The Evolving Role of IT

eyeabstract92816356Michelle Moore is a contributor for the Global Knowledge UK blog. For more courses and information, visit Global Knowledge UK.

Ten years ago if you had suggested to IT professionals that almost half of IT decisions would be made outside of the IT department there is no doubt that you would have been met with great skepticism. The reality is that trends like the consumeristion of IT and Cloud are rapidly changing the balance of IT decision-making in organisations of all sizes.

In the recently Capgemini report ‘Business Cloud: The State of Play Shifts Rapidly’ it was reported that 45% of all Cloud decisions are now made outside of IT. This shift of power in decision-making has significant impact on the skills and knowledge technical professionals need to succeed in today’s complex world. To be effective IT leaders need to:

  • Build a deep understanding of business models and strategy,
  • Develop strong relationships with business decision-makers, and
  • Become more internal customer-oriented

In order to provide value to the business IT needs to know what their organisation’s business priorities are and use their expertise to identify the best technology to evolve and enable business capabilities required to achieve goals.  This means that IT needs to not just be aware of business strategy, they have to collaborate and integrate themselves in the business planning process.  They also have to keep up on emerging technologies and look for opportunities to exploit them before their competition does.

An annual interaction with the business is not enough to deliver value though.  The pace of change continues to accelerate and IT needs to not only identify and understand business needs during the business planning cycle, they also need to keep up to date on how those needs change over time.  This requires regular interaction with internal stakeholders and strong trusting relationships.

As IT uncovers opportunities to use technology to enable business strategy they must be able to compete with external vendors who can sell ‘IT-as-a-Service’ directly to business decision makers.  IT leaders have to recognise that if they say no to business stakeholders, those stakeholders can usually go outside of the organisation and buy what they need. This of course results in loss of control for IT and in some situations can negatively impact security.

There has never been a better time to invest in the personal development of IT professionals.  Leading organisations are recognising this important evolution in the relationship between IT and business and are helping technical professionals build capabilities in competencies like Business IQ, Influence, Relationship Building and Customer Service Orientation.  This important investment will ensure that IT and business can work effectively together and use technology to improve productivity and innovate to win against their competition.

Reposted with permission from the Global Knowledge UK blog.

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