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Time for the IT department to step up?

Hope you have a great summer. A boat trip in the Luleå archipelago is on the agenda. Sitting and looking out over a mirrored water at sunset is unbeatable, I think.

Last week I wrote about IT as a brake. I identified two major challenges;

  1. the use of closed systems, and
  2. unwillingness of the IT department to think in terms of benefits for the customer and the business rather than their own department.

As an “IT person” at heart, I am ashamed. For how could it be that IT people who once stood for the new and cool of new technology and innovative solutions, have since turned conservative and protective of their own environment.

Here I think the childlike curiosity and different thinking of 20-30 years ago has increasingly turned into management and everyday drudgery. I see that in many places we have allowed the IT department to become just another department. From being new and cool, they have become grey and boring.

They have gone from being thinkers and developers, to being stewards. What does it look like at your place?

I myself have encountered many IT departments and IT technicians who have moved more to “patting” their computers in a server room than to being really interested in the continuous development of the business. There is a tendency to become more and more closed and skilled in technology. And there’s a lot that has to work with the systems, the security, the machines and so on.

But IT and the IT department are so much more. Isn’t it?

There are two sides to IT as I see it. It is;

  1. technology side and
  2. the business side.

The technical side is the one that should make sure that security and other base technology “just” works. It should preferably not be noticed in the business. It’s like electricity or water in the property. It’s just there when we need it. It’s only when it doesn’t work that we miss it.

The business side is the one that should actively work to ensure the development of the business. It should contain that drive and ideas that have been lost in many places.

It becomes a problem for the business if IT is not the innovative part that they have been and should be. IT is an enabler to run the business more efficiently and also to provide better service to customers. That’s why digitisation is on the agenda for so many of us.

It is also important that on the business side, people put their knowledge at the service of the best solutions for the business. Even if it’s at the expense of the IT department not having another server to take care of, or if it’s a bit of a hassle when building integrations, for example.

If it is good for the business, it should be implemented. Of course, based on basic requirements such as security, which is also based on the best interests of the business, and not on what is convenient from IT’s point of view.

IT departments face a major crossroads. Either you “step up” and contribute, or their importance in the business diminishes over time. This is because the business will find solutions to its business problems where the IT department is not even involved.

I would like to see an IT department that is actively involved in the improvement process. An IT department that has acquired expertise in improvement work and combines it with technical know-how. An IT department that has its own skills and is gurus at building e-services, executable processes and is good at working with integration between different systems.

Whether you do it all by yourself or with outside support, it’s a question of resources. What is important in this case is that you are neither a brake nor a bottleneck to ensure massive improvement in your business.

The IT department is of course needed, but in many places it needs to be reshaped in order to make a strong contribution to improvement and development. How is it in your business, does the IT department act as an enabler for improvement work or is it a brake? Or are you perhaps not even relevant in the improvement work?

Until next time, I wish you another fantastic summer week.

Sunny greetings,