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Doing more with less: 7 strategies for IT departments

7 strategies for it

Today's business environment is challenging. It’s becoming increasingly important for organizations to find ways to do more with less. This is especially true for those working in an IT role. IT departments are often tasked with providing a high level of business support while having to keep tech costs under control. They’re also expected to help the rest of the company to work smarter. 

We recently hosted a webinar with Christian Buckley, Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and Jonathan Bartlett, Chief Product Officer at Exclaimer, where they discussed how to create opportunities for improving IT processes and driving efficiencies during an economic downturn.  

You can catch the full webinar here, but in the meantime, we’ve summed up the key areas you can focus on to help your IT department do more with less: 

1. Communication 

Effective communication is key to any successful organization. It’s the first area to focus on when trying to do more with less. Why? Because most organizations don’t communicate effectively and spend too much time hosting meetings. 

Christian Buckley recommends streamlining the meeting process:  

“As I think about streamlining, I automatically think of how many meetings are we having. One of the things that I always recommend is go and look at your monthly meeting schedule. How efficient are those? How can we improve the way that we do meetings to make sure that we are best using people's time and that we're getting the most out of those that we've defined the purpose, the intent and the outcomes of each of those meetings so that we're just not scheduling time or wasting people's time.” 

A good way to streamline meetings is to establish clear lines of communication for sharing information. This can be done by creating policies that encourage transparency and honesty. Narrow communications down for employees so they only hear about critical information they need to know. You’ll then be able to create a shared consensus on when and how to hold meetings. 

You can also invest in collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. These allow employees to work together in real-time through instant messaging and online meetings so they can stay connected even when working remotely. 

2. Training 

In tough economic times, one of the first things most organizations cut is employee training and development. However, this is an important time to double down on training. So, provide even more opportunities for employees to learn and build new skills. 

Christian commented:  

“There's so much that you can do through Viva Learning. And even if you don't have the Viva Learning module up and running, then be aware of the free training that's out there through LinkedIn, and through other vendors. There's so much that's out there. One way to hold onto people, to keep them engaged, is to provide them with more skilling opportunities.” 

Microsoft Viva Learning creates a central hub for learning in Microsoft Teams where people can discover, share, assign, and learn from content libraries across their organization. This empowers teams and individuals to make learning a natural part of their working day. 

In addition, organizations can leverage online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy to provide employees with access to a wide range of training resources. By investing in employee training, organizations can help staff become more productive. You’ll even find it’ll help the organization achieve its goals more effectively. 

3. Innovation 

Innovation is crucial for businesses looking to do more with less in their IT operations. By adopting new technologies or exploring different ways of working, businesses can streamline their IT processes, improve efficiency and do more with less. 

One way to encourage innovation is to set up a culture of creativity and experimentation. This can be done by providing employees with resources to explore new ideas and develop new solutions. 

Christian remarked: 

“I've always been a big believer in creating a culture of innovation, rewarding people for experimentation and to try things…recognize innovation when people go above and beyond, come up with a new process, a new method, a new product or tool.” 

Another way to encourage innovation is to establish cross-functional teams that bring together employees from different departments. This helps stop siloed working and fosters collaboration, which can lead to fresh ideas and insights. 

4. Employee wellbeing 

Economic uncertainty can have a big impact on mental health. So, employee wellbeing should also be a priority when it comes to doing more with less. 

Christian said:  

“This bridges [the gap] between innovation and that employee wellbeing, you know. I'm so glad that this topic has come to the forefront. And when you talk about Microsoft, you’re talking about Microsoft Viva…employee wellbeing is at the core of Viva…We all have virtual meeting and webinar fatigue. So [we’re] constantly looking at the health and wellbeing of our employees. How are we helping people to better manage time across their days so that they're getting their work done, achieving our outcomes, but that we're doing it in a balanced way? It's so critical.” 

In Microsoft Viva Insights, two elements make up the Employee wellbeing section: balance and capacity. Workplaces that balance fluid collaboration patterns alongside a capacity for individual focus better promote sustained employee wellbeing. 

By ensuring that employees are happy and healthy, businesses can improve their overall productivity. It also helps to reduce the likelihood of errors caused by fatigue or burnout.  

5. Automation 

Automation is powerful for businesses to optimize their IT operations and do more with less. By automating routine tasks such as software updates or backup processes, businesses can free up their IT team's time. 

Christian said:  

“You can’t get around talking about Power Platform and the ability for business users, for power users, for the people that know the data, that know the business process and where there are opportunities to automate. To give them the tools and the ability to go in there and do more.” 

The Microsoft Power Platform helps you do more with less by accelerating innovation and reducing costs. A low-code platform, organizations can use Power Platform to analyze data, automate processes, and build custom applications. 
 

6. Reduce costs 

Reducing costs is often what organizations look at first when the economic climate worsens. 

There are several ways that IT departments can reduce costs. One approach is to optimize hardware and software resources by regularly assessing and removing unused systems. IT departments can also use cloud-based services to reduce licensing and maintenance costs. Another idea is to explore outsourcing certain tasks to third-party providers who offer specialized expertise at a lower cost than hiring more in-house staff. 

Christian recommends asking:  

“How are we efficiently using licenses? Are we efficiently getting the most out of the tools that we already have in place today? So that's something that you just need to continually be looking at and assessing to make sure that you're effectively using the tools and services that you have.” 

7. Exclaimer email signature management  

With Exclaimer, IT teams can centrally create and manage email signatures. This reduces IT workload, reduces the risk of human error, and simplifies email signature updates.  

Exclaimer reduces the costs associated with managing email signatures, while also improving efficiency and compliance. 

In terms of company growth, Exclaimer understands how email signatures can support this. Organizations want to be on brand. They realize that external communications represent who they are. Once you start getting a lot larger, external communications start mattering more. Increasingly, organizations and marketers want to make sure they have a handle on this. 

Jonathan said:  

“At some point, they want to put some governance in place. And that's really what one of the main value props of Exclaimer is. How we get governance over this communication channel to make sure we are, you know, putting on the face we want to for external customers, prospects, partners, all of the people that go out as well as internal.” 

Use Exclaimer to do more with less 

Start using email signature software to help your business do more with less. Learn more about Exclaimer and sign up for a free trial today.  

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