IT has a clear role inside your organization. Of course, you keep the servers running. You monitor the applications, the hardware and the web sites. You make sure everything is running smoothly and you get on it straight away when something goes wrong, but you need to be doing more than that. You need to connect technology to the company’s overall goals — beyond just keeping it all working.
In fact, in an article on Internet Evolution this week, Kim Davis wrote about 2012 analytics predictions providing a nice round-up from around the web, but Davis also had this to say regarding IT’s role inside organizations:
“Top of my wish-list for 2012 is to see enterprises viewing IT as leading — or helping to lead — business strategy rather than just providing back office support. For this to happen, though, we’ll need to see imaginative leadership, not least among IT managers themselves,” Davis wrote.
And there it is. You need to step up in IT. You can no longer think of yourselves merely as implementers of other’s wishes. You have to be involved in the development of the business strategy too.
Too often, IT plays a secondary role in the company, wielding various degrees of power, depending on the focus of your organization, but you should be concentrating on more than just running the technology side of the business and advising on technology-related decisions such as which tablets or which CRM software to buy.
There is a larger role for you, the one that Davis wishes for you. One where you move beyond the advisory and care-taking role. Part of the reason for the animosity that exists between IT and business units in many companies is because the business units don’t think you understand their real needs, which means they don’t think you understand the needs of the business.
That’s why it’s up to you as professionals to make that transition (to the extent it’s needed in your organization) and begin to think imaginatively as Davis suggested to find ways to help your organization before they come to you.
It’s a bold move, but if you can seize that kind of role, you can help define how technology can drive the business — to make it more efficient. You move beyond keeping the lights on to a person who can contribute to making the business better.
If you’re doing that already, that’s great, but many IT ops pros aren’t participating in building the business so much as acting like a service supporting the business. You have the skills and the knowledge to move beyond that — if you’re willing to take that step.