IT processes are some of the most critical processes in any business or organization. And the more teams rely on technology, the more true this becomes. That’s why it’s important for teams and managers to recognize what an IT process is, and to understand how IT processes enable their teams to achieve their goals.
In this post, we’ll define the purpose of an IT process, consider some examples, and take a closer look at IT process management.
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What is an IT process?
IT processes are any of the workflows, approvals, and activities managed by the IT team. These include processes such as requests for IT support, incident response, security enforcement, and many others.
Some IT processes are categorized as support processes for the business, since they make possible core processes like sales, marketing, revenue ops, and production. For example, if the sales team requests a new app or workflow to manage their pipeline, that request will go to the IT team through a feature request process.
But the IT team is also responsible for enforcing security requirements, so time spent reviewing the sales team processes, systems, and data also falls under the IT process umbrella. For IT teams and developers who build products for the business, their work is usually considered a core business process.
Learn more about the different types of business processes.
IT process examples
There are several different types of IT processes and they make up a broad category that includes a variety of workflows, tasks, and functions. IT processes are almost always standardized to ensure consistency of results and to make it easier to evaluate their effectiveness.
Generally speaking, IT processes can be organized into three categories: service request management, IT operations, and software development.
IT service request management
IT teams deal with many different types of service requests. These include issues with equipment, access management, security, new user set up, and, of course, problems with login credentials. These types of requests are usually referred to as IT service management (ITSM).
Most teams deal with a high volume of service requests, and most are time sensitive. To ensure that incoming tickets are resolved quickly, IT teams need a structured request management workflow that meets four requirements:
- Capture incoming requests from all possible channels.
- Enforce rules that prevent missing or incomplete information.
- Route tickets to the appropriate reviewer automatically.
- Give requestors the ability to track the status of their tickets.
When incoming service requests are managed with a structured process and the right tools, teams can ensure that they meet their SLAs and avoid delays that can lead to security risks or decreased productivity.
Beyond incoming service requests, IT teams must also manage processes that impact day-to-day operations for the business. Processes that fall into the category of IT operations tend to be repeatable, routine, and may take place at regular intervals or on a schedule.
For example, processes that maintain the IT infrastructure or ensure the enforcement of security and compliance requirements would fall into this category. Examples of these types of IT processes include:
- IT asset management (ITAM)
- Backup and recovery
- Security analysis
- Data warehouse analysis
- Business continuity planning
- Configuration management
- Vendor management
- Web development
IT processes that fall into this category ensure that the business has the right technology to meet its goals, and that this technology is functioning as planned. In this role, IT teams support efforts to achieve operational excellence.
Many companies depend on IT teams and developers to build new apps, automations, or workflows for internal customers. For example, if the finance team needs a new app to manage reimbursement requests, or if the HR team needs an automation for capturing and storing signed copies of documents. Managing integrations and stack extensibility also fall into this category.
The software development process is divided into stages. The number and nature of those stages varies depending on the resources available and the cadence of development that works for a particular team. A standard software development model could include the following five phases:
In order to deliver the apps and solutions their businesses need, IT teams may use one of several development models. These include conventional development, agile development, or citizen development. Many IT teams rely on low-code platforms to speed up and democratize the development cycle.
Why are IT processes important?
IT processes are important because so many aspects of business rely on technology, whether that means software, hardware, devices, or apps. For most businesses, IT manages all of these components. That’s why it’s critical for IT teams to have consistent processes in place to maintain the consistency and quality of their work.
Another reason IT processes are so important for businesses is that IT processes intersect with other types of processes that take place in other departments.
For example, during employee onboarding, the HR team will have a process for making sure that the new hire completes their paperwork and is set up for training. But the IT team will also have some responsibility here. For example, setting up equipment, creating logins, and managing accessibility.
Finally, another reason IT processes play a central role in business is that they can be a source of productivity or disruption, depending on how well they are managed.
IT processes can improve efficiency and save money, or they can create expenses and slow down production. It all depends on how well the processes line up with the business strategy and how well the processes are managed.
How to manage and improve your IT processes
How well IT processes are managed makes a big difference in overall business performance. That’s because IT processes impact revenue, productivity, customer satisfaction, and risk. Fortunately, there are some best practices that teams can use to achieve process excellence for their IT teams.
1. Focus on low-code
One of the most impactful steps an IT team can take to improve their processes is to incorporate low-code automation into their stack. Low-code automation helps the IT team conserve developer resources by enabling business teams to manage some aspects of their processes and workflows on their own.
2. Standardize processes
Processes that lack consistency are more difficult to manage, secure, and maintain. In many cases, companies end up with multiple versions of a single process that vary between teams or locations. Process standardization is especially important for IT teams who need the control and predictability of a standardized process in order to accurately gauge results and replicate steps.
3. Centralize intakes and requests
Because IT teams manage incoming tickets and requests from every team and department, it’s important to exert control over all incoming items. Centralization can be broken down into four primary components:
- Standardizing intake or request forms with rules and conditionals that prevent incomplete or missing information.
- Centralizing requests from all channels including email, apps, and collaboration tools.
- Automating routing and approval flows to reduce response times and avoid unnecessary back-and-forth communication.
- Giving requestors the option to track and view the status of their requests in order to improve user experiences and prevent an influx of additional follow-up emails.
4. Dissolve silos
IT teams understand the frustration of silos better than anyone. After all, they are the ones who get called upon to solve data silos and manage integrations as new apps and systems are integrated into the existing stack. But collaboration silos are also a problem, one that can lead to delays, frustration, and limited visibility.
5. Map every process
Process mapping helps teams understand how processes are supposed to work. Process maps can also be used to identify optimization opportunities.
IT teams should map all of their processes to provide documentation that can be used to train new personnel, ensure continuity, and provide a reference point for managers or consultants who may need a better view of how processes are built.
6. Automate manual and repetitive tasks
Automation is one of the most powerful tools IT teams can use to improve their processes and to manage them more effectively. Automation reduces the amount of manual work, cuts down on back-and-forth communication, avoids errors, and reduces process friction.
Learn more about IT process automation.
Build better IT processes with Pipefy
IT processes are vital for any organization. That’s why it’s crucial that teams have the best strategies and tools for managing these essential processes as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Pipefy’s low-code automation software gives IT a complete set of tools to help them manage not only their processes, but all the workflows and processes in the business. Pipefy helps IT teams by allowing them to conserve IT and developer resources, and by creating standardized processes across the organization. The result is processes that are easier to manage, scale, and secure.