The IT team in any small business is a vital one. More and more work is being done online. Buyers are shopping via websites and customers are asking questions virtually rather than over the phone. If the technology in your small business is failing, you need your IT team to act swiftly.
Are you setting them up for success? With these four tips and tools, you can improve workflows and make your team more productive.
Take the Project Management Out of Email
Project management is a huge time suck. You have to break down large jobs into small tasks and then dole them out to the respective team members. That’s not the hard part. What’s more difficult is tracking deadlines, who’s finished what, and the progress completed.
There are several free tools to manage projects for IT teams in small businesses.
One great platform is Trello. Trello is a project management app accessible on both the computer and on mobile devices. No matter where your team members are, they can access updates about specific projects, see deadlines, find the tasks assigned specifically to them, and get moving. Under each project you can use lists to track each team member’s progression, and assign individual tasks to the person responsible.
Asana is another project management tool ideal for team members. This tool has its own mobile app so team members can log in anywhere, anytime. There is a small learning curve, which shouldn’t be a hindrance for your IT team. Once you get your projects up and running, it’s easy to use.
These days, there’s no reason IT teams need to come together in a conference room to hash out projects that need completing. Save your team hours on drive times by collaborating virtually.
GoToMeeting is a great collaboration tool for bringing geographically diverse teams together online. Send each team member the login link and when you expect them to be on screen, and away you go. You can share your screen, connect on video for a face-to-face feel, or even mute teams if they need to keep working while listening to your message.
Skype is another great tool for connecting virtually. This offers the same features (albeit a little less robust) as GoToMeeting, without the price tag.
Share the Big Picture
IT teams tend to focus on problem solving. It’s rare they’re in the trenches with the overall strategy of the business, and that could be a lost opportunity. By looping them in via your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, you can show the importance of their work in keeping the customers happy and dollars flowing into the business.
Insightly is commonly used by small businesses to manage customer concerns with IT departments. Customer relationships teams connect directly with the people in the IT department who can resolve issues with checking out online, problems with the website, or other IT related difficulties. The IT department can see the conversation and have full insight into what the customer needs fixed. This saves hours eliminating the middleman and getting customers’ needs resolved quickly.
Allow Virtual Work
Today’s workforce should be less centered on when and where the person is working but whether the employee is getting the job done. This is especially true in the world of IT.
Most IT jobs can be done virtually, which means you can offer your team a tremendous perk by allowing them to work anywhere. Still, as a business, you want to track what’s happening and how many hours your team is spending on IT tasks.
Toggl is a free tool that can help you see the breakdown in hours for your IT team. Using this tool can help you get deeper insight into your IT member’s day than if he was in your office working. It tracks time spent on specific tasks so you can see exactly what’s draining his hours and assess where he could be better utilized in the company.
Time Savings Starts With Tools
Technology today continues to advance in a way that allows you to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time getting work done. By using these tools in your business, you set your team up to be more productive and more effective without working overtime.
This article was originally published on Smallbiz Technology.