Information Technology, or “IT” as we’ve come to know and love, has been an integral part of businesses since the days of computers consuming entire rooms. But, the transition that occurred from decades ago and the days of those huge computers to, most recently, tablets and mobile devices, has altered the view of how IT is perceived within an organization. What was once a time of everything being fresh, new, and so technical that an expert was required, quickly shifted over the last decade or so to a time where everyone is “the expert,” working to resolve technical mishaps on their own.
As this shift occurred, the perception of IT became something of a cost center — what some would almost call a burden on the enterprise. The department was there to help keep the lights on, provide maintenance on the tools that the organization was using, and ensure that there was as little downtime as possible for users. To manage expectations, IT turned into a department of analytics, tracking anything and everything to show ROI, growth, and successes. But, the real question is why does IT seem to have to prove it’s worth more than any other team within an organization? Every single team/department provides a service to internal or external customers, but they don’t seem to have to meet the same stringent metrics as IT.
Why Has IT Been Held to a Higher Standard?
Some of the largest expenses in the organization come through the IT department. From servers to upgrading the organization to MacBooks, IT’s budget can skyrocket or plummet simply based on organizational changes that require a specific technology. So, why does that mean they are held to a higher standard of service?
Historically, IT has been known as a cost center, mainly because they are one of the few (if not the only) teams that do not bring in “quantifiable revenue.” Sales is closing revenue, marketing is there to generate the leads for that revenue, accounting/finance is measuring and collecting on that revenue, and facilities is ensuring that all of this is possible under one roof. IT is just fixing broken computers and printers, and ensuring the Wi-Fi never goes down, right?
The higher standard begins with a lack of knowledge about what goes into troubleshooting technology problems, while other departments take time to reach resolutions. Technology is required in almost every aspect of the business (okay, every aspect), so IT must reach a resolution as quickly as possible, otherwise work is impeded and money is lost in the eyes of executives.
How Has IT Been Held to a Higher Standard?
For thirty plus years IT has grappled with and refined the processes, the metrics, and the multitude of dynamics behind providing quality service and containing its cost. IT has built the approaches and the methodologies. IT has thought about this from practically every angle. Frankly, no one else in the organization thinks this way nor are they held to the same level of accountability as IT. Does HR have SLAs? Does marketing have service delivery KPIs? Not really. This is not a part of their world. Only IT truly understands.
Taking that Standard to the Enterprise
There’s a transformation taking place in organizations big and small. IT leaders are stepping up and showing the enterprise how to utilize the metrics and processes that they have come to live by. As IT moves their tools and process into other departments, organizations are seeing IT shift from cost center to strategic partner. As we’ve said before, almost every project includes a form of technology, so why not include IT leaders who can best guide these decisions and ensure streamlined services?
This month we’ll walk you through, step by step, how IT leaders can become IT Transformational Heroes.