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Is your organization equipped to handle the loss of a key IT team member? What if your organization is thrown into a crisis when that person leaves? Is this risk affordable?

Organizations need to develop a contingency plan to reduce their dependency in the event of personnel being away.

This is a critical and crucial aspect that every organization must implement and plan for when it comes to business continuity management. There are too many risks involved when IT operations rely on one or a few people.

  • Risk of losing business continuity - Loss of an employee (due to resignation, medical condition, holiday or retirement) may interrupt business continuity and affect profits.
  • Risk of knowledge concentration – When your business information and knowledge is locked into one person, it's like "putting all your eggs in one basket."
  • Risk of knowledge restriction - Limited knowledge across your organization can slow the pace of business.

Let's discuss the three best practices to ensure that significant dependency risks are reduced and mitigated so that your business can continue to operate under any circumstances.

1. Systemization

One of the best ways to reduce key person reliance is to systematize work processes. Processes are often complicated, so it needs to be structured. This means exercising thorough protocol. Have key personnel write guides, processes and procedures on the activities that comprise their daily work in a team and business productivity application. By doing so, a new employee will be able to pick up complex processes in an efficient way.

When done well, systemization is a great way to mitigate key-personnel risk. It also ensures that procedures remain up-to-date. When documented in an ERP system, processes can be reviewed effortlessly and objectively, and any risks or inadequacies that may have been hidden can be addressed accordingly.

A key component to systemization is leveraging real-time communication tools, like Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams brings everything together in a shared workspace – letting you work from anywhere and making it easy for your team to chat and collaborate. Accessing critical information through a shared folder or service enhances the visibility in your organization. These tools enable faster, a company-wide collaboration by providing a resolution to many issues. 

2. Effective Ticketing System

Another highly effective strategy to combat key-person dependency is to use useful ticketing tools with your business applications or service portal. When ticketing tools are put in place, they enable organizations to track service incidents in a highly collaborative manner. Manage multiple customer conversations simultaneously, maintaining full customer context and history across channels and overtime to deliver an omnichannel experience. By offering this perspective into ongoing service incidents throughout the company, you can evade losing information confined to your key service team personnel.

When used appropriately, ticketing systems offer historical records of incidents and the methods used to resolve them. This means that if the key person leaves, the client-specific knowledge doesn't go with them. Ticketing systems ensure full utilization so you can solve your challenges in an effective manner and focus on your core business. You will be able to identify and document critical processes within your organization.

3. Cross-Train or Outsource

Cross-training is a highly effective technique to overcome the risk of relying on individuals. It would be best if you encouraged continuous collaboration and have regularly scheduled team meetings to share critical knowledge and information throughout the company.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. Quite often, organizations employ highly-specialized personnel with overflowing plates. Therefore, trying to cross-train a system designer on service coordination techniques can be a waste of time given their bandwidth. This is precisely why outsourcing is an effective way to overcome the risk of key-person dependency. Outsourcing ensures that internal resources are better able to focus on what they do best.

Succession planning also comes into play here. Succession planning means empowering someone else to carry out the same tasks and duties. Key personnel leaving are encouraged to document and check-list his or her daily tasks and store records in a common repository.

With the IT landscape changing so dramatically, managing critical knowledge is vital to your business. Even a basic set of how-to-guides outlining these processes will help you mitigate the risks involved with key personnel dependencies. Be futuristic and prepare your organization for anything by systemizing your employees' processes, implementing effective ticketing systems and cross-training or outsourcing work.

Your success is measured on the foundation of your strategy from project implementation to people and process management. This is why you need a robust application management service (AMS). By strengthening the project management capabilities of your company with reliable best-practice guidance for all stakeholders, AMS will help you operate a system to continually measure performance, evaluate progress towards goals and convert those insights into business growth.

To learn how your business can reduce its IT dependency risks, check out our tip sheet " 5 tips to select the right AMS-partner .

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