Digital Innovation for the IT Industry

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 22/05/2023

In this article, we will be covering the importance of digital innovation for the IT industry. 

It is mostly aimed at project managers in the industry, as well as team leaders and decision-makers. The key themes covered are project management and IT talent attraction.

Despite multiple leaps modern technology has taken in the past decade, it’s nowhere near slowing down. Each day we are presented with more opportunities to better our business processes. They come in huge volumes, are diverse and therefore often daunting to take on. For this reason, many companies, especially in the IT industry, stall the process of digital innovation, only wanting to pursue the newest and the best options.

Others, however, are simply convinced the way they run now is the optimal way and it will continue working as intended - even when the processes are showing clear signs of decay. One way or another, there’s often a fair amount of resistance when the topic of innovation is brought up as in IT there’s a common saying of choosing not to fix what isn’t broken. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply here.

One argument that’s barely made when trying to pitch digital transformation is that it simply makes your life easier. There is a longer explanation of that, which this blog article is ultimately all about. So let us begin by explaining why you can no longer have the time to hesitate when it comes to digitisation. We will then delve into how it is beneficial for the quality of project delivery and how digital transformation can help you fill the gap when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Check the table of contents below and explore the parts you’re most curious about.

Embrace Digital Transformation

Without a doubt, you’ve seen the term digital transformation pop up all over the place in recent years. At some point, you might have even thought it’s another fad that will soon be forgotten. Or maybe you thought your business is fine as it is, without having to transform it. Whatever your reasoning is, let us get it straight - you can’t avoid digital transformation a second longer.

Although IT is often lumped together with technological progress, the digitisation of the industry is not as advanced as many think. In fact, it’s often behind in many aspects. A lot of companies are highly inflexible when it comes to as much as considering changes in their core processes, which, with no doubt, is one of the biggest roadblocks to digital innovation. 

The harsh reality is that you cannot progress further unless you go through with digital transformation. In fact, it is now evidently a struggle for companies to simply stay afloat without changing the fundamentals of their operations. Your competitors are most likely already at it, and any further hesitation will leave you in the dusk. Can you really waste time simply maintaining your business instead of driving it forward?

To keep it short and sweet, you can no longer postpone digital transformation if you want to see the future of your business. Although it takes the courage to take the risk of reforming the very foundation of your processes, it barely happens all at once. Gradually applying small changes can gain you momentum before making bigger decisions leading to innovation. But enough talking about what happens if you don’t act. Let’s talk about the benefits you reap if you do.

Improved IT Project Delivery

Digital innovation is a synonym for better performance across the entirety of your business, especially if done right. In this article, we want to focus specifically on project delivery as we know first-hand the difference the right tools can make. If you are looking for ways save time, reduce errors and amp up accuracy - continue reading. 

Automation of Repetitive Tasks

The IT industry is riddled with tasks that need to be repeated again and again, yet cannot be skipped. Given how demanding the majority of the operations are, you naturally don’t want to waste time on something that’s contributing towards maintenance and not progress. Not to mention, humans are prone to losing focus when bored or fatigued with a repeating pattern. This results in errors. Fixing them, especially if unsure where has one occurred, is another time drain. And unspotted mistakes can skew all of your results over. 

One of the most talked about benefits of bringing digital solutions on board is task automation. While we would normally try and offer a different point of view in our articles, it’s one topic we cannot exclude. Simply put, there is very little limit to what can be automated, making options and talking points virtually unlimited. Whether you choose to automate the entire process or just a step within one, each initiative will deliver results. For this very reason, automation is at the heart of digital innovation. It frees up time you can dedicate to tasks requiring human judgement and also drives further progress by spotting optimisation opportunities. 

Data-Driven Forecasts

Automation doesn’t only run your processes but also gathers insights from doing so. In the long run, this allows you to optimise them for better results by spotting trends that indicate your strengths and weaknesses. However, data collected in such a way can also contribute to your future projects, becoming the foundation of your forecasts. Of course, since no one is a prophet, it’s impossible to foretell the exact course of the project, but past data can give a very accurate idea of what is to be expected. 

For example, you have automated email reminders for timesheet approvers and let the process run for 3 months. Throughout the entire period, where an email would be sent weekly, you have noticed that doing so consistently coincided with quicker project delivery. This indicates that automated timesheet approval emails contribute to shorter delivery times. Moving forward, if you intend on using the same approach, you will now be able to safely forecast shorter time frames required to deliver a project as you have numbers to back that up. As you see, it’s just a tiny tweak in the automation field - but it can impact your performance exponentially. 

Customisation to Your Needs

We are used to working around the software we are given, changing our processes to work around its limitations. Well, that’s a thing of the past as digital innovation is all about bending the software around your preferences instead of the other way around. It means not just offering more flexibility functionality-wise, but also customisation of other elements - visual representation, reporting, data priority, metrics and many more. All in all, the crucial part of digital innovation in the IT industry is understanding you are no longer looking for a solution to get your software up and running - your software is the solution.

When it comes to project management and delivery, customisation is particularly important. No project nor client is the same, therefore they won’t have the same approach, templates or even forms of communication. Being stuck with a rigid solution won’t deliver the results required and ultimately might make you seem incompetent and unprofessional. Given how competitive the industry is, you simply cannot settle for that. What a relief that extensive customisation is one of the key traits of digital innovation, huh? 

Dip into a Wider Talent Pool

There is always a shortage of IT workers, especially good ones. The biggest culprit is the fact that the workforce is now ageing, meaning a big part of the senior specialists are retiring and their younger replacements have not reached the right level yet. Simply put, you can no longer limit your talent pool based on a physical location alone. It’s time to start working with contractors.

Smoother Contractor Management

One of the key objections when it comes to hiring contractors is that most of them will be remote workers. Of course, depending on your preferences you might be requesting them to come to work on-site, but for the above-mentioned reasons we wouldn’t recommend that. The recent pandemic, however, forced all companies to adapt to having remote teams. Even if your company is fully back to operating in person, you shouldn’t dismiss the experience and knowledge acquired from that interesting period. Chances are you have adjusted your operations and started using new software to accommodate the management of a remote team. This is a stepping stone for you to embrace contractor management - something you should be very interested in if you want to snatch some of the best IT talents. 

Digital innovation is mostly driven by the adoption of the right tools. So if you have software for internal messaging, video calls, document sharing and team collaboration - you are almost there. The only additional bit you need for starting to welcome contractors is working out the intricacies of pay and bill. Namely procedures such as invoicing, expenses and time tracking. All three can sometimes be found within the same solution, meaning you would only need to add one tool to your tech stack. Alternatively, there are platforms fully suited to run teams comprised of both permanent and contracted workers - like Timesheet Portal. From holiday accruals and full visibility of your team’s progress to document management and in-house customisation, we prioritise flexibility. And we happily deliver it to you. 

Easy Onboarding

Although onboarding is one of the mandatory processes, many businesses don’t do it right. Or, rather, not in an efficient way that saves time and becomes a great cornerstone for the future success of the new hire. The traditional onboarding process, even if done digitally, still tends to involve too many back and forths. The classical example is when the new starter is sent a contract, needs to sign it, and then send the signed copy back. They would then be asked to supply any additional documentation - IDs, bank details, relevant certifications and so on. Overall, this is not a difficult process, but it involves too many steps that could easily be skipped. Plus, things tend to get lost in long email threads. 

A more intuitive way would be building the process using an onboarding platform. It can be extra useful if you get one already connected to your other solutions, which means the new worker won’t be able to access the system unless they’ve provided all the required information. The way such platforms run is simple. The system administrator creates a new worker profile with unique login information. Upon logging into their account the first time, the starter will be asked to supply all their documents in one place. Some systems, like Timesheet Portal, also integrate with e-signing services, making contract signing available on the spot too. Once their information is submitted and approved, it will be tied to their account and stored together. 

Solution for Differentiating Rates

Different contractors will charge different rates. It can depend on their seniority, availability, task and many other factors. Sometimes, the same person will be charging different rates on the same project. Again, the rates can be influenced by working hours, difficulty, the risk involved, equipment required and basically anything else. As you understand, this could become a real nightmare for your finance team in no time. Differentiating rates make it difficult to both pay and bill correctly, hence a digital innovation is required in this department. Believe it or not, it is as simple as switching Excel spreadsheets to a digital timesheet solution. 

More advanced platforms will give you full control over creating custom timesheet templates based on how you want to calculate the rates, if there are any timesheet rules to be implemented and many for. For example, at Timesheet Portal you can customise the sheets to be charged daily, hourly or based on the deliverables. You can also block the worker from logging more hours than agreed to, on specific days or overall. We have many pre-built templates for your to choose from that you can customise to your preferences. And if nothing fits your criteria, you can always create a brand new template from scratch. There is no limit to how many templates you can have - we just recommend giving them a district name so you can tell them apart!

Innovate IT with Timesheet Portal

At Timesheet Portal, we have always prioritised innovation and moving forward. In the years we’ve spent working with IT companies, we’ve gathered many insights and loads of experience when it comes to instigating change. Being well aware of how difficult of a decision it is to begin the digital transformation, not only do we provide a flexible and user-friendly platform to start the journey, but also guidance every step of the way. Innovation is, primarily, a mindset. And we respect that the change does not happen overnight. 

Coming on board with us means a couple of things. First of all, you will be receiving a powerful platform where you only pay for the features you use. From the get-go, we allow you to customise what features are included in your package. Secondly, you get a smooth implementation, run by our specialists based on your specific needs. Of course, you are present every step of the way. Your allocated specialist will be happy to answer any questions moving forward. Finally, you gain access to unlimited possibilities when it comes to customisation of reports, timesheets, and many more. Our software comes with 40+ pre-built templates as well as an option of creating your own. And there is no limit to how many you can have.

Key Takeaway 

Digital transformation has been considered a buzzword for years on end, but it has long moved past this status. It is not a trend and not a fad, but something every company must embrace. Especially in the IT industry, where technological advances are crucial. A failure to innovate will very quickly push you out of the business as you will simply stand no chance against your competitors. 

Digital innovation for the IT industry means, primarily, smoother and more efficient project delivery. Instead of wasting time on repetitive admin tasks, digital tools allow you to automate them, instead focusing on things that make a difference. As they run, automated processes also collect heaps of data you can base your future forecasts on. And, finally, it unlocks numerous customisation options. Forget working around the software - make it adapt to you.

An additional benefit stems from the expansion of your reach when it comes to hiring talents. As you know, it’s becoming extremely difficult to find and attract IT specialists. With the use of digital tools, you can break many barriers, such as location or differentiating rates. SaaS technology makes it easy to scout for the best talents across the globe, bring them on board easily and build meaningful work relationships. 

In other words, there is no time no reason to hesitate. Dive right into digital innovation to up your gave. And let us support you on your journey.

Free trial

See for yourself how you can save time and money. Enter your details below for a free 30 day no-obligation trial.
Cyber Essentials logo Cyber Essentials Plus logo

Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.