The 5 Biggest IT Mistakes Companies Make And How To Avoid Them

Young woman working at home

A new study released by research firm Gartner shows that employees are nearly two times more likely to pretend to be working when their employers use tracking systems to monitor their output. Gartner surveyed more than 2,400 professionals in January 2021.

Across the world, IT professionals are in charge of an increasing number of servers and data coming in from disparate sources, and they’re using way too many monitoring tools to make sense of it all. The Reducing Complexity in IT Infrastructure Monitoring: A Study of Global Organizations report by the Ponemon Institute sheds light on the challenges of troubleshooting and monitoring cloud and on-premises environments.

  • 24% said the handling of scale and complexity of IT infrastructure has improved
  • 29% said the ability to easily deploy and maintain server monitoring technologies has improved

The survey also found that while a significant percentage of IT practitioners are in charge of monitoring over 50 servers, only 33% felt that they could ensure performance and system availability with their current toolset. So how can IT effectively manage increasingly complex, hybrid environments, and what are the major missteps IT organizations can correct to build a more efficient approach to infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting?

Here are some of the biggest IT mistakes companies of all sizes make — and how to avoid them.

Problem #1: Too Many Tools

Seventy percent of IT professionals in the survey said that using data to determine root cause slows them down — ingesting and normalizing data of differing formats and types is tedious and unmanageable, and it’s difficult to make real-time decisions. This is often because companies use too many monitoring tools for single layers of their IT stack, such as networks or applications, which creates silos and inefficiencies. When data lives inside one tool but can’t access or communicate with data confined to other tools, IT practitioners lose context on what’s happening in their environment because they’re seeing only a part of the picture.

The Solution: The solution to too many tools and disparate data is a single, scalable monitoring tool that provides end-to-end operational visibility into hybrid environments.

Problem #2: IT and Business Friction

As digital business infrastructure increases in complexity, IT teams feel more pressure than ever to reduce business-impacting incidents. When IT systems fail, the ramifications go beyond the immediate financial loss of downtime — a business could lose customers and jeopardize its reputation, a harsh reality that keeps IT teams up day and night. According to Ponemon’s research, 61 percent of IT professionals say that lack of system availability and poor performance creates friction between IT and lines of business.

The Solution

In addition to a solution that allows IT to find the root cause to identify service interruptions, IT and business need to work together to design business and technical requirements in tandem.

Problem #3: No Way to Easily Identify Root Cause

Across the globe, IT professionals spend their days identifying and fixing server environment problems. Indeed, the Ponemon survey found that the top two challenges of troubleshooting, monitoring and cloud migration are:

  • Lack of insights to quickly pinpoint issues and identify the root cause
  • Complexity and diversity of IT systems and technology

When IT can’t find and fix issues quickly, it has a direct effect on the business.

The Solution: For IT to quickly fix problems, they need a monitoring tool that can surface an issue’s root cause with an alert about where and why something is wrong. Issue resolution time can be cut in half with a monitoring solution that correlates metrics and logs, and provides visualizations of alerts, trends and logs in one place. Making sure your monitoring tool can enable those types of actions and resolution planning is critical for success.

Problem #4: The Wrong Skills to Manage Application Complexity

When Ponemon asked IT professionals about the biggest risks to their ability to troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud:

  • 55%  said the increasing complexity of applications running on infrastructure
  • 44%  said a lack of skills and expertise to deal with application complexity

As infrastructure grows and evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult for IT teams to successfully manage, monitor and troubleshoot systems. Couple that with an IT skills gap that makes it difficult for organizations to attract and retain qualified talent, and it becomes clear why IT teams feel nonstop pressure.

The Solution: To effectively troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud, you need a solid plan that takes future growth into account is necessary for smooth IT operations. Business and IT need to work together to create an IT environment roadmap, followed by a talent strategy that aligns to that plan. Be sure to:

  • Identify skills gaps and adjust hiring
  • Identify and train qualified employees for advancement
  • Include succession planning for inevitable changes

Problem #5: Lack of Visibility Throughout Cloud Migration

Sixty-eight percent of IT practitioners said that ensuring application performance and availability throughout cloud migration caused the most stress. Over half said both cost and the inability to monitor and troubleshoot applications were their biggest pain points.

As infrastructure increases in complexity, the core responsibilities of IT to monitor and measure remain the same. So how can IT achieve infrastructure visibility and workload insights when performance data spans diverse environments?

The Solution: It’s critical to monitor performance across hybrid architectures with a monitoring solution that collects and correlates data from every location. Full visibility is needed throughout the migration process, so choose an end-to-end monitoring tool that allows you to establish a pre-migration baseline, mid-migration insights and post-migration success.

Before cloud migration, measure the baseline user experience and performance, and define acceptable post-migration levels. To accurately validate a migration’s success, use the same monitoring tool throughout the migration process. A unified tool can analyze centralized data and provide better insights from dashboards and reports.

For more of the biggest IT mistakes and solutions and examples of companies that have solved the problem check out: 8 Biggest Mistakes IT Practitioners Make and How to Avoid Them.

Splunk Inc. turns data into doing with the Data-to-Everything Platform. Splunk technology is designed to investigate, monitor, analyze and act on data at any scale.

Source: The 5 Biggest IT Mistakes Companies Make And How To Avoid Them

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9 Keys to Delegating Successfully

9 Keys to Delegating Successfully

For any entrepreneur, particularly when you are starting a new business, there is a danger of trying to do everything yourself. If you like to keep the world under control you may need to improve your delegation skills.

Delegation provides opportunities for people to feel empowered, supported and encouraged. It gives entrepreneurs a chance to reduce stress by spreading the work and sharing responsibilities amongst the team.

Here are my tips for improving delegation and gaining the benefits as your business grows:

1. Get to know your team.

If you have a new team – don’t go in like a bull in a china shop. Get to know your team, understand their ways of working, rules of engagement, foibles, and preferred styles of communication and you’ll be able to appreciate their world as it stands – before you add to it. Really get to grips with their deliverables and their concerns and challenges. These small steps can pay off over time.

2. Share the vision.

Be really clear about your vision and mission and share it with your team. If they understand the direction the team is going in, and the objectives that need to be achieved they will start to think about how they can contribute.

3. Ask for help.

A good saying is that “your success is only achieved through theirs” – and you have to mean it and let your team know this is how you operate. There’s no room for insecurity or game playing if you want to be an effective leader who delegates easily. If they can see your vulnerable side, where you are not perfect, where you make mistakes and don’t have all the answers, they will know that you value consulting with them and leveraging their knowledge and experience when solving problems. Ultimately, they will feel respected and valued.

4. Share and develop skills.

By ensuring that you have no silos (individuals with special skill sets that are potential single-point-of-failures if absent), delegating tasks across the team will upskill them and ensure that no-one, when they return from holiday or other absence, is faced with a pile of work – as it will have3 been absorbed by the team. This can create a harmonious team working environment where everyone has each other’s back. With this mindset people should be ready to take on other initiatives to help.

5. Give useful feedback.

If you can’t give great feedback that is useful and useable then it will become very challenging for you to delegate a second time. You need to give them specific examples of where things went well and why that was great.

If things didn’t go so well, help them articulate how they might mitigate that in the future so that the issues melt away. Reward them, in a meaningful way, for their efforts.

6. Encourage ideas.

You can build a culture of problem solving by being genuinely approachable and easy to work with. If you don’t want people to bring you problems to solve – ask your team to bring you solutions and ideas instead. They will likely feel empowered to try to figure out how to fix things before approaching you for approval to go ahead; thereby discouraging whinging and moaning about problems which they then expect you to solve.

If a team member comes up with a good idea ask them to lead on it, with you as a consultant (so they don’t feel vulnerable). This raises their profile, makes them feel respected and gives them a specific deliverable.

7. Be specific and say ‘why’ before ‘how.’

Humans are not robots – they need to understand why a task has to be done to understand the value they are delivering. Only then will they be able to absorb the policy, process and procedures.

When delivering instructions for a task – start with the end in mind and be specific about the desired end result. Clearly outline the lines of accountability, responsibility and authority. Be extra clear on touch points/milestones and deadlines – get them diarised. Organise a review once the work has ended so you can give feedback. Don’t be tempted to focus on how they got there – focus on the results achieved.

8. Play to their strengths.

Getting to know your team will help you to build mutual rapport, trust and respect. Its these things that help you decide whom to delegate to as you’ll know if they are able to cope with the work, or if it’s too much of a stretch. Take time to get to know how they like to be rewarded and why they come to work every day – then you will understand what words to choose when you are being persuasive and encouraging to them. It’s important to get to know your employees’ limitations so that you can push them a little but not drown them.

9. Improve self-awareness.

As an entrepreneur, its important to understand your impact on others. It will improve your ability to delegate effectively and your listening skills. Listening is the most useful skill you can cultivate. It validates the person speaking and makes them feel heard. It allows you to be a safe sounding board for the team. Ask for feedback from your team (it’s not a one-way street) and respond to that feedback if you can so they know you are paying attention and adapting.

As an entrepreneur your role is to lead the team as you build the business. You can’t do everything so learning about your team and delegating can help you avoid burn-out and become successful more quickly.

By Sam Warner

Source: 9 Keys to Delegating Successfully

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How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy

It seems like every business is struggling with the concept of transformation. Large incumbents are trying to keep pace with digital upstarts., and even digital native companies born as disruptors know that they need to transform. Take Uber: at only eight years old, it’s already upended the business model of taxis. Now it’s trying to move from a software platform to a robotics lab to build self-driving cars.

And while the number of initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “transformation” is so broad that it can seem meaningless, this breadth is actually one of the defining characteristic that differentiates transformation from ordinary change. A transformation is a whole portfolio of change initiatives that together form an integrated program.

And so a transformation is a system of systems, all made up of the most complex system of all — people. For this reason, organizational transformation is uniquely suited to the analysis, prediction, and experimental research approach of the people analytics field.

People analytics — defined as the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions — helps to replace decision making based on anecdotal experience, hierarchy and risk avoidance with higher-quality decisions based on data analysis, prediction, and experimental research. In working with several dozen Fortune 500 companies with Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics division, we’ve observed companies using people analytics in three main ways to help understand and drive their transformation efforts.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

So instead of starting with discovery conversations, people analytics data was used to baseline the time spent on the process in every country, and to map the networks of the people involved. They discovered that one country was 16% percent more efficient than the average of the rest of the countries: they got the same results in 71 fewer person-hours per month and with 40 fewer people involved each month.

The people analytics team was surprised — as was finance team in that country, which had no reason to benchmark themselves against other countries and had no idea that they were such a bright spot. The transformation office approached the country finance leaders with their findings and made them partners in process improvement for the rest of the subsidiaries.

It’s unlikely the CPG company would have been able to recognize and replicate these bright spots if they had undertaken transformation with a top-down approach. And, perhaps more importantly, it involved and engaged the people on the ground who had unwittingly discovered a better way of doing things.

In bottoms-up cultural transformation initiatives, the how things are done is equally or more important than what is done. Feedback loops and other methods of data-driven storytelling are our favorite way that people analytics makes culture transformation happen. Often times, facts can change the conversation from tired head-nodding to curiosity. One people analytics team in an engineering company was struggling to help develop the company’s managers, for example. Managers often perpetuated a “sink or swim” culture that didn’t fit the company’s aspirations to be an inclusive, humane workplace.

The data analysis found that teams whose managers spent at least 16 minutes of one-on-one time with each direct per week had 30% percent more engaged direct reports than the average manager, who spent just 9 minutes per week with directs. When they brought that data-driven story to the front lines, suddenly a platitude was transformed into a useful benchmark that got the attention of managers. In this way, data storytelling is a lightweight way to build trust among stakeholders and bring behavioral science to culture transformation.

Top-down strategic transformation is often made necessary by market and technology factors outside the company, but here people analytics is a critical factor for execution. A people analytics team can serve as an instrument panel of sorts to track resources, boundaries, capacity, time use, networks, skill sets, performance, and mindsets that can help pinpoint where change is possible and can measure what happens when you try it.

One people analytics team at a financial services company was trying to help the CEO manage growth while he worked to instill a new culture in which departments would be asked to run leaner and more competitive in the market – “scrappy” and “hungry” were terms that often came up. As the transformation accelerated, teams were asked to do more with less, generate more data, and make decisions faster. Amid this, department leaders began to hear anecdotes about burnout and change fatigue and questioned whether the pace was sustainable.

To address this, the people analytics team provided their CEO with a dashboard showing the number of hours that knowledge workers were active for in different teams. When an entire team is over-utilized, he knows they can’t handle more change, while under- or unevenly utilized teams might be more receptive. He can also slice the dashboard by tenure, to learn whether recent hires have been effectively onboarded before approving new hire requests to absorb extra work.

As organizations increasingly look to data to help them in their transformation efforts, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean having more data or better charts. It’s about mastering the organizational muscle of using data to make better decisions; to hypothesize, experiment, measure and adapt. It’s not easy. But through careful collection and analysis of the right data, a major transformation can be a little less daunting – and hopefully a little more successful.

By: Chantrelle Nielsen & Natalie McCullough

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AIHR – Academy to Innovate HR

What is People Analytics and how is it different from HR Analytics, Workforce Analytics, or Talent Analytics? What has made it so popular all of a sudden and why should you be excited about it? What is the ROI of People Analytics? These are the questions that will be answered in this video!

For more, related information, check out our HR analytics + digital human resources management courses and certification programs: 🎓 Learn everything you need to drive data-driven decision-making in HR (certificate program) 💥 https://bit.ly/3c6UQN8 🎓 Get the skills you need to use technology to make HR more effective (certificate program) 💻 https://bit.ly/2VjsdGm Have a greater strategic impact with data as an HR Business Partner 🎯 https://bit.ly/2vZou6a

Can’t decide? You can access all our courses and certificate programs with our full academy license 👩‍🎓 https://bit.ly/2w4k9P1 👋👋 P.S. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest HR Analytics developments! https://www.linkedin.com/school/aihr/

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How To Decide Which Role To Fill Next To Increase Your Organization’s Effectiveness

If you want to get more done in the same amount of time you have to add resources. Every leader there ever was has faced the immutable law that scope is a function of resources and time. To get more done, you must add tools to make yourself and others more productive and add appropriate people in different roles to increase capacity. The role to fill next is the one that provides the most important and most urgent leverage – likely contributors, managers, coordinators, deputies, and then chiefs of staff in that order.

At a high level,

  • Leaders inspire and enable others to do their absolute best, together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose.
  • Deputies are second in command, empowered to act in their leader’s absence.
  • Chiefs of Staff give leaders leverage by managing them, priorities, programs and projects, and communication.
  • Managers of units, functions, programs and projects directly manage pieces of the overall puzzle and are accountable for delivery of their unit, function, program or project’s results.
  • Contributors work for unit, function, program or project managers and are responsible for delivering their own work.
  • Coordinators administratively coordinate others’ efforts, but are neither accountable nor responsible – unless they are acting as program or project managers or contributors.

Regardless of title, people often wear different hats at different times.

One key is to understand each position’s accountabilities. In general,

Accountable: Overall ownership of results. Drives decisions. Ensures implementation.

Responsible: Does defined work.

Consulted: Provides input.

Informed: Kept up-to-date. (One-way communication.)

Deputies are accountable for the decisions they make in their leader’s absence.

Chiefs of Staff spend a lot of their time consulting and providing input, making others more efficient and effective across the enterprise.

Unit, function, program and project managers are accountable for delivering results in their areas and, in the spirit of bounded authority, make tactical decisions along the way.

Contributors are responsible for, wait for it, their contributions.

Coordinators spend their time communicating across the people within a project if they are the project coordinator or across projects if they are the program coordinator.

Now that you understand the difference between these various positions, how do you as a leader determine which you need next?

Contributors are your organization’s muscle, actually doing the work. Build your muscle before you do anything else.

Managers of units, functions, programs and projects are the heart of your organization, translating overall direction into unit, functional, program and project priorities and managing delivery. These are generally the highest leverage additions once you have enough contributors.

Coordinators add leverage by working behind the scenes to arrange and coordinate resources.

Chiefs of Staff are all about leverage. Their primary function is managing your priorities and communication. In these they are consulting (two-way communication) and informing (one-way communication.) Additionally, they may pick up direct management for priorities, programs or projects. When they do that they look like a manager.

Deputies are all about succession planning, capacity and development.

Your deputy is generally your designated successor. This is particularly true if your deputy has “deputy” in their title. If you move out for any reason, they should be ready, willing and able to step into your position instantly.

Deputies give you, yourself increased leverage. Deputies often have the title of Chief Operating Officer. Those deputies give leader’s increased leverage by managing operations. Alternately, your deputy could manage the organizational process (often with the title of Chief Human Resource Officer) or the strategic process (with titles like Chief Strategy Officer, CFO, CMO, General Counsel or others.)

You may choose to move someone into a deputy role to further their development. In this case, the deputy will not be your designated successor. Instead they could be being groomed for a different role. You might for example, transition a CFO from heading the finance function to serving as your overall deputy for a period of time to broaden their horizons before moving them into a business unit general management role.

Implications

Make sure everyone understands what their job is and is not, and how they should interact with others. In general, add contributors first to give you muscle and then unit, function, program and project managers to direct your contributors. Add coordinators to support them next. Then fill chief of staff and deputy roles to direct the managers.

Click here for a list of my Forbes articles (of which this is #660) and a summary of my book on executive onboarding: The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan. Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

George Bradt

 George Bradt

I focus on executive onboarding and leading through points of inflection to accelerate transitions, leveraging my own senior line management and consulting experience, as well as my books including “The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.”

Obtaining a career as a business professional after completing a higher education in organizational leadership online provides an opportunity to focus on improving the effectiveness of the company. Organizational effectiveness relates to the efficiency of a business; however, a professional must also focus on quality services. The key to organizational effectiveness is using the right tools and strategies to accomplish a specific goal. Find out more about how to improve organizational effectiveness: https://myonline.centralchristian.edu…

Efficiency is the wise use of both time and energy – this is something everyone, not just leaders, struggle with. The good new is that there are tools that can help us in our day to day workflow maximizing our time and communication for greater efficiency.

Here are 5 tools I recommend to become more efficient in your organization: Asana – https://asana.com/ Zoom – https://zoom.us/ Slack – https://slack.com/ Trello – https://trello.com/ Workplace by Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/workplace Have you used any of these? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Let’s connect on social media: Instagram: http://instagram.com/nilssmith Twitter: http://twitter.com/nilssmith Facebook: http://facebook.com/nilssmith Website: http://nilssmith.com #Efficiency #Organization #Workflow #Communication #Zoom #Asana #Slack #Trello

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