Value-added is a strategic concept, driven by the premise that “value” can be realized beyond the obvious. It is obvious that an IT department is expected to install systems properly, keep them running and provide quality support. The “added value” is realized when these services are sufficiently integrated withbusiness objectives and corporate culture to contribute to the actual “bottom line” in one or more positive respects.
Value-added IT is characterized by a defined management vision and a strong, collaborative partnership between the IT organization and the end-user community. Added value is not organic – it takes planning and effort to achieve that level of IT service, cooperation, credibility and collaboration. To identify and take advantage of all opportunities to add value, the smart IT executive and/or manager will look to achieve three (3) key goals:
- IT must be fully competent in all core operational areas.
- IT must establish and maintain effective end-user relationships.
- IT must seek out and exploit any and all opportunities to demonstrate visionary capabilities through projects, service successes, and day-to-day end-user interactions.
Planning for “Value-Added” IT Management
The first step to providing added value is to identify the potential “targets” for value added IT service delivery, considering the existing IT service portfolio and the potential changes that may provide the value and benefit being sought.
- Do you want to provide internal consultative services?
- Do you want to become more involved in project and knowledge management?
- Do you want to provide process re-engineering and workflow productivity services – to help your end-user community use existing technology to its full advantage?
- Do you want to consolidate all technology decision making within a centralized IT operation?
- Do you want to act as a technology advisor – helping management make better decisions concerning new technologies and upcoming business opportunities?
- Are you capable of providing the desired strategic services….?
Insider Tips: How to Create Opportunities to Provide Added Value
- Start with service quality. Ensure that your systems are well managed and that all IT operational procedures are as tight and streamlined as possible — you will need to minimize systems problems, meet service level obligations and ensure that your staff has the time to move on to the next level.
- Motivate and engage IT staff. Get the buy-in of your staff, making sure that they understand your goals, and are willing and able to move ahead with you. Not every staff member will have an interest in strategic work, and that is ok … you will still need people whose focus remains on the “bread and butter” technical work.
- Define your mission. Create a clear, specific mission statement to visibly document the strategic services you plan to offer and provide.
- Use every available advantage. Have your staff use their “powers of observation” to uncover procedures and operations that can be streamlined or improved through the use of existing technology. Since front-line IT workers have a unique view of business operations, encourage them to observe how your end-users get their work done, looking for key processes that can be improved and simplified. Your goal is to demonstrate your ability to understand end-user needs and to provide positive business value.
- Be visible to the end user community. Offer to attend business staff meetings on a regular basis, to get to know your end-user community, and learn more about business issues and opportunities to which you might not otherwise be exposed. Look for quick successes to help you build confidence and credibility.
- Toot your own horn. Market IT services and capabilities through the use of newsletters, web sites, e-mail announcements, training classes, and technology presentations. Use the information gained from staff observations and business meeting participation to ensure that your content is relevant and useful. Your goal is to keep IT continually visible and relevant, so that when strategic issues and questions arise, someone may think “perhaps IT can help”.