Help your company sell its products and save money

I love the company I work for and they have been very good to me. The problem is that the company isn’t doing well financially. My job in IT is not currently at risk, but many others are fearful that they will soon lose their jobs. What can I do to help my company and in turn, help my follow employees?

Thank you for emailing me your question and good for you for wanting to help your company and your fellow employees. As IT professionals, particularly in a big company, it’s easy to forget that the work we do can directly impact both the company’s expenses and its revenues.

Before discussing these items one at a time, let’s first talk about IT’s role within the company. Our job as IT professionals is to provide technology to all parts of the company in a way that enhances our fellow employees’ productivity and effectiveness. What this means is that, by definition, we help

• Sales people make more sales • Finance people better manage company-wide budgets and expenses • Customer Service people better serve company customers • Human Resources people maximize employee value • Compliance better watch over internal activities • Manufacturing build better products • . . . and every other internal group maximize the quality and quantity of their work

I know that this is true, because if we didn’t, then IT would not exist as an internal business function. Therefore, IT, like no other organization can help the company succeed in every aspect of its professional endeavors.

So, to answer your question, you and your fellow IT professionals can truly have a significant impact on your company as described below:

There are a number of ways that you can help reduce company expenses. The most obvious, of course, is for the IT group to work to reduce its overall cost to the company. The standard cast of characters that are included in this type of cost reduction include:

• Retiring hardware and software that is no longer used and/or could be efficiently done in other ways. • Reduce project scope using the 80/20 rule. Namely, 80% of the value of a project can generally be received from 20% of its overall effort. • . . . and certainly countless other items, most of which are probably already being deployed within your organization.

Now let’s discuss the true ways IT can help minimize the company’s overall expenses. Note that these items are not related to reducing our budget, they are related to us doing our job and doing it well.

• Work proactively with our business partners to reduce their costs through easy-to-employ inexpensive technologies. For example, writing new reports that will save people from doing things manually, cleaning up people’s PCs so they run more quickly. • Be an agent of change. Maximizing process efficiently is a core competency of most IT professionals. Work with your business partners to help them design better ways to get their work done. The longstanding/old name for this is Process Reengineering.

On the revenue side, there are also a number of things that IT can to help maximize company sales and other moneys coming in. They include the development and enhancement of sales customer service tools that help maximize the effectiveness of the company’s sales force. These tools include:

• Customer Resource Management (CRM) • Pre-sales tools, such as custom calculators, product demo tools • Easy to use order management tools helping to facilitate efficient order taking • Website-based order placement to allow customers to directly order products without salesperson intervention • Customer Service tools that allow people within the Customer Service group to more quickly help customers solve their issues. This has a three way benefit of making customers happy, reducing customer service costs, and allows customer service people to back sell additional products and services to in-calling customers.

In closing, yes, all of these ideas take company money and resources to accomplish; neither of which your company can currently spare if they are having financial difficulty. If you, and your fellow IT professionals, have this headset, many small, impactful changes can probably be made, each of which may be small, but collectively could provide great current and future value to the company you love.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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