IT departments have always played an integral role in business development and operations. In 2013, it’s not a question of whether or not a business has an IT department, but rather what that specific IT department can do for the company outside of routine tasks. With the economy in constant fluctuation, competition is always high to capitalise when the time is right.
The key to business success is largely dependent on technology, and an IT department is the area of a company that distributes technological resources throughout a business infrastructure. In the modern world, IT leaders and the departments they manage need to do more. It’s not desired, but demanded, with unprecedented customer expectations. There are a few ways that CIOs, IT managers and other company leaders can revamp their IT department to vastly improve business operations.
While there are many more ways than those listed below, and all of those listed won’t apply to each and every business, they should help in principle across a wide variety of industries.
Go out on a limb. Be bold and make a move.
IT departments worldwide are normally tasked with maintaining and processing networks and information. As one of the most critical departments in a company, this is nothing to scoff at. It’s not easy. However, there are some extremely intelligent people working in IT, and the idea of them offering more than routine tasks to business leaders needs to become a reality.
This whole process of multidisciplinary IT has to start with breaking tradition. As a CIO, enunciate your reasons to the employees and put a positive spin on it. This should be easy, as the change is meant to be positive for everyone involved. Explain to them that their services, skills and intellect can be used in more actionable ways throughout the company. Show them how their impact is felt in the company currently and where it can go if they’re exposed laterally and vertically throughout the model.
Make it evident to your staff that traditions are going to transition toward something more interdisciplinary. Explain to them that not only is 2013 a time for business revolution, but also for progression within their personal careers. A Data Modeler from a large company with supplementary knowledge about public relations and financial services will be much more marketable later on. Employees need to know this before any change occurs, and it’s your duty as leadership to let them know.
Lay out a calculated plan.
To launch the plan of enhancing the IT dynamic in a company, everyone needs to be on board. As a leader it’s imperative to reach out to the CEO, CFO and COO, along with any other key people in your specific workplace. Explain your reasons and make it clear that you will need their collaborative assistance both in utilising the IT team in new ways and also providing continued support and commitment to overall business goals.
It’s vital at this step to have a physical plan typed out. Ideas for the strategy should include but are not limited to:
- What other departments can IT employee intelligence be used effectively within? Why? How?
- Which IT employees can take charge and lead the transition?
- What is the end goal?
- How will your plan specifically help other departments? Will this boost be long term?
- How long should the plan take to roll out?
- What is the competition doing? Anything similar?
- What’s in it for the employees? How will they benefit?
- What could the return on investment be with regards to business revenue? Could this push the company to unprecedented heights?
- What are the potential risks?
The specific plan will be different for each CIO or business leader, and that’s the fun part. Your business isn’t a mirror image of any other, and your creativity and knowledge will assist you in deciding how exactly you want to revamp your IT team.
Make it clear to your fellow leadership that you’re organised and confident. Create a mutual understanding that explains the plan as a positive for all parties involved. The employees are going to be asked to contribute outside of their traditional routine; they may need to be compensated higher. These are all ideas, and are not concrete as each business is different in both structure and organisation. As a CIO, it’s your job to understand the components of your situation and utilize the most efficient course of action.
Roll it out.
The execution phase will be tailored uniquely to your specific business and is the most crucial step in the process. All of the preparation will be pointless if it never comes to fruition and it’s up to you as the revamp pioneer to make it happen. At this point in the transition, it’s your job as a leader to hold yourself and others accountable. It’s possible that you and fellow leaders came to the conclusion that your Systems Administrator could be used in the financial sector of the company. Due to his or her educational background and previous professional experience with financial data analysis, you and your fellow leadership feel he or she could have a more diverse role. In his or her new position, the employee would now be able to directly incorporate data processes to outside business development and help determine why it matters.
Reorganisation within an IT department is intended to diversify and distribute the knowledge base of the entire company by dispersing IT employees throughout different sectors of operations. This applies actionable knowledge and perspective, which immediately benefits business.
As a leader, you are there to create revolution. You are tasked with developing, organising and executing a plan. A changing economy demands this type of action from business leadership and if you’re in this situation, try and embrace it.
In business, everyone is trying to get a leg up on the competition. CIOs and other leaders can help the cause by revamping their IT department, with the goal of distributing valuable information, technology and employees throughout an entire business model.
Adam Kinsey writes about business technology for Silicus, a technology consulting company.