When Technology Steals Your Time

Sam Bloedow

If it's stealing your time, it's stealing your money

It’s said that when something steals your time, it also steals your money. For busy executives who find that IT is taking too much of their time, the impact extends beyond cost, reaching into productivity and even employee morale. As executives assess the effect of having IT responsibilities on their plate, their thoughts often turn to the things that they want to be doing instead of managing technology.Because their focus is not on leading their business, they realize that the situation is actually crippling their organization to the extent that growth and innovation become impossible. These executives have choices for how they can recover their time and retrieve their focus. Unfortunately, the path they choose isn’t always the one that will achieve their goals.

Ignore IT and it will go away. Right?

When technology takes too much time, the decision to ignore the situation is understandable. You know that once you dig in, it’s going to take even more of your time. It’s going to be messy and there might be some confrontation involved. Ignoring the problems makes everyone go out of their way to avoid the underlying issues. With IT this can mean that simple operations require multiple steps and it takes more time for staff to do the work. It could mean more manual actions and duplicate data entry which opens up the door to mistakes and inaccuracies.

Unresolved IT problems create an uncomfortable undercurrent to the work day. As problems grow, they create pressure and everyone, including yourself, arrives at work wondering if this is the day that everything is going to explode. When it does explode, it’s going to be costly and impact more people than just your staff. When that includes customers, it’s important to remember that their confidence and trust is not something that is easily regained.

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Reassign IT responsibilities to someone else

If there is a person in the company to whom people go for help and troubleshooting, it might seem like a good idea to hand over the IT reins to them. While having an aptitude for technology is certainly helpful to anyone overseeing the IT needs of a company, it isn’t enough to qualify them as an expert in making decisions that will take IT out of maintenance mode and transform it into an asset that contributes to business growth.

Your new IT lead may be enthusiastic about taking on the challenge that comes with their new responsibilities. They’ll inevitably spend time trying to learn all that they can so that they can be better equipped to handle requests for support. Sooner or later, though, they’ll hit a ceiling and will need to interact with your technology vendors to utilize a higher level of expertise and this will also take time away from the duties and responsibilities of their original role in the company. In reality, reassigning IT just takes your time problem and makes it someone else’s.

Hire an internal IT staff

The decision to create an IT department within your company can have benefits. These people will be focused on your company and will have intimate knowledge of your business processes. They are always available and they can become experts on any custom software that you use in operations. However, when they aren’t available, such as when they are out sick or on vacation, there might not be anyone else who can provide support or troubleshoot problems, leaving workers and customers stuck.

When hiring internal IT staff, you’re bound to look for the education and credentials that signal a strong candidate. In today’s increasingly complex technology environment, it is difficult if not impossible to find someone who has expertise to address every aspect of your company’s Information and Technology needs. Having internal IT staff can be most effective when combined with outsourced services that fill all the gaps and provide access to sophisticated and expensive technology tools that can prevent issues from becoming problems that impact business operations.

Outsource IT to regain business focus

There comes a time when corporate leaders come to the realization that their time and energy is best used on managing their business, and not their technology. For many, this means that they need to look at IT with a different perspective. Instead of being a cost center, they need to look at IT as a growth driver. Instead of having a reactive approach, they need to flip over to a proactive one. Instead of supporting their technology, they need to have technology support their people. Because this change in perspective is good for business in so many ways, choosing an IT managed services company is the best answer for executives who want to get their time back and make their IT strategic.

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