IT Departments have historically been running the basic infrastructure plumbing and keeping the lights working. Understandably, emails have to work, back end systems have to support the day-to-day tasks of the organisation and people have to have laptops and work stations that are functioning.

So much time is spent doing the normal mundane but essential IT tasks, that the IT Department is often seen as a reactive function that fixes things when they go wrong, rather like taking the car to the nearest repairer when a warning light comes on. And for large companies, these tasks consume the majority of resources, especially when there are lots of legacy systems, compatibility issues and system breakdowns.

Isn’t it any wonder that the CEO questions IT expenditure – all this money spent on IT but where are the gains in productivity? What I am I getting for my buck? I was promised that XYZ investment would help the productivity of my staff, but where is the business payback? A revision to the ERP system is important, but it doesn’t create more business revenue…

Is IT delivering value to the organisation?

It would be if the mindset changed to regard IT as a strategy enabler rather than an executer of policy. We should think about IT as a function that can help drive revenue rather than just cost money. IT works efficiently to implement a decision taken by management or works to enable a smooth execution. All these are aiding the decision after it has been taken, not influencing the decision beforehand.

By enabling and empowering end users, IT can focus less on the repetitive minutia and more on projects that drive business growth. IT should give up controlling everything and only control those things that are essential to the business – access to resources and corporate data.

To make time for this, the IT Department must relinquish control some of its traditional role where in the modern world it can no longer keep control – BYOD, personal device access, anal control of every aspect of the corporate device.

And on the flip side, (proactively), it must use this time to make use of IT management information or rather enable decision makers within the company to do so.

What trends can IT uncover that have the potential for improving Operations and giving a new view on the productivity of the company? How can we make information more accessible and easier to consume by Senior Management? How can IT support the sales aims of the company by giving meaningful Business Insights? Can new dashboards be created which home in on the Key Drivers of productivity?

By looking forward rather than backwards the IT Department can become a prime contributor to the drive for growth through workstyle innovation.

This is the first in a series of blogs by Robert Brown exploring the evolving role of the IT department and how it can support the digital transformation of the organisation by enabling workstyle innovation.