Slideshow

SLIDESHOW: Seven things IT should be doing (but isn't)

Pity the poor IT managers.

  • No 1: Follow your users. IT often complains that users don't understand technology, but the opposite is also true -- IT recommendations don't always reflect the real world of users. Find out how people actually use technology inside your company by shoulder-surfing your biggest customers. Feeling users' pain can be very sobering -- and very powerful in delivering competitive edge.

  • No 4: Flirt with disaster. Many organizations think they have a disaster recovery plan in place, only to find out too late it's inadequate. And it's more than just backup: It's about having a strategy that makes sense in real-world situations -- when more than just your technology is down. Update your strategy regularly and perform dry runs. Unless you can show it truly works, you don't have a plan.

  • No. 7: Follow the money. If IT wants to overcome its reputation as a corporate money suck, tech managers need to learn a few things about the bottom line -- including how to translate long-term goals into quarterly results for the CFO. Besides, being able to present your IT case in a financially astute way will greatly enhance your chances of driving your decisions through the organization.

  • No. 6: Plug data leaks. Data spills are almost inevitable, but you can minimize risk and mitigate damage by keeping an eye on orphaned accounts, lax oversight of permissions, and mobile data access. Get current with your security model to deal with today's threats by implementing an overarching strategy for mobile security, taking into account technology, user populations, and processes.

  • No 2: Embrace Web 2.0. Like it or not, we live in a Facebook/Twitter/iPhone world. And if your line-of-business apps don't sport the latest features, you could lose your best young employees to a company that does. Today's tech-savvy youth expect to interact with the system from everywhere, on every device. If you don't provide that, and energize your employees around your technology, somebody else will.

  • No. 3: Tame the data monster. Bad, incomplete, or unusable data has been the bane of thousands of enterprises. Even data that's perfectly usable in one form may be useless in a broader context -- which leads to poor decision-making. Make sure your data is accurate and relevant to drive business initiatives before the ongoing data deluge consumes you.

  • Not only do they have to develop new skills, maintain the old, and deal with a data tsunami that will never slow down, but they also have to protect the company jewels from devastating data spills, gird for disasters of unknown proportions, and know what end-users want -- even if end-users can't articulate it themselves. Tough job? You bet. Here are seven (more) things to add to your must-do list. Ignore them at your peril.

  • No 5: Capture old knowledge (before it disappears). Odds are some of your key business data is written in an ancient computer language, locked away on old iron, or buried inside the brains of aging coders. Capture that knowledge and bring it into the service-oriented century, or pay the consequences.

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