IT Project Backlog Out of Control? Get More Done with Less Effort.

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Published on September 29, 2021 by

Paul Deur

As businesses strive to adapt more rapidly to change and gain a competitive edge, an ever-increasing number of digital transformation project requests are hitting IT managers’ desks. And according to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, the backlog of IT projects is growing – with IT teams lagging behind as much as 12 months as project demand outstrips IT resources.

The report, following a survey of 1,000 IT decision makers and business execs at major companies, will come as no surprise to you if you work in IT. IT complexity was already growing when, in 2020, companies were forced to make major changes to systems, delivery methods and even the way employees work and interact because of the pandemic. As teams tried to use their IT systems to manage those changes it became clear to many, what IT infrastructure managers already knew, that those systems were unable to deliver the agility that was so badly needed at that time.

With new requests hitting you from multiple directions and departments, the issue isn’t just how to coordinate and prioritize them but how to successfully run those new projects alongside your existing IT programs such as Windows servicing, and asset lifecycle management. And now you are tasked with delivering those programs to a high proportion of remote workers – which only adds to your workload.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to accelerating IT programs is being able to get a clear view across your environment. Knowing what assets you are supporting, who is using them, what they are accessing, where everything is and how all your IT components interact with or depend on each other are key questions to ask.

But it’s getting hard to answer those questions as you support a growing mix of end-user and company-owned devices and applications. 55% of the respondents to the EIU survey reported business units are doing more than IT to procure or develop new applications. This might come as no surprise to many - growing cloud adoption has made it simpler for purchases to be made outside of the IT domain. 53% of survey respondents expect that this decentralized decision-making process will increase over the next 12 months.

To access critical program data, you must turn to multiple IT tools, databases, and systems. You need to query your CMDB’s, ITSM’s, Access Management Systems, HR records and many more repositories, before you can aggregate the data in a single place and validate it by checking with team leaders and end users. Because your tools don’t communicate with each other this is usually managed by several people inputting data manually into a spreadsheet – and takes many hours, weeks, or months to do.

Once that is completed you need to analyze your data to understand dependencies and identify areas of project readiness and risk. This means more hours of pouring over data that by now is already out of date because by the time it’s taken you to aggregate and normalize it there will have been countless changes within the company. Depending on the size of your organization you could have thousands of incorrect entries. Even more when you think about possibilities of human error when manually inputting data.

It’s no wonder that so many IT projects run over time and budget when managed with so many manual processes.

Break down siloes created by multiple tools and systems

To gain true IT agility you need to:

  • Automate data collection, clean-up, and analysis to create a comprehensive, real-time view of all systems, applications, users, and their interdependencies.
  • Leverage this data to assess project risk and accelerate project planning.
  • Look at the repetitive tasks that are a part of every IT program – whether that’s communicating with end users and managers to validate information, or schedule human and system workflows – and automate them.

By doing this you will be able to do more with less and start to tackle the backlog.

If your enterprise IT tools, systems, and databases are proving to be a barrier to this, you aren’t alone. 83% of the EIU survey respondents said that adapting better to external change requires moderate-to-considerable IT infrastructure and app improvement. But there is an easier way of gaining IT agility and that’s by introducing a digital platform conductor (DPC) tool.

Gartner says that a DPC tool will enable IT leaders to strategically manage across their infrastructure. A digital platform conductor (DPC) conducts your existing systems. It extracts, aggregates, and normalizes critical program data from these systems, analyzes risk, automates, and orchestrates workflows, and provides real-time program status. By leveraging DPC capabilities you can:

  • Reduce risk and make more informed decisions on any program by getting a clear view of your IT infrastructure and dependencies.
  • Save time by reducing the manual effort associated with IT programs.
  • Create repeatable processes by conducting IT tools and systems to automate workflows across your project - including data discovery, scheduling, communications, testing, deployment, and reporting – and leverage those capabilities across all your IT programs.

In essence, a DPC will cut through your growing IT complexity to allow you to manage projects more efficiently and with less risk. The business requests aren’t going to end, and neither are your IT infrastructure programs. If you don’t want to lag further behind, consider leveraging the capabilities of a DPC.

ReadyWorks is a digital platform conductor. To understand how ReadyWorks can help you reduce program backlog, schedule a demo today.