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February 26, 2014

IT Organizations: Built to Last

By TMCnet Special Guest
Ajay Kaul, managing partner at AgreeYa Solutions

Over the past two decades, technology has advanced exponentially; and because of that burgeoning growth, IT organizations have seen tremendous expansion. As the IT industry continues to evolve, one question becomes more relevant: how does one build an IT organization that is both impactful and lasting?

Flip through any business magazine and you will find article upon article suggesting general guidelines for increasing workplace motivation, perfecting employee performance, and banishing mediocrity; and while this advice is well-meaning, lasting IT organizations need to look deeper and must be founded on the following core principles:

  • Innovate or perish: Innovation begins with management. By fostering a culture that prioritizes innovation, creativity is incentivized among team members. Instead of cultivating a negative “have-to” environment where employees feel pressure to perform, embrace a constructive “what-can-we-do” approach where they feel free to be imaginative and forward-thinking.

    Investing in research and development helps to establish this culture and ensure the company will remain ahead of the curve. Recent data has shown the top 1,500 companies worldwide increased their R&D by 12 percent in 2011 by identifying the need to maintain their edge in their respective industries.

  • Customer centricity: It’s been shown that companies that prioritize their customers see greater business results and continually bring more innovative products to the market. By tuning into customer needs, a company is able to define the market in ways they could not have identified had they only looked inward. In addition, listening to your customers in order to deliver their delight will help retain them. There are a variety of tools that aid in capturing customer insight. Online surveys, social media and voice-of-the-customer events all help to ensure that a fact-based understanding of customer needs drives the company forward.

Customer centricity as a strategy reorients the entire business-operating model around the customer; it means understanding the customer’s point of view and respecting the customer’s interest. By doing this, it increases their overall satisfaction—and in the process, business profitability.

  • Managing change: Because technology is constantly evolving, it is imperative that companies adapt these new technologies and build an expertise around them. Presently, that means navigating through the implications of Big Data; building data warehouses and using business intelligence for decision-making; taking advantage and familiarizing oneself with cloud technologies; and also touching upon a new generation of employees, who may be more equipped to take advantage of social collaboration.

IT companies, in particular, need to be deliberate about getting out in front of change or risk being surpassed by advancing technology. And employees—not just the IT team—must be adequately trained on new technology in order to quickly adopt new applications.

  • Promoting an open culture and flexible work environment: Open communication between employer and employee is key to a successful organization; employees must feel well-informed and comfortable enough to provide input. This open culture is empowering to employees and encourages them to share their opinions and ask questions that help them do their work best.

A flexible work environment is sometimes dismissed in certain industries with the idea that employees get paid to be physically present. However, employers can create an environment in which flexible work can be successful. This may involve clearly stating goals and objectives relative to flexible schedules, providing the necessary tools and training, and ongoing support and feedback. This type of progressive workplace culture nurtures loyalty to the company—especially in younger employees.

  • Social responsibility: A new study from Nielson found that fifty percent of global consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society. Being socially responsible creates goodwill and a positive image for a brand, and a good reputation is one of the most valuable assets to a company.

Socially responsible companies have also been shown to develop greater employee pride. Studies have reported increased employee commitment, performance and job satisfaction.

  • Investment in people: Employees are the only assets an IT organization has. It is commonly held that an optimal workforce includes the right people, at the right place, at the right time. A recent Harvard study found that 80 percent of employee turnover was due to bad hiring decisions; and the Department of Labor estimates it can cost an average of one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace that person. It is critical to dedicate the necessary resources and time to finding and recruiting these “right people;” and then develop, manage and reward them accordingly.

Because the IT industry is constantly evolving, organizations that focus on innovation, customer satisfaction, giving back to their surrounding community, and the productivity and happiness of their greatest asset—their employees, will not only survive, but thrive amid IT’s diverse and ever-changing landscape.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ajay Kaul, managing partner at AgreeYa Solutions, brings over 25 years of experience in sales, staffing, and IT project management for clients throughout the world. As managing partner, Kaul has led AgreeYa through 15 years of success, leading the company in highly competitive and complex markets and driving significant profitable growth. Prior to founding AgreeYa, Kaul was responsible for managing engagements for Deloitte (News - Alert) Consulting, serving private and public sector clients.

ABOUT AGREEYA SOLUTIONS: AgreeYa Solutions is a global provider of software, solutions, and services focused on deploying business-driven, technology-enabled solutions that create next-generation competitive advantages for customers. Headquartered in Folsom, California, AgreeYa is a growing and dynamic organization with 15 offices in 8 countries employing more than 1,100 professionals. Over the past 15 years, AgreeYa has worked with 200+ companies ranging from Fortune 100 firms to small and large businesses, delivering solutions for variety of industries including telecommunications, BFSI, healthcare, high-tech, manufacturing, utility and government. AgreeYa’s software portfolio includes SocialXtend  (intranet and enterprise social collaboration), VDIXtend  (Desktop-on-Cloud), Onvelop (unified enterprise collaboration and communication suite), and Edvelop (single window collaboration and communication solution for 21st century learning). As part of its solutions and services offering, AgreeYa provides intranet and enterprise collaboration on SharePoint, cloud and infrastructure, enterprise mobility, product engineering, application development and management, independent software testing, and staffing (IT and risk/compliance) solutions. For more information, visit www.agreeya.com.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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