7 ways to overcome IT challenges and drive agility enterprise-wide
IT leaders must address outdated legacy applications, disparate systems and other challenges to modernize business operations.
If you want your people to actually use a given technology, they need to know how to use it — and how it adds value to the way they work.
At many organizations, there’s a gap between what an end user needs to know in order to do their job and what IT needs to know in order to design and deploy an impactful solution.
And as most IT leaders know, this leaves teams open to criticism about how well a solution works for end users. In times of stress or rapidly changing conditions, the gaps — and the criticism — can intensify.
This puts IT departments at the confluence of corporate goals and end user adoption. It’s not an easy place to be.
IT needs a platform that not only levels up to align with leadership, but also helps solve the day-to-day challenges of employees and customers. Adaptability and usability are key. What good is a tech solution that potentially solves big problems if no one is using it?
We’ve examined the challenges IT leaders face now and will face for the foreseeable future, and identified solutions and strategies for moving forward with the multilevel alignment that will propel your organization forward.
1. Automate strategically
A lack of modern automation and integration options overburdens employees with tedious tasks that cause burnout and churn
Seamlessly integrated systems are key to automating entire processes, not just individual tasks. Ironically, the act of integrating is often undertaken manually. But it doesn’t have to be.
Robust robotic process automation (RPA) enables you to get new technology running quickly and seamlessly with your other core systems. Without prebuilt connectors, getting a new platform manually coded for integration can slow implementation and user adoption. You’re then left struggling to unite disparate systems.
The best RPA solutions help IT alleviate the burden of menial tasks that slow down employees. It becomes easier to connect enterprise systems, so no custom integrations need to be built by the IT team.
Though the technology has been around since the early 2000s, its usage “has accelerated with other automation-enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning,” according to the whitepaper, Frost & Sullivan Research Suggests RPA Tied to Company Success, Profitability. Some of the best use cases for RPA in IT include tasks such as server monitoring and alerts, batch processing, password resets and data backup.
Businesses can continue looking at processes that are structured, rule-based, voluminous and repetitive, and where human effort does not add value. And of all functional business areas, the most rules- and data-heavy in most organizations are IT, HR, finance and accounting. Other possibilities include:
- Case management and/or records management
- Manufacturing and warehousing
- Customer communications and sales
- R&D, vendor and legal contracts
> Get started | 10 RPA implementation best practices
2. Integrate with legacy systems
Legacy applications create security risk and ongoing costs.
Legacy systems weren’t designed to handle remote work at scale and with immediacy. Nevertheless, your distributed workforce needs to stay connected. The influx of new applications, data and processes — especially in the absence of clear communication, change management and thoughtful integration — can create gaps in automation and in integrations with legacy systems. This may result in employees creating manual workarounds that address new inefficiencies, security weak spots and process gaps.
Your content services platform (CSP) should fill the gaps and integrate the content and process management between your other systems, whether it’s financial data, customer data, employee data or some other core business system. If your legacy ECM solution continues to add costs without continuing to add value, conversion should be part of the conversation.
Warning signs: Your legacy system may be losing efficacy
The cost to go live with a software solution is only a fraction of the lifetime total cost of ownership (TCO). Often, the system you’ve relied on for years grows too costly or too complex to maintain. Whether it’s heavy administrative overhead, third-party services or custom development, maintaining an outdated system that no longer serves your needs The cost to go live with a software solution is only a fraction of the lifetime total cost of ownership (TCO). Often, the system you’ve relied on for years grows too costly or too complex to maintain. Whether it’s heavy administrative overhead, third-party services or custom development, maintaining an outdated system that no longer serves your needs drives up your TCO.
You need a single platform that is configurable and scalable. One that can easily integrate, wrap and extend legacy systems with new, modern core systems. This gives you better access and greater control of your information in a safe and secure environment.
The ability to access and process sensitive data without human involvement reduces the risk of exposure and enables defensible audit trails and chain of custody. Coupling a modern platform with RPA can also improve business continuity and disaster recovery, as copies of core processes can be backed up and restored off-site.
> Learn more | Switching to Hyland and modernizing your legacy technology
3. Unburden your staff
Customers and employees alike require technology solutions that provide intuitive, consumer-like experiences.
Best-of-breed content services with robust integration and automation options, including RPA, unburden your staff and enable streamlined employee and customer experiences.
Your IT department has a direct effect on user experience, from the applications they provide to the way people log on to systems or the devices they use. Aligning with a vendor that can provide modern, consumer-like experiences — like modern app interfaces and product features — means everyone wins, enterprise-wide.
With the extra layer of work required to manage remote workers and all the systems and interfaces that keep them connected, IT teams are busier than ever. An effective, cloud-based content services strategy gives them the flexibility to react at a moment’s notice to new and emerging needs.
4. Information governance
An overabundance of data and content in different formats and across various systems must be proactively governed.
Data is created in our world at staggering rates: “On average, information volume coming into organizations is expected to grow by 4.5X over the next two years, with nearly 60% of that information to be unstructured (like a contract or a conversation) or semi-structured (like an invoice or a form),” according to AIIM.
But that information intake becomes jeopardized within a faulty governance structure, where different departments operate on their own. This is often due to lack of access to IT resources and can lead to business units creating their own workarounds that do not follow accepted processes.
The solution is a modern, connected platform that does the governance for you.
With a secure cloud provider, compliance is embedded into systems and processes. For example, when it comes to IT resources, healthcare organizations rely on several core systems — from content services to electronic medical record (EMR) and enterprise imaging solutions — to instantaneously deliver vital patient care information to clinicians when and where they need it. Those same solutions are used in reverse — capturing vital information, classifying and organizing it, and storing it for later reference.
Beyond healthcare, any organization looking to consistently manage volumes of data — even data that requires the strictest regulations — should look to automation to remove many of the risks surrounding data governance. Tools like intelligent capture and extraction automatically ingest data using pattern recognition (not templates) to recognize and interpret the information on a document. This technology learns what kind of data it should expect by processing just a few sample pages and begins to understand the different document types and data locations on each, routing them and even destroying them based on specific organizational or governmental rules.
The right provider will constantly evaluate and evolve its practices to protect customer data. With experts taking care of your security, you remove the strain and cost of internal teams trying to keep up with, and prepare for, the constantly evolving cybersecurity landscape.
> Learn more | Mitigating disaster: The case for cloud-based business continuity and disaster recovery plans
5. Enable rapid development & deployment
Legacy systems lack the scalability, flexibility and features to support business growth and changing business requirements.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Has your vendor stopped providing meaningful product enhancements?
- Does its development roadmap still align with your needs?
- How robust are the support and training programs?
Whatever the situation, if your organization has evolved to meet new service expectations and operational standards – but your platform hasn’t – you’re putting yourself behind (at best) and at risk (at worst).
When your legacy system can’t provide the features your organization needs, or can’t develop them, your business processes can’t evolve to create new efficiencies. Without continual product improvements, your legacy solution will require time-consuming workarounds, adding to your system’s mounting TCO.
If your ECM solution runs on an outdated platform that doesn’t easily connect with other core business systems, you risk leaving your employees without quick access to all the information required to make decisions, manage processes and provide excellent customer service.
Conversion to a platform that enables rapid development and deployment of solutions is an opportunity to gain new functionality like workflow management, document capture, information governance or integration with email systems or mobile devices. All of these can greatly improve access to information as well as your processes.
Requiring employees to spend time on low-value, menial, manual work that could easily be automated is a virtual guarantee that they’ll start looking elsewhere for work that allows them more creativity and connection.
Also, consider that your employees are also consumers themselves. That means they’re now expecting consumer-like app experiences at work, especially those working from home. For remote employees, the difference in software experience between intuitive consumer apps and clunky, outdated work apps can seem incredibly jarring, leading them to seek more progressive employers with better tools.
6. Fight developer shortages with low-code
Developer shortages hinder IT’s ability to deliver the innovative solutions the business needs.
According to IDC, the worldwide shortage of full-time developers will increase to 4 million in 2025. Having an extensible platform to meet unique requirements is crucial to building a flexible framework that can manage the ebbs and flows of an unpredictable work environment.
A low-code platform offers agility and lower maintenance, reduces IT sprawl and maximizes return on investment by consolidating multiple applications across the organization as well as in the IT department. Users can make changes more quickly and errors can be backtracked or resolved immediately. Additionally, low-code apps will update when the development platform updates, reducing the resources you spend on regular maintenance.
By using a low-code platform’s visual development environment to enable easy configuration by means of drop-down menus and checkboxes, even line-of-business users can build and tweak mission-critical applications — as opposed to traditional software development that requires developers.
You’ll centralize asset management, connecting all information and work requests related to the procurement, maintenance and repair of IT assets — making them easily accessible to all IT staff. You can also track all IT service ticketing processes with standardized electronic forms to accelerate resolution times and improve service speeds and levels.
> Learn more | Explainer: The low-code vs. no-code debate
7. Avoid technology gaps
Technology gaps prevent the organization from achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage
We all know that — for reasons of security, accessibility, performance, interoperability and ease of ownership — the future of most enterprise applications is in modern, cloud-powered platforms.
Cloud-enabled content services delivered via software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) models allow for accelerated deployments and elastic provisioning. You’ll be able to leverage open standards and take advantage of native integration to cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). And, as you build your digital transformation roadmap around cloud-enabled content services, you empower your teams to solve business problems that non-cloud users just won’t be able to address.
Finding a technology partner that shares your vision and provides resources and training throughout the relationship is priceless. You’ll have an always-available scope of native services, partnerships and integrations that can deliver now and grow in scale and ambition as your business and its requirements evolve over time.
> Read the e-book | Build your business case for the cloud