IT Teams: The Unsung Heroes of Company Collaboration

Company Innovation and Collaboration

Innovation and cohesion. Two simple concepts, yet both are notoriously difficult to achieve. Many companies struggle to find their footing in both these areas. Rather, they find themselves in a technological rut and operating piecemeal. Instead of scrolling through the internet hoping to stumble on the solution, higher-ups should turn to the crisis-averting, inherently tech-savvy super-team known as the IT department. Seeing as they likely already have their finger on the pulse of the latest technology news, they may be able to offer leadership a unique insight into the best ways to drive your company forward.

Innovation and cohesion. Two simple concepts, yet both are notoriously difficult to achieve. #ITSM #ServiceDesk Click To Tweet

Innovation Could Be the Difference Between Being Left in the Dust or Coming Out on Top

The struggle with innovation is not a unique one. In fact, it’s fairly common. Many companies circle around the concept of trying new things because the old ways work “just fine.”

Unfortunately, technology and innovation wait for no one. After all, there was a time when the internet was looked down upon and even scoffed at. Businesses must get ahead of new technologies (think generative artificial intelligence (AI)) or risk being left in the dust. In fact, the 2022 U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Empowering Small Business Report found that “small businesses that incorporate technology platforms are more likely to see growth in their sales, profits and employment.” Rest on your laurels, and soon you will no longer be seen as a leader in your industry. In no time, customers may begin to jump ship in search of your more tech-savvy competitors, and your profits may plummet.

IT as Innovation Partners

Admittedly, finding ways to be innovative can be difficult. After all, most businesses tend to be risk-averse and balk at inevitable upfront costs. However, leading the charge in technology innovation will be worth it in the long run and keep you competitive in today’s ever-evolving world. You just have to know where to start. Or rather, who to ask for help.

By the very nature of working in IT, IT team members tend to be more in tune with new emerging technologies, and they should have a comprehensive understanding of how your company works and what would benefit it the most in innovation terms.

The IT team almost always works with members from every department across the entire company. That in and of itself is unique. They can see the big picture and may have a few ideas of how new technology could serve not just the IT department but every employee of your company through innovation.

Breaking Down Silos and Driving Collaboration

Naturally, there are bound to be some roadblocks on the path to company-wide cohesion and innovation, such as ineffective communication, lack of communication tools, and/or the silo mentality. Employees can be reluctant to share information with other departments for many reasons: lack of camaraderie, inconvenience, or simple laziness. Combating those obstacles is step one to company-wide collaboration.

Not sure where to begin? You may be looking for inspiration in the wrong place. Since your IT team is probably unique in that they work with all departments (even if it’s just as tech support), it’s worth meeting with them specifically to see if they have any ideas to drive better collaboration through innovation. For example, an in-house ticketing system, and OTRS is one of the many available ones, could be implemented by your IT team to improve operations and outcomes across all departments. A ticketing system helps everyone, regardless of their department, understand what needs to be done, who will do it, and when it needs to be finished. Getting all employees to use the same system can pull each department and team member onto the same page and keep things running smoothly.

Facilitating Enterprise-Wide Processes

Cohesiveness seems simple, but it can be hard to achieve, particularly in larger companies. For most companies, it’s unrealistic to have just one team. After all, jobs within an organization differ so radically (accounting, sales, marketing, tech support, product development, etc.) that splitting up into departments makes far more sense. Unfortunately, with that separation frequently comes communication and innovation breakdowns.

Rather than picking a random process and hoping for the best, look to your IT team for assistance in designing or automating these systems. No one in your company will have a better grasp of your specific hardware, software, problem areas, and performance gaps. For example, perhaps your IT team gets several calls a week about a specific problem but from various employees or departments. You may not even be aware that this problem exists. Still, I’d bet your IT team has some ideas on how to fix it permanently by creating an interdepartmental solution. Even if it’s a problem each department only runs into once a month or so, if you add all your departments together, that’s a lot of lost time and productivity. Your IT team may be the only group aware of how persistent the problem is because of their unique perspective within the company.

Shining a Light on Shadow Technology

It’s important that tools and/or programs be carefully vetted and implemented properly to be safe and effective. Employees occasionally go rogue with innovation and sign up for a tool they think will be useful for either themselves or their specific department without proper authorization. These shadow technologies may help that individual in the short run but could be devastating for your company in the long term.

Let’s start with the obvious: if the IT team has not sanctioned a program, it inherently poses a cybersecurity risk. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and can be hard for the average employee to spot. In search of a solution for their problem, a team member may unknowingly have downloaded a virus alongside the unauthorized software.

By encouraging open communication with all departments, and particularly with the IT department, you can cut down on these ill-advised ventures. Next time an employee runs into a problem, rather than attempt to solve it themselves, they will hopefully feel comfortable approaching the IT team and working together to come up with a solution – one that’s safe and hopefully will benefit more than just the one individual. Having departments bring their ideas to the IT Team gives the technology used within your company a focal point. It will hopefully foster more collaboration, innovation, and cohesion as problems, ideas, and potential solutions are exchanged.

Cohesion is Key to Innovation

In many regards, the IT team members are the unsung superheroes of the business world. Without them, servers would crash, websites would fail to load, orders wouldn’t be received, and Todd from accounting never would get his emails to send. Next time you struggle to stay ahead of the latest technology trends or your departments can’t seem to agree, turn to those men and women in their invisible capes and listen to what they say. They might just use innovation to save the day.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this innovation and collaboration article, you may also enjoy some of the articles listed below.

John Coggins
Business Relationship Manager at OTRS Group

John Coggins is a long-time business relationship manager for OTRS Group, a service management SaaS solution provider. He is passionate about helping IT and business teams work together more efficiently to better support customers and drive company-wide objectives.

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