities, and the data stored there, to analyze trends, examine the efficiency of processes, and even develop best practices and solutions. In short, making those complex business decisions is faster and easier because the information you need to make them is available almost instantaneously. Using software also helps eliminate costly human error; by allowing certain tasks to be automated, the need for manual labour is reduced and accountability is improved.

Want to learn more about how workflow management software can save your company time and money?  Click here to Learn More!

 

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Topics: IT Service Management, Workflow

6 Ways to Implement IT Service Management

David Millier

5_Advantages_of_Using_ITSM_Software.jpgIT service management is an important feature of today’s IT departments. No matter which ITSM framework an organization employs, all of them offer best practice recommendations when it comes to keeping IT efficient and effective. Here are six ways to implement ITSM in your organization.

6. Don’t Align, Integrate

Most ITSM frameworks focus on the idea of IT being fully integrated into a business. This means that the IT department isn’t isolated from other departments, but works in tandem with them to meet goals. However, simply aligning IT with the needs of the business isn’t enough to achieve integration. Under IT service management, IT should become an integral part of the organization, helping to drive business decisions, achieve goals, and improve other departments as well.

5. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

In the early days of IT, much of the work was focused on reacting to problems as they cropped up. Fast-forward to today and it will quickly become apparent that this approach doesn’t work. Today’s businesses can’t wait to react to a problem; they need to be anticipating issues before they become problems. The same goes for the IT department; rather than waiting for a system to become overloaded and crash, frameworks like ITIL recommend constant service improvement. This means determining what proactive steps should be taken to prevent problems—such as upgrading a system before the number of users outstrips the system’s capacity.

4. Think Holistically

Much of IT service management focuses on the idea of a whole. Rather than isolated siloes, the departments of a business function together to make the business run more smoothly. Another place where holistic thinking needs to be applied is in the design of services. ITSM seeks to design services, then implement, monitor, and improve them based on the business needs as a whole. The process is end-to-end and the amount of planning and design recommended in ITSM frameworks reflects this.

3. Use Structured Workflows for Incidents

One of the most important features of most ITSM frameworks is they prescribe the use of structured workflows for recording IT incidents. Since incidents are the most common point of contact between the IT department and individual users, employing standardized workflows is a must. Using a structured workflow increases accountability since everyone uses the same procedures. That means situations can be tracked and recreated, and data about similar and repeated incidents can be collected to help develop best practices and more efficient processes for dealing with incidents.

2. Keep Information Safe

Another point that most ITSM frameworks stress is the need to keep information safe. This includes everything from controlling user access by providing unique user IDs and passwords to limiting what work can be done on certain workstations. It can also mean limiting physical access to the places where information is stored.

1. Always Keep Improving

Perhaps the most important IT service management practice is the mandate to keep improving. Most frameworks suggest that using IT service management should result in systems being continually monitored and refined. This standpoint recognizes that businesses are dynamic organizations that exist in changing environments. IT and IT management cannot be a “set and forget” consideration for today’s businesses. Much like organizations are always looking to improve the way they do things, IT should search for more efficient and cost-effective solutions. Even if an implemented technology is the best one available today, there might be something better tomorrow. Businesses change direction and outgrow old processes all the time; IT service management recognizes that tech departments shouldn’t be any different.

Click Learn More to learn how Uzado can help you with your IT Service Management Needs.

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Topics: IT Service Management, Workflow, ITIL