Earlier this week we talked about what is likely on the mind of your CIO: moving away from a reactive list of technology projects requested by other departments to a proactive approach that aligns IT with business outcomes. So what can IT staff do to prepare for or get in line with this new philosophy? The answer is plenty.
The big picture debate about big data – how to manage it and use it to improve efficiency, decision-making, and the customer experience – can turn into a proactive action item in the hands of IT staff, by helping your company efficiently access and leverage the data inside your AS/400 or IBM Power System.
Understanding the needs of each department of your company is key to coming up with solutions that create more efficiency and drive business goals.
Digital tools available to your marketing department allow granular tracking of prospect and customer behavior. Whether it is tracking website visits, open rates for emails, Google page rank, or any of the other metrics that indicate traction with prospects, your marketing department is using this information to constantly fine-tune digital outreach. Report software can be used to automatically run reports that gathers data into user-friendly excel and word reports.
Sales managers want a frequent look at the big picture numbers because they are being asked by sales management to forecast results. Sales Reps are constantly measuring how they are doing against quota, wanting timely updates on closed business. This is another example of a critical process that report software can automate, eliminating costly and time-consuming print runs, and quickly getting reports into the hands of managers and reps. Here’s a case study about a retailer who uses our report software to keep both reps and sales managers happy and up-to-date with time sensitive data.
The Finance department is hounding the sales managers for forecasting numbers because it is under pressure from the CEO and outside analysts to closely predict how the company is going to perform each quarter. Both public and private companies need this data to show to investors and the executive board, and for internal planning. At the same time, the Finance Department needs report software to aggregate its own data on how each area of the company is performing on a cost basis. Your CFO or controller is also constantly on the hunt to find creative ways to cut costs. Distribution software that eliminates paper, ink, and labor costs is a good investment that can pay for itself in a matter of months.
The Accounting department has the responsibility to both invoice customers and pay vendors on a timely and cost-effective basis. Forms software allows for customization of email invoicing and customer communications, and provides automation to the process that can be easily adjusted on a per customer basis. Check out this case study on a refrigeration company that was able to automate its invoicing process with spool file software and save millions of dollars by using Forms software. Laser check printing is another cost-saving option that puts an end to expensive stationery orders and labor-intensive mailings.
Human resources needs to be able to quickly access data on each employee, especially if there is a complaint on the part of the employee, a manager, or a customer. Legal issues may also prompt a data search. Your database holds a wealth of data but poorly programmed database search software can produce poor results and slow down performance.
Another way you can help all departments in your company is to provide protection for your IBM Power Systems. Many companies do not have the staff to cover monitoring 24/7. Emergency notification software is like having another pair of eyes constantly watching for error messages that can slow down or even shut down your AS/400 or IBM i.
Finally, ever wonder why sometimes your computer slows to a crawl? Sometimes a poorly worded search query input into inadequate database software can literally slow performance for the entire company. The answer is not getting more hardware. It’s making the most of the hardware you have by having good database software.
IT staff that wants to stay in synch with the CIO and the rest of the C-Suite in 2014, will develop a wider view of IT as an integrated part of the business team with shared goals and responsibilities for meeting those goals. High performing software solutions efficiently pull data from your IBM Power Systems, automate and schedule tasks, and format critical data into easily accessed reports for each area of your company. Including an IBM i (AS400, iSeries) system monitoring solution to check for error messages improves workflow and protects equipment.
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