Simply keeping the engines running is no longer enough for IT departments to earn their keep, according to this article by Nick Heath. Being viewed as a support function (and not a strategic asset to the business) is a dead end, he explains, because business can find alternative solutions if IT isn’t contributing more - solutions that perhaps cost less on the surface.
Citing the expertise of CIO David Wilde, IT needs to “articulate and contextualize” what they bring to the table for the business. He went on to explain that the change of demands was just the way business and IT were bound to go:
“Stuff is getting better, it breaks down less and people swap it out more often. So the demand for those level of skills is reducing.” In addition, today’s workforce is more IT-literate than that of a decade ago, he said, so can do more IT-related tasks for themselves.
Staff at in-house IT departments need to learn the ins and outs of the business – and use that knowledge to communicate technology’s benefits, or else risk seeing the IT department demoted – to a necessary but uninteresting support service.
So how can the IT department meet the challenge of satisfying an IT savvy, more demanding business? One way is to move away from the service space and into the value add space - accomplished through big data analysis and cloud management.
Furthermore, IT must change its method of interacting with the business: a more IT literate workforce may not be satisfied with just being told that you’re helping them: proving worth through visibility and stakeholder involvement may go a much further distance than simply keeping the lights on.