IT departments would do well to take a lesson from the local sandwich shop, says one industry executive.
Robert Lefkowitz, vice president of technology research and development for Asurion, suggested that companies adopt an approach to IT that favours smaller and faster projects over larger, more time-consuming efforts.
Lefkowitz said the current approach to IT management is similar to building large systems such as a locomotive. He suggested that companies change their approach to that of a delicatessen, where individual sandwiches are made to the customer's specifications.
He said that his company had been able to increase productivity as much as four-fold by eschewing large, complex efforts in favour of smaller, faster solutions. In doing so, Lefkowitz said that IT staff put an onus on solving as many individual problems as possible and overall effectiveness of the entire IT operation improved.
Part of the new approach also includes restructuring the way IT staff are organised. Lefkowitz laid out a system in which duties are divided between analysts who speak with other departments and devise solutions, developers to write the actual code and create the solutions, and educators to devise training programmes for new systems and applications.
Additionally, he suggested that companies process requests not as larger projects, but as individual "ticket" requests.
By rolling projects out with greater frequency, IT staff can also improve relations with other departments, Lefkowitz said. He suggested that many departments choose to avoid bringing issues to IT for fear of creating a large, complex project.
"People think that people in IT are bozos," he said. "One of the ways you can dispel that is to do simple stuff quickly; it is really hard to prove things on large complicated expensive industrial projects because even if you get it done it takes a year and a million dollars and people wonder if it could have been done in six months for $500,000."
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