No, we aren't just talking about when Mark Cuban yells at an overly ambitious tech start up– but this does have a lot to do with why he yells. Shark Tank is a hit among newbie and experienced entrepreneurs alike, as it cuts down to the core of what makes a good business a great business. And it can be used to whip an IT department into shape, too.
Offer something people want.
You can have the best product in the world, but if no one wants it, no one's going to buy it. Likewise, IT departments can find themselves struggling uphill to implement software and services the employees just don't want to use. To be successful, IT departments need to listen and be flexible. Even the sharks themselves often admit they've stumbled upon fantastic products that just don't sell.
Always know your customer.
It's not just about offering IT support, it's about offering the IT support the person in question needs. Everyone is different, learns differently, and works differently. From clients to office staff, the IT department needs to be able to tailor its solutions to every branch, department, and employee.
Customers can tell whether or not you care.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. All real successes thrive on passion; customers can detect insincerity. Customer service is an extraordinarily important component to IT, even when dealing with in-office support. Employees will quickly become frustrated with an IT department that is physically responsive to their needs but not emotionally responsive to their concerns.
When trying to best the competition, you need to ask yourself what you have that others don't. It could be a particularly dedicated and experienced team, exceptionally advanced equipment, or just a really solid procedural flow. Regardless, you need to know what makes your IT department special before you can properly leverage it.
Customers come first.
This is something the investors over at the Shark Tank need to explain to dreamy-eyed entrepreneurs again and again. Without customers, you don't have a business–you have a product. The product may someday become a business, but it's nothing without the customers. IT departments need to focus on what really matters: the customer's experience. Though there may be other complications and goals, the customer experience is always the bottom line.
Know your numbers.
If you don't know your numbers, you're dead in the water. How can you improve your IT efficiency if you don't know where you're starting from? Creating a solid baseline for performance is the only way you'll be able to adjust, analyze, and adapt.