‘Key dependency’ is one of the risks overlooked in many organisations, IT businesses in particular. These key dependencies, which are easily identifiable, will often be viewed as strengths so it’s easy to focus on that and not what would happen if your business were to lose them.
Before we discuss how to reduce key dependencies, let’s quickly make sure you’re clear on what they are…
3 common key dependencies
Risk of losing business continuity
You may have certain employees who are seen as the ‘go to’ members, especially as they’ve worked within the business for a long time. As a result, when they aren’t around, this may interrupt business continuity and therefore affect the smooth running of the business.
Risk of knowledge concentration
When your business information and knowledge are locked into one individual, it’s the equivalent of having all your eggs in one basket. Best practice knowledge needs to be shared widely amongst the team so they can manage with or without any employee.
Risk of knowledge restriction
If best practice documentation and knowledge are restricted to a small number of individuals, this can limit the growth of your business.
So then, what are these 3 best practices to reduce key dependency?
1. Introduce process control
Start mitigating risk by standardising your business processes. Value-driven management tools will allow you to document and record the way your business works and implement process control.
It’s important to keep these processes live and current. If not, you’ll once again find your business relying on those key dependencies. Process control will also help your business support partners identify key and strategic areas for improvement.
On top of all that, these tools can be used to create training documentation for new employees, reference guides for current ones and provide a central resource to review your processes effortlessly.
2. Have an effective ticketing system and knowledge base articles in place
Having access to an effective ticketing system via your Managed Service Partner (MSP) will provide greater expertise and resource when needed. So, when the knowledge base articles don’t quite give you the answers you need you can still significantly reduce the risk of knowledge concentration or business continuity.
Knowledge base articles can enhance the knowledge of your team and mitigate the over-reliance on individuals. Use simple tools and a common approach to provide blogs, step-by-step guides and more for the team to use.
3. Cross-train your team and consider outsourcing
Cross-training is another highly effective technique that can help you overcome the risk of relying on key individuals. Encouraging the collaboration of critical information and ensuring it’s communicated throughout your team is vital in creating a wider spread of knowledge.
Outsourcing can achieve the same thing and widen the spread of knowledge, only this time with the help of external partners such as an MSP. Whether that be regular visits by experts to your site, remote monitoring, help desk services or best practice training visits.
It’s also a great way to avoid overloading your key resources by letting your experts excel at what they’re good at.
An MSP can help…
The right MSP, such as Columbus, will help ensure a robust transition project after go-live. All of their consultants will be upskilled on your business and unique operational needs. That’s how an MSP can bring a high level of expertise and resource. This will create the smoothest possible handover from project to application support and essentially become an extension of your team.
And the risk of business continuity in-house, though it may still exist, can be better mitigated. For example, if a consultant leaves, is on holiday or seconded to another project, the knowledge and expertise will be evenly spread across the team so another consultant can pick up from where they left off.
To learn more about how Columbus Managed Services can help your business work more effectively, download our whitepaper below.