iT1 Resources

Unlock the Full Potential of Your Tech Investments

Modern organizations spend tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars on IT each year. Wherever your organization falls on that spectrum you want to get the most out of your investment. The question is how or rather how do you know you are unlocking the full potential of your technology investments? Today, there are as many answers to the question as there are organizations buying technology today.

If getting the full potential of your investment simply means that it does the one, two, three things you need it to do, then the answer to the question is simple. However, if you think investing thousands or millions of dollars in IT might provide additional benefits, you need a process and a partner to help you unlock more of your investment. Many IT applications and even hardware systems can do more than the thing or things that caused you to buy them.

Understanding the extras included in your current IT investments requires intent and knowledge. For example, many software vendors include new features in updated releases that you can install with your current service agreement. However, learning about the features and how they can benefit your organization requires effort from your IT teams to stay informed, or a VAR partner who understands how the new features might help.

Beyond monitoring and understanding new features, deploying the full potential of your investment, even to solve the one, two, three things you paid for, requires more than a cursory understanding of the software or system. For example, many system and monitoring software platforms feature an automated alert system to notify users when a measure is out of range. That is the cursory understanding of how to use the system. However, many modern monitoring systems allow access to the automated alert and routing system to allow for things like automated workflow outside of the alerting function.

While the example above might be simple, the point is that until you learn about this extended feature, you cannot benefit from it. Moreover, you might invest in another IT system to manage your workflow automation needs. In which case you are paying for the same functionality more than once. Why would you do that?

Team B bought what?

Given my tenure in IT, I can share there are likely dozens of instances in every medium to large scale organizations where Team A bought a new product to do work that could have easily been done by the thing Team B purchased last year. While the Team B thing may have only provided 92% of what Team A thought they needed, just consider the real costs here of operating another platform, paying support again, and the multiple learning curves required. Those are the real wastes when you fail to understand the potential of your current investments.

Gaining the knowledge to avoid this waste by getting everything you have already paid for requires that you first know everything you have paid for. Beyond new features and proper training, the basic step here is to have and maintain an accurate inventory. While that sentence may cause some eyes to roll knowing what you have is the shortest and cheapest step toward not buying the same thing again. Did you ever buy a bag of coffee just to get home and find two new ones in the cabinet? Now imagine investing another ninety thousand dollars, committing to a five year support contract, and sending your employees to weeks of training only to hear one of them say, “you know that system we bought last year can do the same thing”.

Combining the thoughts here, to ensure you unlock the full potential of your technology investment; first, know what you have today. Second, improve your knowledge about the technology you have already purchased by learning more and finding a partner to help. Third, pay attention to those updates that come with your service agreement. Finally, when someone requests a new system, ask if the current system that can deliver 90% will meet the need, at least to prove the ROI for the thing that can deliver just 10% more.

If you need guidance on your next IT investment, the experts at iT1 are here to help.


Dr. Mike Lewis serves as Chief Information Officer, EVP of Informatics, Security & Technology for Trillium Health Resources, a managed-care organization serving more than 350,000 members in North Carolina. He earned his Doctor of Management degree from George Fox University and is a former MBA adjunct professor at Maryhurst University. Mike has worked in the IT field for more than 25 years with stints at IBM, Merisel, and Dell.


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