If you are attending our Interchange user conference in Las Vegas, congratulations. You’re surrounded by some of the smartest users, the best partners, and coolest solutions in the IT industry. (Not that I’m biased or anything…) And if you are not at Interchange, not to worry. We’ve got a global tour of one-day events coming up during the next few months that will provide similar levels of excitement and useful information.

Or maybe you’re at the HDI Conference in Washington, DC. Or you’ve recently returned from the SDI Conference in Birmingham, UK. Or you’re headed for the 2017 CIO Leadership Forum in Boston next week. But once you return home—or even if you sit out all these events—there’s a critical question you need to answer about every IT project you pursue.

How do I maximize the business value of this effort?

Fortunately, there are three things you can do, starting right now, that can move you closer toward this important goal. Together, they provide both an effective answer to the question and guidance for maximizing the business value of all your future endeavors.

Go for the quick win

With the right perspective and planning, you can almost always find a project for which you can execute a relatively quick, relatively painless, and successful pilot or proof of concept. Perhaps you can automate and streamline the patch process for single critical application. Or implement more rigorous processes for defending against ransomware and malware in a single group or department. Or identify a few things you do immediately to improve asset management in advance of your next software audit. Or implement a test version of one of those long-requested user experience improvements. (You have a list of such requests, yes?) Or pick a team with which to demonstrate how you can improve security without hobbling user productivity by gently but firmly reining in admin rights.

Avoid the temptation to try to “boil the ocean” with some all-encompassing, enterprise-wide effort. Instead, focus on one for which you think you can achieve a quick initial success at least some of your users and observers will deem valuable to the business. Then, do that one.

Trumpet your success

Once you’ve achieved that initial success, tell everyone. Document that success in ways directly and obviously linked to business value. Show how it does or will save money, reduce costs, make support staff or users more productive, or some combination of these.

Do not overstate the challenge or underestimate the value of this critical step. You likely already have access to all the data you need to tell a compelling story about business value. You just need to translate that data into elements your audience understands and cares about. A hint: this is typically some combination of money, people, and time, and almost never includes bits, bytes, feeds, or speeds. (Shameless plug: if you already have Xtraction from Ivanti, you’re already more than halfway there. If you don’t, now might be a great time for a free trial.)

For more guidance on the importance of this step, read my learned colleague Alan Taylor’s post, “IT: Don’t Just Create, Communicate!” Then, use that initial success to “show and tell” its business value credibly and compellingly.

Build on that initial win

Replicate and scale. Land and expand. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Use the lessons learned during that win to deliver the next one. Use the tools and providers that got you that first win wherever possible for maximum integration and cross-pollination.

Got your endpoint patch management under control? Identify and protect one or more critical servers. Got your Windows servers patched? Find and protect that Linux or UNIX server running that one app your business can’t do without. Your servers all patched consistently? Go after those endpoints. Patching no longer a problem? Pilot-test some more robust privilege management and application control.

Whatever initial success you achieve and promote will provide a firm foundation for future wins. Just make sure to start small, document and share your wins and lessons, and build upon those as well.

Amplify business value with Ivanti

Ivanti can help you to pursue all three of the steps outlined above. If you're already an Ivanti customer, we have multiple new and updated solutions you can use for you next success. And if you are not yet an Ivanti customer, Interchange, our exhibit at any of the previously mentioned events, and our Web site all provide great opportunities for you to learn how we can help your enterprise.

Ivanti solutions are designed with maximum business value in mind, and built to deliver that value quickly. Contact Ivanti, and let us show you how we can help you to amplify and maximize the business value of all your most critical IT initiatives.