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Benefits of Project Management in IT



In some accounting firms, IT’s responsibilities include overseeing devices on people’s desks and in the server room. When it comes to software selection, the responsibility lies with professionals in the tax, assurance, or CAS departments.


This setup is understandable. After all, nobody understands the pain points better than the people doing the work, so service professionals are uniquely qualified to identify solutions. However, this arrangement often leads to problems—problems that can be avoided or overcome with project management.


How technology silos hurt your firm

When the service professionals in different departments are allowed to seek out and implement their own solutions, technology winds up being siloed in different service lines, which can have a seriously negative effect on the firm.

  • Too many solutions and apps. The firm winds up with too many technologies that they’re only using a fraction of. For example, the tax and assurance departments may use different workflow solutions, communication tools, document management solutions, and client collaboration tools. Often, these solutions do the same thing but are being used differently by different departments.

  • Tech is only half-implemented. One department may get 60% to 90% of the way toward implementing a solution. But when professionals get busy focusing on client service, the solution is never fully implemented. As a result, the firm never achieves the full ROI from its technology investment.

  • Technology dies on the vine. The person who was passionate about a particular solution moves up or moves on, and nobody else takes on the champion role. Utilization wanes, and eventually, the firm scraps the technology in favor of someone else’s favorite tech.

If you’ve seen any of these signs in your firm, they indicate poor project management around technology.

The role of project management in IT

Many successful firms are now prioritizing project management in the IT department to avoid technology silos and all the problems they create. This can take the form of a full-time project manager or investing in project management training for your IT professionals. Either way, project management can make technology more successful throughout the firm by:


Establishing clear ownership of a project

IT projects require several people to work toward a common goal. However, every project needs a leader to take a broad view and keep the project moving forward.


Team members tend to focus on their individual responsibilities, but a project manager takes ownership of the project as a whole and works across departments to address issues and keep the project on track.


Clearly defining the project’s scope

A project manager works with stakeholders to ensure that the project is well-defined from the beginning. This ensures everyone understands what a successful implementation looks like, and the project won’t be shelved before the team delivers the agreed-upon results.

Project budgeting and cost management

The project manager works with the team to create a realistic budget during the planning phase and oversees spending throughout the course of the project. Having someone stay on top of these costs helps to ensure the project stays on budget without surprises.


Managing change

New technology won’t be effective unless employees (and potentially clients) buy in. A project manager can help plan for the communication and training necessary for a smooth transition to the new solution.


Service line professionals can and should be involved in selecting a solution, testing it, and helping generate buy-in from the rest of the team. However, one of the best things your IT department can do is help manage technology projects by providing organization and accountability.


Whether you hire a full-time IT project manager, provide project management training for your existing team or develop a project management process for IT projects, having someone take on this role will increase your technology ROI, improve adoption, and ensure your technology projects continue to move forward.

 
Do you need help getting firm leaders in alignment on IT strategy?

Boomer Technology Consulting can help you prioritize IT projects and ensure they support the firm’s overall vision and strategic plan. Complete an interest form today to begin fast-tracking your firm’s success.

 

Amanda Wilkie, Consultant at Boomer Consulting, Inc., has a computer science background, but she’s not your average geek. With two decades of technology experience, Amanda has spent 13 years driving change and process improvement through innovative technology solutions working across firms of varying sizes in the public accounting profession. She has held strategic leadership positions in firms ranging from Top 50 to Top 10 including her most recent role as CIO of a Top 30 firm. Amanda is a recognized expert in the profession who regularly speaks and writes on blockchain and cryptocurrency and their impact on the profession.

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