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IT teams: Close the innovation gap to find success

17 Jul 15

IT teams need to work to close the ‘innovation gap’ in order to continue to build the business and remain ahead of the competition, says CenturyLink.

These teams are consistently under operational demands, and as a result put most of their focus on maintaining IT infrastructure instead of driving innovation within the business. This creates what CenturyLink calls the 'innovation gap'.

According to CenturyLink, IT professionals often spend much of their time on operational tasks, such as ensuing data security, maintaining organisational infrastructure and applications, providing technology support and reacting to problems as they arise.

“This reactive mentality can keep IT teams from taking a step back from the day-to-day processes to focus on innovation, and hamper the IT team’s focus on meeting business needs through innovative projects,” says David Rosengrave, CenturyLink head business development and product strategy Asia Pacific.

There is some fear among CIOs and IT teams that if they give up the operational work for external teams to handle, they could face budget cuts or worse.

If they want to 'survive and thrive', IT leaders need to overcome these fears by adopting an approach that balances using internal talent with outsourcing for external expertise, CenturyLink says.

Rosengrave says, “Selectively partnering can help achieve core business and technology goals, and ultimately drive the innovation the business requires to stay competitive.”

CenturyLink has identified three ways IT teams can close the gap between maintaining the status quo, and engaging in innovative projects to drive business growth:

Keep it fluid

To achieve agility, the number of IT staff needs to be able to fluctuate with business needs, says CenturyLink. 

Not having the right amount of people can mean that employees simply keep up with existing demands rather than on the programmes needed to drive the business forward.

To counter this, IT teams can adopt a fluid, variable staffing model to adapt to the ever-changing demands of their business. They can do this by offloading or automating the routine tasks that prevent them from focusing on business needs, according to CenturyLink.

Have experts available

Many organisations do not have the internal resources to support specialist tasks. IT teams can outsource these specific areas of expertise to a third party that has the experience and certifications necessary for the job without giving up control of the project itself, says CenturyLink.

Have a complete tool set

IT departments often struggle to meet business needs due to slow legacy tools that don’t allow for accelerated development cycles. IT teams should have a complete tool set they can use to leverage the right systems and processes for the job at hand, CenturyLink says.

They can do this by drawing on the benefits of readily-available technology tools provided by third parties, such as cloud infrastructure, disaster recovery and data analytics.

Rosengrave says, “By using these tools, and keeping these tips in mind, IT departments can focus on proven best-practices and automation resources to bring efficiencies to previously labour-intensive areas, and help accelerate business objectives through innovation.”

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