The Changing Role of IT: From Mechanic to Driver

Like any profession, especially one tied so closely to technological development, IT has undergone several significant changes in recent years. One of these changes is the relationship of IT to the businesses and organizations they service. Operating within traditional paradigms, many businesses are lagging behind the field when it comes to maximizing their IT.

Traditionally, IT has been seen as a means of support alone. The department’s role has been to provide functioning technology and services like email and documentation storage, along with updates and maintenance, and if something breaks, they fix it. Sound familiar?

Research from IDC and other consulting firms shows the most successful businesses today have changed the way they view IT. Instead of a group of eggheads in the backroom fixing the broken computers and changing network cables, IT has become a significant part of the business development. Successful CEOs understand their IT is not just a mechanic, but a business driver.

Most business owners have made the shift from a purely break-fix IT model to at least recognizing the need for IT to help improve efficiency. Through collaborative tools and making the right choices for network infrastructure and applications, IT can vastly increase the business’s productivity. According to the research, however, for the most successful, it doesn’t stop there.

Instead of focusing narrowly on maintenance, security, and internal efficiency, IT is becoming an essential business driver in two primary ways:

  • helping to identify new market opportunities
  • helping to develop new products and services

Bringing about this increased role usually requires greater inclusion of the IT department into core business processes. This helps the IT department emerge from the silo, allowing the IT manager and the business decision makers have to be on the same page. With the increasing power and interconnectedness of cloud computing, mobile, and analytics, the role of IT as a business driver is only going to increase at successful businesses.

Here are a few quick questions to help assess the state of your organization’s IT:

  • Is my IT included in core business processes?
  • How does my IT increase efficiency?
  • Does my IT track progress against business goals?
  • Does my IT help develop new products and services?
  • Does my IT help identify new markets and opportunities?

Asking the right questions can help increase the effectiveness of your organization’s IT, increasing both profitability and market standing.

We hope you found this information helpful. Please check in next week for our new series on how to Make Your Meetings More Effective.

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