How to spend more time on IT development and less on maintenance

An IT Manager who only maintains status quo is not valuable for the organization. As the IT leader of your business, you need to find ways to shift your budgets and resources so they can be used for activities that add value to the business.

1. Look for ways to automate

Automation can be applied in lots of places with a minimum of fuss. When looking for applications where routine tasks can be automated, start with the issues that hit your support desk most often. Automation in these areas will free up support staff to work on higher value tasks like user education and solving more complex business problems. For example, there are many automated support systems which let users reset their own passwords or carry out other routine support tasks like connecting to printers or accessing file shares.

Do you want to learn more about how to spend more time on development and less on maintenance? Download the Nexus Group IT Manager’s Cheat sheet.

2. For commodity services, use commodity providers

While there are some things your business does that make it different to others, there are many activities which are common to all companies. Tasks like accounting, email and instant messaging can be handled securely and at a reasonable cost by external service providers.
There are two big benefits from this. Firstly, you no longer need to spend capital budgets on refreshing server hardware each year, thus giving you more money for projects that add value to the business. Secondly, it frees up operational staff to work on new projects rather than spend time fixing software and hardware problems.

3. Get rid of old systems

Many large businesses have systems in place which either duplicate other tasks or carry out minor jobs that can be offloaded to other systems or done away with altogether. As well as freeing up support staff, you may be able to reduce software licensing and maintenance costs. This frees up funds that can be used to either hire more developers or deploy new systems that reduce your costs and liberate staff in other areas.

4. Share information through education

Training is one of the first items to be cut on many budgets when times are tough. However, new skills can deliver a massive benefit. Doctors are required to constantly update their skills so that procedures which once took hours are now routine and recovery times are shorter for patients. The same applies in technology. By maintaining and increasing your team’s skills, they will find new ways to solve problems that save time so they can focus on new projects faster.

5. Look for new ways to do things

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different outcome. A good example is the way many companies have held fast to the waterfall model of software development. This worked when IT held the keys to the technology kingdom, but users now expect systems to adapt to their needs far faster than ever before.

Short paths are to be preferred. While some people don’t like new movements such as agile development and DevOps, they have delivered great benefit in making IT teams more responsive. As a result, they have been able to deliver more to the business faster than ever before. Even when they spend the same amount of time on development, the business is realizing the benefits faster than before.

Do you want to learn more about how to spend more time on development and less on maintenance? Download the Nexus Group IT Manager’s Cheat sheet.

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