Is Your IT Department an Innovator or Roadblock?
What role does the IT department play in your business? Does it contribute to strategic initiatives, or does it mostly provide day-to-day support for your users and systems?
If you’re struggling to come up with a precise answer, you’re not alone: Fewer than 35 percent of top executives possess a strong understanding of IT’s contribution to business success, according to Gartner. Gartner also finds that building and executing a successful IT strategy leads to increases in revenue and profits, so to more significantly contribute to business success, CIOs should clearly define IT’s role in the business and then develop a strategy for properly serving in that role. That’s not all: CIOs must also be able to clearly articulate the IT strategy to gain understanding and endorsement from top executives.
To receive continuous executive support, IT must establish business credibility. This can be a challenge, as many users find IT policies and procedures to be hindrances or roadblocks rather than contributors to business success. A study conducted by Microsoft and Wakefield Research found that millennials, in particular, are dissatisfied with IT policies and procedures that stifle their creativity at work, so they are taking matters into their own hands: 90 percent of millennials say they get things done faster by using their own approach instead of their organization’s preferred approach.
Millennials aren’t the only users who, because they consider IT to be a roadblock, take the decision-making into their own hands. A recent VMware survey found that technology purchases are moving beyond the scope of IT, as each line of business is empowered to utilize its own technology to drive innovation. That doesn’t mean users want IT completely out of the picture: 74 percent of the respondents believe that IT should have responsibility for enabling other lines of business to become more innovative.
Many users desire IT to evolve into an innovation enabler—and by evolving, IT would become a more significant contributor to business success. Now, what’s preventing IT from stepping up to lead innovation efforts? The CIO Executive Council (CEC) 2016 IT Innovation Survey found that IT leaders believe the most significant impediment to becoming more innovative is not having enough time to innovate given day-to-day tasks.
The problem is clear: How can IT serve a strategic function when it is constantly bombarded with one-off issues? There simply isn’t enough time to be innovative, because innovation is not a simple, one-off task. It takes a great deal of time, effort and sometimes failures to achieve IT innovation and, ultimately, become a trusted partner to executives and individual business units.
Luckily, there is a solution for IT departments that wish to evolve their role in the business: teaming up with a managed services provider. Managed services providers can ease the transition by helping IT:
- Build and execute a successful strategy. A managed services provider ensures that the solutions IT deploys for the business are functioning properly and driving productivity, efficiency and agility. IT saves time, saves money and resolves minor issues before they grow into service-affecting problems.
- Devote resources to strategic, business-enhancing priorities. As managed service providers handle the day-to-day issues with your communications systems and prevent more severe issues from arising, the IT department is freed up to lead innovation efforts.
- Take technology decision-making back into IT. A managed services provider ensures optimal performance and productivity gains from your communications systems. The increased usability of these systems drives user adoption, as users stop feeling the need to rely on their own approaches to get their work done effectively.
- Build business credibility and contribute to business success. When users see the value in IT policies, processes and systems, they stop viewing IT as a roadblock. When executives see clear productivity gains and more satisfied users, they grow more confident in IT’s role in the business. When IT is available to drive innovation efforts, it rebrands itself as the center of innovation within the business. As a whole, these changes make IT a clear and significant contributor to business success.
Are you ready to transform your IT operations? Contact SPS today to get started!