Information Technology: Addition Through Subtraction
It’s no secret to people who perform internal financial analysis that IT departments consume a large amount of company’s resources; that they are strictly overhead costs without any return on investment. This line of thinking is the reason so many IT departments are understaffed and underequipped. They are often provided with the smallest amount of resources necessary to maintain the status quo with very little room to grow and flourish as companies continue to
However, there is a very well-kept secret amongst IT departments; well-kept because most people in the IT industry don’t realize it themselves and that is the add value of their costly expenditures. Every expenditure decision from a IT department can be traced back to increasing availability, accessibility, productivity, security and compliance.
Technologies that provide high availability and accessibility enable employees to remain productive. Technologies like cloud solutions, VPN tunnels, terminal servers, and virtualization allows employees to work by accessing company specific resources so long as they have access to a computer. This is especially useful for dealing with emergencies or meeting deadlines by allowing employees more flexibility in how they tackle day to day work problems.
Security and compliance technologies like encryption, firewalls, and Intrusion Prevention systems, not only help companies comply with data privacy laws avoiding costly fines but helps ensure data remains untampered with. Solid security practices also help build a strong image in the minds of consumers by mitigating the chance of a breach and in the event of a breach being able to highlight all security precautions were evaluated and deployed. At eScholar we are always in a cycle of evaluating security products and hardening our systems to ensure we are compliant with FERPA and SOC.
In addition to addressing these elements, IT expenditures into newer technologies these days typically provide reporting and metrics which can be converted into actionable intel by management. As an example, take any web filtering technology. They allow the IT department to view and block malicious websites and often break down websites by most visited. If the IT department observes that many employees are going out to job boards, management in HR could be notified that there is a morality problem and stop valuable internal knowledge from leaving the company.
It is through these qualitative metrics that IT departments can demonstrate a ROI to companies bottom line and is the reason why quantitative metrics aren’t always the best metric to measure success and contributions.