Don’t forget about your IT Department at Christmas

December is, for most organisations, the busiest time of the year, not only in terms of revenue. The end of the year usually marks the time where workers finish off their projects as well as plan for the next year.

So what does this mean for your IT Department?

I asked a few IT Professionals the same question:

Mike Rigsby – Network Administrator – If a company has a forced closure during the holidays it can potentially lead to lost productivity. There is also an increase in network load as departments, such as Accounting, work on year-end tasks.

Eric Kolb – Information Security Team Leader – One of the perhaps less thought of challenges is year-end crunch. A lot of businesses that aren’t retail focused get into the fourth quarter where sales are lagging, and that’s the time when a lot of quick turnaround projects are requested. As in, “Let’s have this by Jan 1.” Mature project planning can blunt this, but for organizations that aren’t that far along, it gets frustrating because IT needs to churn out miracles just to appear competent.

Anne Waldman – Desktop Engineer – In retail most of the year’s profit is made around Christmas, so we have a “frozen time” where we are not allowed to make any changes to any system at all. This leads to another kind of problem as all our projects have to be done before the frozen time.

In this digital age organisations rely heavily on their IT Department to have everything running smoothly, thus allowing the organisation to operate correctly. With all this pressure on their shoulders, as well as the extra work being thrown at them during December – it’s likely that there are going to be problems.

So what can be done?

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT®) is an IT governance control framework which helps organisations meet business challenges in the areas of regulatory compliance, risk management and aligning IT strategy with organisational goals. Implementing COBIT can help your organisation:

  • improve and maintain high quality information to support business decisions;
  • use IT effectively to achieve business goals;
  • use technology to promote operational excellence;

By incorporating IT into business decisions rather than just providing them with the work, your organisation will become more productive. Not only that, but you’ll also be getting as much value from your IT Department as possible.

You can learn more about COBIT with the COBIT 5 – A Business Framework for the Governance and Management of Enterprise IT book

Another improvement which can be made to ensure that all IT projects are correctly managed, is by using agile project management. You can learn more about agile project management in Breaking the Addiction to Process – An Introduction to Agile Development

Is there anything else?

It’s Christmas, buy your IT Department some coffee – they’ll need it.