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Using IT to Improve your Business Processes

Business process consulting imageBusiness Process Management (BPM) is growing in importance as many organizations look for ways to work more efficiently, improve customer service and avoid wasteful spending.  Although BPM is usually thought of as a “management concern,” IT professionals are often heavily involved in these initiatives as well.  That’s because new technology has always played an essential role in automating time-consuming tasks, improving communications and supporting workers with their day-to-day business operations.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your business processes, we recommend that you start by taking a look at your existing IT infrastructure.  This is a critical support system for all of your daily activities and it can have a huge impact on your workers at every level of your company.  Here are five key considerations that can help you ensure that your business is getting the best use out of today’s technology.

#1. Are you using the right tools?

As technology evolves, businesses have more opportunities than ever to improve the way they do business.  Are you taking advantage of the right ones?  Calling on the expertise of an IT specialist — whether it is a member of your internal staff or an external consultant — can help you identify the best tools for your work environment.

#2. Do the components of your system work together?

People often think about their network in terms of its components.  We want the best desktop, the best phone, the best printer and the best software, all at the same time.  Unfortunately, picking and choosing different tools one at a time, without looking at the big picture, can lead to incompatibilities, confused users and lost productivity.

#3. Are you prepared for the future?

If you move ahead with your business plans without first accounting for the support that you’ll require from your IT infrastructure, you’re likely to run into slow-downs and other snags that can reduce productivity and even halt the flow of work in your office.  Make sure that your IT department understands your business strategy early on in order to ensure that their efforts effectively serve your long-term goals.

#4. Are you getting the most out of the tools you have?

Buying a pocket knife with over a hundred attachments might sound like a good idea when you’re in the store.  In practice, however, having so many tools  at your fingertips can make it really difficult to find the ones you need when you need them.  Elaborate tools can be useful, but they take time to master; be prepared to invest in user training before you bring overly complex software into the workplace, too.

#5. Do you have a business continuity strategy in place?

Severe system failure can  halt your business operations for days or even weeks!   Make sure you have a solid backup plan in place to protect your IT investment and ensure continued productivity in the event of a disaster; many businesses are crippled because they failed to build redundancy measures into their plans for the future.

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