5 secrets behind the success of highly efficient IT teams

ITSM

12 May 2021 • 21 min read

    Today, IT departments are tasked not only with repairing laptops, but also supporting employees in their pursuit for excellence. While many IT teams are struggling, high-performing teams align their operations with business goals, implement agile methodologies and automation, and support digital transformation. There are a lot of tools and methods that might increase our effectiveness, but which one is the best? How to become a highly efficient team? The perfect solution doesn’t exist but we want to share some tips and tricks to bring the team effectiveness to the higher level.

    5 steps to achieve higher efficiency

    Do you know that, according to McKinsey45% of the work we do today can be automated. This means saving on salary expenses can reach 2 bln USD. Unfortunately, IT teams still use outdated methods of operation: 

    71% say they focus on risk reduction, but only 29% of them admits that the IT team is crucial to the company’s success. 

    If IT teams don’t want to be left behind, they must abandon conventional working methods!

    An effective IT team translates its efficiency into the entire company’s effectiveness because subsequent teams and departments digitize themselves, implement new methods and tools, etc. Higher efficiency levels not only mean cost savings. It’s also better communication, which results in better relationships, both within the team and on the line of the company and the client. In this way, a chain of benefits is created, because building long-term partnerships also positively affects the image of the brand and the organization. Let’s see what is worth doing and what should be remembered in order to achieve better results.

    Step 1: Put your business goals first

    It’s obvious that business processes are very complex. In the maze of tasks, it’s difficult to prioritize and determine which projects will bring real value to both the client and our organization. We shouldn’t define it by feeling and be guided by our own beliefs, instead of thorough business analysis and establishing the actual needs of our teams.

    When planning work, high-performance teams are twice more often entitled to make independent decisions about IT projects and are eight times more likely to synchronize their ambitions with business goals. Teams acting in accordance with business goals are more likely to prioritize projects in cooperation with management by 30%, and are twice as likely to evaluate their results using business and IT criteria.

    The secret lies in communicating effectively with the rest of the company, rather than locking yourself in a basement with computers and hardware. Effective IT teams should understand that, just like some other departments (marketing, HR, administration), they serve the entire company, so their operation cannot be detached from the needs of the business as a whole. In fact, it should be based on them.

    Step 2: Drive the implementation of new technologies

    Implementing new technologies has become an integral part of the digital transformation of enterprises that has gained momentum in the wake of the pandemic. Many companies, not only from the IT industry, then decided to switch to remote or hybrid operation. It wouldn’t be possible without appropriate tools that facilitate communication and remote cooperation of distributed teams. But that’s not all. Tools that are well matched to the needs and individual workflow of our team can noticeably increase the efficiency of work and make it more comfortable.

    Efficient teams are twice more willing than others to monitor the use of technology in the organization and come up with proposals for improvement, which just translates into digital transformation. 46% of such organizations achieve a higher return on investment into technology. Teams acting in accordance with business goals are also three times more likely to use ITSM tools that were created less than two years ago.

    In addition to tools that facilitate teamwork, it’s also worth considering the use of new technologies in our products and solutions that allow us to contact customers. Modern tools often help in serving both types of users: internal (company employees) and external (typical customer support). By providing the highest level of customer experience, we can be sure that they will be more willing to use our services in the future.

    New technologies implementation is a strategic decision always, therefore, even made on team level need committent from organizations’ management. And that means focus on direct and indirect costs of tooling. The winners are open platforms, no-code or less-code solutions which allow rapid adoption within organization, flexibility in shaping processes, and finally – user friendliness.

    Step 3: Invest in tools that accelerate work

    In this case, when we talk about collaboration tools, we don’t mean only digital tools. Tools are not only products, but also frameworks and methodologies that improve and organize work. There are many different methodologies, but it’s impossible to say if any is better or worse. The secret is to adjust the methodology to the needs of a given project, team, and company. If we choose a methodology that supports individual workflow, we can be sure that the efficiency of our team will increase. If we decide to use an inappropriate methodology that doesn’t reflect our actual needs, it may turn out that instead of making everyday tasks easier, we have introduced an additional difficulty.

    The methodology has a big impact on the speed of work. 18% of teams are more likely to use Agile methodologies, 15% of them are more likely to use DevOps methodologies. It’s hard to believe, but high-performing teams only invest too little in the ITIL technology. It’s easy to notice that ITIL is the most popular methodology from those listed above. It suggests that ITIL is truly must-have, not only for tech teams. This is mainly due to three factors:

    • governance requirements – ITIL still translates the best enterprise governance needs into operational goals, while still being cooperative with agile models;
    • ITIL processes, especially with modern ITIL version – v.4 are lean in their nature, and it seems that finally market understands that guidance coming from ITIL is not a conformity to the book, but adaptivity to the spirit;
    • ITIL scope cover full lifecycle of business processes and supporting IT services and products, making it the most complete definition of IT world still available.

    The question here is whether non-technical teams also need a work-management methodology? There is one answer, of course, they do. The best example is Agile, which can be successfully adapted to the needs of various types of teams, not only IT, but also marketing, HR, sales.

    Step 4: Focus on the customer needs

    Focus on the customer needs is a must. As we mentioned before, positive customer experience results in long-term business relations and truly valuable partnerships. It’s absolutely worth remembering that 100% of high-performing teams measure customer satisfaction (CSAT). They’re also more likely than other teams to use ITSM tools that support community collaboration and remote work.

    We can increase customer satisfaction in some different ways. First of all, we need to know their needs and requirements. There are several ways in which information about customer needs can be collected, that will help us enhance product development. We should let our users speak and share their opinion. Therefore we should carefully gather their feedback, e.g. via customer portal. Thanks to that we can not only find out the defects in already existing products, but also receive the inspiration for creating new useful features. The other good idea is constant monitoring of customer satisfaction, using e.g. CSAT.

    Step 5: Use active response

    High-performing teams don’t waste time on fighting adversities and repeating tasks. They deal with basic problems through automation. 69% of them claims that the use of automation has increased in the last two years. That’s true – almost 76% of IT teams use service automation. And, what’s the most important, as a result of automation, only 8% of teams saw a decline in staff. High-performing teams are 2,5 times more likely to use problem management to avoid common emergencies.

    Another way is prevention and protection against possible failures. A good example is The Phoenix Project by Kim Gene. This is the story of a team that mostly had to deal with such emergencies. After the digital transformation, the team began to introduce innovations in the company that streamline processes and even increase sales. Thanks to digitization and automation of repetitive processes, the team simply has time for it. That’s how they save time, cost, and energy for solving truly challenging problems.

    How to become a highly efficient team

    The secret of highly efficient team is to combine awesome customer experience with modern digital technologies. We can increase customer satisfaction by measuring CSAT indicators, linking CSAT revenues and measurements to projects, investing in proper tools that will raise the positive reactions, and managing service across the entire company. From the technical point of view, the most important is to create a digital transformation plan, use automation to solve basic problems, implement Lean and DevOps solutions, and invest in Agile and DevOps.

    In general, to be effective, the team must have clearly defined goals and ways to measure their effectiveness. It’s always good to try technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or predictive analytics. But the most important at all is synchronizing the team’s ambitions with the company’s goalsand celebrate the success together.

    We hope that our tips will lead your team to the galaxy of effectiveness. If you want to learn more about IT and customer services, check our website or read more:

    1. Can Agile and Scrum be applied to non-software teams?
    2. 6 mistakes in team management and how to avoid them
    3. How customer feedback and support teams can shape product development?
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